One of the most important things to determine after a car accident in Ohio is who was at fault.
You may not think it is important to contact the police after an accident if you are not seriously injured.
But a police report can be an important piece of evidence to establish fault.
Additionally, serious injuries can sometimes manifest hours or days after an accident, so you may have suffered more damage than you thought.
While the police conduct their investigation, it is also important that you speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can help protect your interests and fight for the compensation you need.
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What Is a No-Fault State?
No-fault states handle insurance claims a bit differently. Every driver must carry minimum personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Then, if you suffer injury in an accident, you make a claim against your own insurance first no matter who was at fault.
Is Ohio a No-Fault State for Auto Insurance?
Short answer: Ohio is not a no-fault state. Ohio is an at-fault state. This means the driver who is at fault for the accident is liable for any injuries.
Ohio law requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance of:
- 25,000 bodily injury coverage per person, per accident;
- 50,000 bodily injury coverage total per accident; and
- 25,000 property damage coverage.
Since Ohio is an at-fault state, your remedy after an accident is to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company or to sue the driver directly.
If you are hit by a driver without insurance or your injuries exceed the amount of coverage, it may be difficult to collect what you are entitled to, especially if the driver does not have any assets.
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then you can get your own insurance company to make up the difference. Ohio does not require drivers to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. However, it’s a good idea to add this to your policy to ensure you are protected in case of injury.
How Do I Prove Fault in Ohio?
To establish that the other driver was at fault, you will need to demonstrate four elements of negligence:
- That the driver had a duty to drive safely, follow traffic laws, and watch out for other motorists;
- That the driver breached that duty by, for example, violating traffic laws or driving recklessly;
- The other driver’s actions caused the accident; and
- That you suffered damages as a result of the accident.
If you can establish these four elements, you may be entitled to compensation for things like:
- Medical bills,
- Physical therapy bills,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Disability or disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
An attorney can help you investigate your claim to determine who is at fault and to calculate the damages you are entitled to.
How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Ohio?
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may be able to recover a portion of your damages from the other party’s insurance. Under Ohio’s modified comparative fault law, you can recover some damages as long as you were not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
If you were partially responsible for the accident, it is even more important to have a personal injury attorney on your side. The insurance company will try to play up any fault you may have had to reduce or eliminate their liability.
Do I Need an Injury Attorney After an Ohio Auto Accident?
It is always a good idea to get a lawyer when you are injured in a car accident. The insurance company may offer you a low-ball settlement. But that probably won’t consider things like your pain and suffering and the long-term consequences of your injury.
Aaron Bensinger of Bensinger Legal Services has years of experience standing up to insurance companies. He will fight for the compensation you deserve and won’t hesitate to take your case to court if the insurance company won’t cooperate.