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Car Accident Injuries

How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim After a Car Accident?

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Being in a car accident is a terrifying experience. What’s more, if your injuries are serious, you may be unable to take immediate action to file a claim right after your crash happens; instead, you may be incapacitated for days, weeks, or months. While the best strategy is always to bring forth a claim as soon as possible after a crash if you are unable to, here’s what you should know about how long you have to make a claim after a car accident–

Check Your Insurance Policy

As stated above, it is always within your best interests to bring forth a claim as soon as possible after a crash. And this isn’t just because that’s when evidence is the freshest–it’s also because the insurance company may have rules and regulations in place for how long you have to file a claim before it’s denied. Insurance companies have a right to investigate a claim and, if too much time passes, this right is impeded. It’s important that you review your policy and familiarize yourself with the rules for providing your insurance company with notice.

Know the Statute of Limitations

You’ll need to provide the insurance company with notice of your claim within the required amount of time. However, if you want to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in Ohio, you’ll likely have a little bit more time. That’s because your right to file a lawsuit is regulated by the state’s statute of limitations, which is found under Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. The statute reads that a person who suffers a personal injury–such as injuries sustained in a car accident–has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for damages. 

If you wait longer than two years to file your lawsuit, then your right to recover is forfeited. Similarly, if you don’t provide the insurance company with notice of your accident within the required time frame (per your policy), then they may have cause to deny your claim. 

How to Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident

As stated earlier, it can be very difficult to take action after a car crash, both because you may be seriously injured and also because you may be emotionally scarred. However, time matters, and there are few exceptions to the limits that exist for making a claim after a car accident. In order to help you meet these time requirements, and to advocate for your right for your full damages amount and assist you in a number of other ways, working with a skilled attorney is strongly recommended. 

Call Groth & Associates Today

If you’ve been in a car crash, our Ohio car accident lawyers can start working on your case immediately. We will investigate your claim, ensure that all parties are notified in a timely manner, gather evidence, build your claim, and negotiate your settlement. To learn more about how we can assist you when you’ve been in a crash, as well as how to ensure that you don’t breach the statute of limitations, please call our legal team today.

Deaths from Car Accidents in Toledo

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Car accidents are a leading cause of death both nationally and locally. To be sure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every year throughout the United States, more than 32,000 people are killed, and more than two million are injured, in motor vehicle crashes. Data published by the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) shows that car accident fatalities are common in Ohio as well, with an average of nearly 1,000 fatal accidents per year over a five-year period.

Car accidents deaths, despite how frequently they occur, are completely preventable. The following considers statistics surrounding motor vehicle deaths in Ohio, and what your options are if you have lost a loved one in a car accident in Toledo.

Ohio Car Accident Statistics You Should Know

The same source cited above provided by the OSHP provides more insight about the number of fatal accidents that have occurred in Ohio over the past five years, including who was involved (i.e. pedestrian vs. motorist), whether or not alcohol impairment was a factor, and whether or not safety precautions–such as the use of a helmet or seatbelt–were taken. Statistics from the most recent year for which data is available, 2016, provide the following information:

  • Number of fatal crashes: 1,054
  • Traffic fatalities that resulted: 1,133
  • Motor vehicle fatalities: 947
  • Unbelted fatalities: 431
  • Non-motorist fatalities: 159
  • Pedestrians killed: 140
  • OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence)-related fatalities: 430
  • Motorcycle fatalities: 200
  • Helmeted deaths: 50
  • Heavy-truck involved fatalities: 93

Finding accurate statistics for the number of car accidents that took place in Toledo is harder. Ohio Traffic Crash Facts, published by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, show that in 2016, there were 35 fatal accidents reported in Lucas County (in which Toledo is located), resulting in 36 fatalities. The only county in the state that saw more fatal accidents than Toledo was Montgomery County, where there were 61 fatalities recorded over the one-year period.  

Car Accident Deaths Are Preventable

One of the saddest and most shocking facts about the number of fatal accidents reported in Toledo and nationally every year is this: car accident deaths are completely preventable. Indeed, if drivers were to pay more attention and exercise a greater duty of care when operating their vehicles, car accidents and related deaths could likely be eliminated entirely.

