SKILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT CASES
A CAR ACCIDENT CAN OCCUR ANYWHERE AND WHEN THEY DO THE DAMAGES CAN BE SEVERE.
Car crashes and collisions can happen to even the safest of drivers, and even a minor accident can result in injuries that are severe and potentially life threatening. At Groth & Associates, our experienced Toledo Personal Injury attorneys understand the impacts a crash or collision can have on nearly every area of your life.
We make it our goal to assist clients in getting the maximum amount of compensation they are entitled after an accident, providing the kind of aggressive legal representation that gets results. Before settling with an insurance company for less than what you deserve, get our team of attorneys working to ensure your rights and interests are protected.
TOLEDO CAR ACCIDENT FAQ’S
Yes. If you have uninsured motorist insurance, then you can make a claim on your policy, which should pay out benefits if you are victimized in a hit and run. Although it is illegal to leave the scene of a crash, hundreds of people do that every year.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, then your options are more limited. You can use your health insurance to pay for medical benefits, but you won’t receive compensation for lost wages.
According to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accident injuries affected more than two million people throughout the United States in 2014. Nationwide, over 30,000 people were killed in these accidents, while in our state alone, car crashes and collisions claim on average 1,000 lives each year. Ohio car accident statistics from the NHTSA indicate that as many as half of these fatalities involve passengers, with Lucas County being among the top ten counties for traffic fatalities in the area.
A defective tire or steering column could render the vehicle unmanageable, causing drivers to swerve into oncoming traffic or to drive off the road. Vehicle defects can also contribute to rollovers, which are a particularly dangerous type of car accident. Vehicles are usually defective in design or in manufacture.
Children can become injured when a defective car or booster seat fails to protect them as expected in a crash. Although the adults in the car might emerge unscathed, young children could suffer serious injuries.
Ohio maintains a traditional tort liability system of insurance, and requires that its driver carry liability insurance as such. This means that after an accident, rather than turning to one’s own insurance company for compensation–as would be the case in a no-fault insurance state–drivers in Toledo must either file a claim with their own insurance company under their collision coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or medical payments coverage; or file a claim against the liability coverage of the at-fault driver; or file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. In Ohio, the party who is responsible for paying for damages is the party who caused the accident.
Of course, fault for an accident is not always 100% the fault of a single driver. As such, if fault is shared amongst another party and yourself, you may still be able to recoup damages from the party who was mostly at fault for your accident and injuries, but the rule of comparative fault will apply. This rule holds that you can still recover damages from another party (assuming that they were more at fault for the accident than you were), but that your compensation award will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. So, if you were 10% at fault for the accident, your recoverable damages award will be reduced by 10%.
Proving negligence is never easy. For one thing, drivers will probably not admit that they were talking on the phone or daydreaming when they rammed into your vehicle. Instead, you will need to find other helpful evidence. Even worse, you might be terribly injured and not able to perform an investigation yourself.
This is where an attorney comes in. Your lawyer can investigate the crash and find helpful evidence that the other driver was at fault. For example, an attorney can:
- Investigate witnesses to the accident, including any passengers in the vehicles that were involved.
- Ask questions of the other driver under oath. Your attorney might be able to get the driver to admit to being negligent behind the wheel.
- Search for surveillance video, which might have captured the accident.
- Subpoena cell phone records, which could show that the other driver was on their phone when the accident occurred.
- Study damage to the vehicles. Sometimes, the damage to the vehicles yields important clues about how the accident unfolded.
Yes, in most cases you can bring a lawsuit as an injured passenger. Drivers owe a duty of care to their passengers, just as they owe a duty to strangers on the road around them. If the driver’s negligence injures you, you might be able to request compensation.
When you have been injured in a car accident caused by the fault of another, you maintain the right to seek compensation for the full extent of damages you have suffered, both economic and noneconomic. Our lawyers can help you to build your claim and fight for your right to be compensated for your:
- Economic harm. Economic damages refer to the actual, economic losses that you have suffered as a result of your accident. For example, if you’ve been in a serious car crash, you have likely incurred property damage expenses, medical expenses, and lost wages. If the injuries you’ve suffered are particularly severe, damages may extend into the future too.
- Non Economic harm. Car accidents don’t just leave victims with economic losses, but psychological, physical, and emotional losses, too. In addition to being compensated for the financial harm you have suffered, you may also seek compensation for the value of things such as your pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are discussed in more detail below.
