SKILLED IN CAR ACCIDENTS
OHIO AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS SERVING PLAINTIFFS INJURED IN HIGHWAY COLLISIONS
Traffic collisions can happen almost anywhere, from a pedestrian crash in a parking lot to a high-speed collision with a large truck on the highway. While serious and life-threatening injuries can happen even in low-speed, local accidents, crashes that happen on the highways tend to be much more dangerous. The Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) provides information about speed zones in the state, and how local streets in cities and villages often have lower maximum speed limits than highways that run throughout the state. While most of the highways in Ohio used to have a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour, an article in Ohio.com reminds us that numerous speed limits rose to 70 miles per hour in 2013 along 570 miles of highway in the state of Ohio.
HIGHER SPEED LIMITS ACROSS OHIO’S HIGHWAYS
Numerous cities throughout Ohio have major highways with high speed limits. Since 2011, motorists on the Ohio Turnpike have been able to drive legally at a maximum speed of 70 miles per hour. In addition, as the Ohio.com article explains, portions of six interstates in Ohio have speed limits of 70 miles per hour, including:
- Interstate 76 in Akron heading east;
- Interstate 77 around Canton;
- Interstate 71 in southwest Ohio;
- Interstate 70 running from the border of Indiana to just outside Wheeling, West Virginia;
- Interstate 75 southbound outside of Toledo; and
- Interstate 90 running from outside of Cleveland to the border with Pennsylvania.
While many motorists in Ohio welcomed the higher speed limit on many of the state’s highways, increasing the speed limit also increases the risk of serious injuries in a highway accident. According to Russ Rader, the senior vice president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute, higher speed limits lead to more traffic crashes and more highway deaths. Indeed, as he explained, although it is “popular to raise speed limits” because it allows motorists to drive faster without the risk of a citation, “it doesn’t come without a cost.” To be sure, Rader highlighted, when speed limits increase, “there will be more crashes and more deaths.”
SPEEDING AND HIGHWAY ACCIDENTS
Do higher speeds always result in more traffic collisions that are worse in severity? As the IIHS underscores, “one-third of all fatal crashes involve speeding.” A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) also emphasizes the link between high speeds on roadways—especially highways—and increased crash risk. As the WHO explains, “the higher the speed of a vehicle, the shorter the time a driver has to stop and avoid a crash.” Indeed, increasing your speed by even one mile per hour can increase the risk of an injury accident by anywhere from 3 to 5 percent.
And when accidents do happen—even when speeding does not cause them—speed is a majority factor in determining the severity of the crash. For instance, the WHO reports that traveling at a speed of approximately 50 miles per hour when a crash happens means that your likelihood of suffering a fatal injury is 20 times the chance if you were traveling at only about 20 miles per hour.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR INJURY CLAIMS IN OHIO MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISIONS
WHILE PERSONAL INJURIES ARE OFTEN REFERRED TO AS ACCIDENTS, THEY ARE OFTEN THE RESULT OF ANOTHER PERSON’S RECKLESS OR NEGLIGENT CONDUCT.
If you are involved in a serious highway accident in Toledo, Akron, or elsewhere in Ohio, it is important to know about the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit. The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have according to the law to file a claim. If a highway car accident victim fails to file her claim within the statutory time window, then the plaintiff can be barred from filing a lawsuit to seek financial compensation for her losses.
Most car accident claims in Ohio have a two-year statute of limitations. Under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2301.10), personal injury lawsuits or actions for “bodily injury” must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. As such, if you get hurt in a highway accident in Ohio, the law makes clear that you must file your lawsuit within two years from the date of the collision in which you sustained your injuries. While two years might seem like a long time, it is important to reach out to an Ohio car accident attorney as soon as possible if you were injured in a crash. The longer you wait to begin an investigation and to file your claim, the more difficult it can be to gather usable evidence and to build the strongest possible case for your right to compensation.
In the event of a death caused by an Ohio highway crash, the survivor who files the claim has two years from the date of the death to file a lawsuit. For example, if a spouse is involved in a highway accident outside Toledo and suffers serious injuries that ultimately prove to be fatal, the surviving spouse (or whoever files the wrongful death claim) has two years from the date of death to file that lawsuit.
DAMAGES IN A HIGHWAY ACCIDENT IN OHIO
When a plaintiff suffers serious injuries in a highway auto accident, Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2315.18) allows the plaintiff to seek compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are designed to compensate a plaintiff for her losses, both monetary and nonmonetary. What do we mean when we refer to monetary and nonmonetary losses? Under the law, these are known as economic and noneconomic damages, and they refer to losses that are financial and objective in nature (such as the cost of a hospital bill or lost wages) and losses that are more subjective in nature and do not have a precise dollar amount (such as pain and suffering or mental anguish).
If you were injured in a highway accident, you can seek compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses, and the jury or the court will determine the amount for which you are eligible. In some circumstances, plaintiffs also may be able to seek punitive damages.
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