It is very rare for car accidents to occur as a result of completely preventable and unforeseen acts of nature, such as an animal darting into the road. Instead, acts of human error like speeding, drunk driving, driving aggressively or too fast for conditions, texting while driving, and falling asleep at the wheel are usually to blame. Sometimes, things like road or vehicle defects lead to a crash, but these too are things that could be prevented, and are caused by human errors (i.e. manufacturing errors, failure to repair known dangers on roads, etc.).

A Responsible Party Should Be Held Liable

While it is certainly true that those involved in a car accident rarely cause a crash with intent, it is also fair to say that a driver (or other party) who is responsible for a fatal accident should be held liable for all damages, including of course, the death of the victim involved. Which is why the state of Ohio allows for surviving family members to bring forth a claim against the responsible party, or file a lawsuit to seek damages for their losses. Responsible parties might include:

  • A negligent driver;
  • The manufacturer of a defective vehicle;
  • The party responsible for road maintenance (i.e. municipal government); and
  • A trucking or other commercial vehicle company (if a commercial vehicle was involved).

Surviving family members deserve to seek compensation for the full value of damages that they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. This might include compensation for medical bills prior to death, property damage to a vehicle, the value of the deceased’s lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and noneconomic damages, such as compensation for the value of the loss of services provided by the deceased, guidance and support, consortium, and more.

In the majority of cases, these damages are paid by the liability insurance of the at-fault party. All drivers in the state are required to carry liability insurance to pay for damages that they cause to other parties.

Hiring an Experienced Attorney after a Car Accident Death Is Necessary

The idea of being notified that your loved one, be it a spouse, child, partner, sibling, parent, or other close relative, has been killed in a motor vehicle accident may be painful to even imagine, yet it is a reality that hundreds of people in the state of Ohio have to deal with every single year. For those that lose a family member in a motor vehicle crash, knowing what comes next can feel overwhelming. Planning for a funeral is an emotional and daunting task, and there may be many unanswered questions about who will pay for the funeral, how a family will support themselves now that their sole income earner is gone, and how individuals will cope with the emotional distress that is present when a family member dies.

If you have lost a loved one in a car crash, the last thing that you may be thinking about is calling a lawyer. At the law offices of Groth & Associates, we empathize with you and understand the fear and pain that you are currently experiencing, and understand that filing a claim may not be at the top of your priority list.

We urge you to call an experienced car accident attorney in Toledo with a history of success in deadly motor vehicle collision cases as soon as possible. The sooner that you call an attorney, the earlier that evidence critical to the case can be gathered and preserved. Waiting too long to take action may also result in a breach of the statute of limitations.

You deserve to be compensated after a loved one is killed in a car accident. The best way that you can maximize the amount of compensation is to work with an attorney who knows what they’re doing and isn’t afraid to aggressively fight for your right to your full settlement.

Call Our Law Offices Today

Motor vehicle deaths in Toledo are far too common. Our lawyers are advocates for safer driving, and hope that in time, the city and the state will reach the goal of zero fatalities. If you are someone who has lost a loved one in a car crash, please do not hesitate to call our law offices for a free case review and legal advice. You can also send us a message at your convenience using our intake form, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. Our lawyers are here to work for you.

Common Car Accident Injuries In Ohio

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While today’s motor vehicles are as safe as they have ever been, car accidents remain a leading cause of serious injury and death in Ohio. According to a 2015 study published the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 3.9 million emergency room visits every year attributed to “motor vehicle traffic injuries.” The injury rate is particularly high among people between the ages of 16 and 24.

