If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to the fault of another, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.
However, obtaining compensation is usually not a quick process after a car accident. It’s best to ensure that you know all aspects of your injuries and damages before finalizing your claim.
An Ohio car accident lawyer helps to ensure that you complete all necessary steps in your car accident claim process, so you can obtain the just compensation you deserve.
What Are the Steps of the Car Accident Lawsuit Process in Ohio?
Multiple steps make up vital elements of the car accident lawsuit process in Ohio. Failure to complete all steps in the process of a car accident claim may negatively impact the value of your final award or settlement.
File a Police Report
Ohio residents have no requirement to file a police report after a car accident. Police are not required to report to the scene of a car accident absent death, injury, or property damage exceeding $1,000. However, in case of an injury or fatality resulting from a car accident, you must call 911.
Police accident reports provide your attorney with a reporting police officer’s unbiased viewpoint on the facts surrounding the car accident. Additionally, it may include a police officer’s assessment of fault in the accident.
Even if the police do not respond to the scene, it’s essential to obtain the following information to the best of your ability, including:
- Name, address, and phone number of all parties involved;
- Insurance information of parties involved;
- Name and contact information of all witnesses to the accident; and
- Photographs of the accident scene.
If the police do arrive at the scene of your accident, be sure to obtain the accident number and reporting agency. The availability of accident reports may be subject to each agency’s timelines.
An accident report provides valuable information throughout the car accident lawsuit process in Ohio. If you have trouble obtaining a copy, your personal injury attorney can assist you.
Seek Medical Care
It’s vital to seek medical care immediately following a car accident. Even if you believe you escaped the accident unscathed, many devastating injuries present themselves in the hours, days, or even weeks following an accident.
Failure to get a complete medical evaluation and receive medical care may affect the car accident claim process.
Your personal injury attorney also uses medical records to calculate the value of your case.
Schedule an Attorney Consultation
Speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney expedites the start of the car accident lawsuit process in Ohio. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Ohio is two years from the accident date. Once the statute of limitations has run, the law bars you from seeking recovery.
Your personal injury attorney can help you ensure that you file all necessary documentation before the statute of limitations runs out.
Once you hire an attorney, they begin investigating the facts surrounding your case. An investigation includes interviewing you about your recollection of the accident and reviewing all your saved materials since the accident. All this provides your attorney with a clearer view of what transpired when your accident occurred.
Demands for Settlement
Once your attorney completes the initial assessment of your case, they may craft a demand letter to the insurance company or third party outlining your claim.
A demand letter includes all compensatory damages you seek under Ohio law, including economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent tangible and economic losses, including:
- Medical expenses,
- Property damage, and
- Lost wages.
Non-economic damages represent intangible, subjective losses, including:
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of companionship,
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Non-economic damages are complicated to value. Insurance companies often fail to acknowledge non-economic damages as a part of your claim. However, these damages comprise a vital aspect of your compensatory award.
Failing to include them could hinder your recovery process and prevent you from recovering the financial support you need after an accident.
Another step in the process of filing a car accident claim includes negotiation. In this stage, your attorney works to reach an advantageous agreement with the other party and their insurance company.
Your attorney must keep you informed of all progress in the negotiation process. One of the key advantages to reaching a settlement agreement through negotiations is avoiding.
Trials extend the time it takes for you to receive compensation. Reaching a satisfactory settlement amount means that you receive compensation faster than waiting on a judgment from a trial.
Most lawyers know that in some situations, parties cannot reach an agreement. When it becomes clear that the parties cannot settle, your attorney will file a car accident lawsuit and take your claim to trial.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Understanding all that is required when moving through the car accident lawsuit process in Ohio is complicated without a lawyer. The sooner you involve an attorney, the stronger a case they can build on your behalf.
Aaron Bensinger of Bensinger Legal Services knows you may be feeling fear, uncertainty, and stress as you attempt to make sense of the car accident claim process. Choosing the best car accident lawyer for you can be a challenge.
Aaron Bensinger takes an aggressive stance with insurance companies and won’t hesitate to take your case to trial to obtain the just compensation you deserve. Bensinger Legal Services provides exceptional service for car accident victims and is here to help. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation!