SKILLED IN CAR ACCIDENTS
CAR ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN AT ANYTIME AND WHEN THEY DO THE DAMAGES CAN BE SEVERE.
There are more than 66,970 total crashes every year in Ohio, leading to 502 fatalities and causing injuries for another 19,000 victims. These tragedies touch on Huron County as well, as statistics published by the Ohio State Highway Patrol reveal that fatal accidents increased significantly so far in 2019 as compared to previous years. Life will never be the same for victims and their families, who suffer tremendous losses as a result of injury-causing and fatal crashes.
It may come as some relief to know that Ohio law does provide you with rights if you were injured or lost a loved one in a collision. Our attorneys at Groth & Associates will fight aggressively to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your losses, whether we’re dealing with an insurance company or litigating in court. Please contact our office to set up a no-cost consultation with a Huron, OH car accident lawyer, and read on for some background information about these cases.
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HOW OHIO AUTO COLLISION CLAIMS WORK
There’s a wide array of factors that can lead to a car accident, but most of these incidents share a common element: The responsible driver’s careless or reckless acts. In the practice of law, this concept is called “negligence.” You must prove certain sets of facts to recover compensation for your losses, including:
- Duty: You need to show that the responsible motorist had a legal obligation to drive the vehicle reasonably safely, a duty that applies to everyone on Ohio roadways.
- Breach: You must present facts demonstrating how that person failed in the legal duty of care.
- Causation: There needs to be a direct link between the breach of duty and the accident in which you were injured, such that you wouldn’t have been hurt but for the breach.
- Damages: You must prove that you suffered damages as a result of your injuries, which may be physical, financial, or emotional in nature.
In most situations, you first seek monetary damages by filing a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Motorists in Ohio are required to carry minimum amounts of insurance coverage to protect victims who may be hurt in collisions. The process can be complicated, especially since the insurer will meticulously scrutinize your claim. The adjuster may dispute the nature of your injuries or contest fault of its policyholder in order to avoid paying you.
If the insurance company is unwilling to settle, your next step is filing a civil lawsuit in court. Litigation is highly technical, incorporating Ohio case law, statutes, court procedural rules, and other details. It’s smart to retain an experienced attorney to handle your lawsuit for you.
OTHER PRACTICE AREA CASES
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COMMON CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
To better understand how negligence works in an auto crash case, it may help to review some of the reasons these incidents often occur. A driver may be negligent by:
- Failure to yield;
- Improper lane changes;
- Not signaling before making a turn;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or,
- Many other careless acts.
In addition, one potential form of negligence has gotten massive attention in recent years: Distracted driving, especially due to cell phone use. When a motorist is texting, talking on the phone, posting to social media, taking photos, or surfing the internet, his or her attention is diverted from operating the vehicle. Ohio law strictly prohibits these risky activities, but many drivers don’t comply with the law. Plus, there are many other forms of distracted driving that are equally dangerous, such as:
- Eating or drinking;
- Playing with the radio;
- Grooming and applying makeup; and,
- Holding a pet on your lap.
SEEKING COMPENSATION FOR YOUR LOSSES
By proving the essential elements of a negligence case, you can establish your right to monetary damages. Compensation in these claims is intended to reimburse you and make you whole, to the furthest extent possible, after an auto crash. There are two types of damages available in a car accident claim:
- Economic Damages: These are your quantifiable losses, such as the costs of medical care and out-of-pocket expenses you incur as part of your treatment. Lost wages are also included in this category, as you could be unable to work while you’re recovering.
- Non-Economic Damages: This category covers less definable losses, which you suffer but may not be able to express in a dollar value. Pain, suffering, emotional distress, scarring, and disfigurement are examples. Plus, your injuries have implications for your quality of life, since you may not be able to enjoy your favorite activities. Losses regarding your personal relationships are also included in your non-economic damages.
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OHIO LAWS THAT IMPACT YOUR RIGHTS
Even if you’re successful in proving the essential elements of negligence described above, there are two key laws in Ohio that could affect your claim. For one, Ohio has a statute of limitations that establishes a two-year deadline for filing your claim in court. The clock starts running the date of the accident, and it continues throughout the claims process with an insurance company. If you don’t initiate litigation before the statute of limitations expires, you’re barred from recovering compensation.
The second legal concept that may impact your case is Ohio’s statute on contributory fault, which puts the focus on your conduct. If you were at fault in causing the car accident, your compensation will be reduced proportionately according to your actions. Where your total monetary damages may have been $10,000, they’re lowered to $7,000 when you’re determined to be 30 percent responsible. The same principles of negligence apply to you, just as they do the other driver.
CONTACT A HURON, OH CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TO DISCUSS YOUR CLAIM
For more information on your rights and legal options, please call 419.482.1176 or go online to reach our team at Groth & Associates. We can schedule a free case evaluation to review your circumstances and determine the best strategy for proceeding with your claim. We have extensive experience representing victims throughout Northwest Ohio, so we’re prepared to advocate on your behalf.
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