The CDC said the following types of car accident injuries are the most commonly diagnosed by emergency room doctors:

  • sprains and strains of the neck and back, reported in about 24 percent of all cases
  • skin contusions (bruising), about 15 percent
  • spinal disorders, about 8 percent
  • sprains and strains to areas of the body other than the head or neck, 6.5 percent
  • fractures (broken bones), 6.1 percent
  • open wounds, 3.7 percent

Neck Injuries

The CDC noted that motor vehicle accidents are far more likely to result in a neck or back injury than any other type of accident. The most common neck injury you are likely to experience in a car accident is whiplash–the sudden, rapid movement of your neck back-and-forth. Whiplash usually occurs in a rear-end accident, when individuals in the front vehicle are suddenly propelled forward.

Whiplash often manifests itself as pain or stiffness in the neck. A person may also find they cannot move their neck as easily as before–i.e., their range of motion is limited. In serious cases whiplash can produce headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and even affect your vision and hearing. And while whiplash is often classified as a neck “sprain,” it may also describe injuries to the spine or the disks between the bones in your spinal column.

Back Injuries & Spinal Disorders

Any damage to your spinal column may be life-threatening, or at the very least life-altering. According to the Mayo Clinic, “more than 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries” are the result of car accidents each year. A car accident can dislocate, crush, or compress one or more of the vertebrae in your back. This in turn can lead to partial or total paralysis.

Head Injuries

Even if your back and spine do not suffer permanent damage in a car accident, there is still the risk of a traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion. Such injuries often occur when a person’s head violently strikes the steering wheel or dashboard following a collision. While a mild concussion may only leave you with temporary headaches or dizziness, more serious traumatic brain injuries include skull fractures, internal bleeding, swelling of the brain, blood clots, and permanent damage to brain cells.

Unlike other, more acute injuries such as a broken bone or spinal cord damage, you may not realize that you have suffered a traumatic brain injury until several hours, days, or even weeks following the accident. For example, two days after your accident, you may start to experience concentration and memory problems, or suddenly find yourself overly sensitive to light and noise. These are often symptoms of a concussion.

Internal Injuries

Aside from the brain, other internal organs may also be severely damaged in a car accident. Broken ribs are a common occurrence when there is a blunt-force impact to the chest. And when ribs are broken, they can cause multiple additional injuries inside the body, such as a punctured lung. The impact of the accident may also rupture your spleen, kidneys, heart, or aorta.

Fractures

Not all fractures refer to broken bones. You may suffer hairline or stress fractures–small cracks in your bones–during an accident and not immediately realize something is wrong. Children are also highly prone to buckle fractures, where part of the bone ruptures without completely breaking.

The Yellow Umbrella Boutique
The two most serious types of car accident-related fractures are comminuted fractures–where the bone breaks into three or more pieces–and compound fractures, where the bone not only breaks but breaks through the skin. The latter carries a substantial risk of infection around the wound, which in and of itself can be deadly, especially if an accident victim is not treated right away or receives inadequate care.

Psychological Trauma

While it may not be a category of injury considered by the CDC and most emergency rooms, it is important not to discount the psychological trauma and other long-term mental health injuries that may follow a car accident. Many accident victims later experience anxiety and depression. In some cases a doctor may even diagnose a victim with post-traumatic stress disorder.

You may think that is an exaggeration. But according to some medical studies 50 percent of car accident victims may develop PTSD. A car accident is, after all, one of the most common traumatic events that a person can experience. And even after a person’s physical injuries have healed, they may continue to exhibit symptoms when in or around automobiles.

Seeking Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries

If you were in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you have the right to seek compensation for all of your physical and mental injuries. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled not only to compensation for past and current medical expenses, but also any projected future care you might need.

Of course, negligent drivers (and their insurance companies) may balk at your reasonable demands for compensation. They may try to argue that you are exaggerating or even faking your injuries. This is why it is important to maintain detailed medical records of all care you receive following an accident. It is also why you should not hesitate to seek medical attention even if you are not sure anything is wrong. As discussed above, many accident-related injuries are not immediately apparent.

You also need to work with a qualified Toledo personal injury lawyer who can deal with insurance companies and the legal system on your behalf. Contact the offices of Groth & Associates, Attorneys at Law, to schedule a free consultation today with one of our experienced Toledo car accident lawyers in Toledo or Bowling Green.

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