Estimating compensation for intangible losses like pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress is complicated. For one thing, you don’t have a receipt or bill attached, like you do with medical care. For another, few people can actually agree on how much compensation can make up for bad burns on someone’s face or paralysis that prevents someone from ever walking again.
Nevertheless, as experienced Toledo car accident lawyers, we have been working in this field for years. We have seen many cases cycle through the court system, so we have some idea of how jurors would value your injuries. We have also seen many settlement offers from insurers, so we understand how they will value your injuries, also.
Not all injuries are the same. For example, someone who suffers a disfigurement or permanent disability can usually receive more in pain and suffering or emotional distress than someone whose injuries heal with sufficient time.
The civil law system differs from the criminal law system in an important way: the goal of civil law is to compensate victims, not punish offenders. However, civil systems eventually developed punitive damages, which do indeed punish a defendant for offensive or egregious conduct that the court wants to deter.
In Ohio, you can receive punitive damages if the defendant acted with:
- Aggravated or egregious fraud
For example, if someone intentionally struck you with their car, then they have acted with malice and you could pursue punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages for lost wages, health care, and pain and suffering.
Ohio does, however, place a cap on punitive damages. As a rule, you cannot receive more than two times your compensatory damages in punitive damages. If you receive $75,000 in compensatory damages, you cannot receive more than $150,000 for punitive damages.
There is also a cap of $350,000, regardless of how much you received in compensatory damages. So if you received $200,000 in compensatory damages, the maximum you can receive in punitives is $350,000, not $400,000.
Punitive damages are not available in every case, so injured Toledo car accident victims should ask their attorney about them.
This is rarely a good idea. Toledo’s largest insurance companies are very skilled at getting people to accept far less in compensation than their injuries are truly worth. Insurance adjusters can quickly convince badly-injured motorists that the insurance company can only offer a few thousand dollars for what are devastating injuries.
Experienced Toledo car accident attorneys know all the tricks that insurance companies use. We can properly value the cost of your injuries and negotiate a very fair settlement that fully compensates you for your losses.
Remember, once you agree to a settlement, you will release the defendant from any additional liability for the accident. This means that you cannot go back to court and sue if, later down the road, you realize you need more money to treat your injuries. For this reason, you need to get a fair settlement the first time. Only an experienced attorney will know how to do this.
I Don’t Want to Settle for Too Little Money
That’s perfectly understandable. Under Ohio law, an attorney cannot accept a settlement without the client’s permission. If any lawyer tries to do otherwise, he has violated the state’s rules of professional conduct.
At Groth & Associates, we stay in close contact with our clients and fully understand your goals from the outset. We will never agree to a settlement unless we have your approval.
It is always a wise idea to initiate the car accident claims process as soon as possible, and to notify your insurance company of the claim with 24-48 hours after the accident occurs. If you fail to let your insurance company know about the accident within a reasonable amount of time, they could deny your claim.
In either event, you only have two years from the date of your accident to bring forth a civil action against the at-fault party, per Ohio’s statute of limitations found in Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. If you wait longer than two years, you will be barred from recovery.
Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic, especially if you suffer serious injuries as a result of the crash. At the law office of Groth & Associates, we understand how lost you may be feeling after a crash, and how complicated it can be to navigate the claims process on your own.
When you call our law firm, we will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve, and you can take comfort in the fact that we are committed to handling 100 percent of your claim on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your injuries and your recover. Our legal services include, but are not limited to:
- Providing you with a free case review;
- Investigating your case;
- Working with various experts and outside professionals to build your claim;
- Compiling and organizing all evidence and data;
- Issuing a demand letter;
- Reviewing a settlement award;
- Negotiating a settlement;
- Representing you in all conversations with an insurance party; and
- Litigating your case if a settlement cannot be reached.
We are also available to answer any questions you have throughout the process. You can count on our lawyers being available and responsive.
WHY DO CAR ACCIDENTS OCCUR?
WHILE PERSONAL INJURIES ARE OFTEN REFERRED TO AS ACCIDENTS, THEY ARE OFTEN THE RESULT OF ANOTHER PERSON’S RECKLESS OR NEGLIGENT CONDUCT.
While road and weather conditions may contribute to accidents, unlawful and reckless driving behaviors continue to play a major role in both fatal and non-fatal collisions. Among the leading factors contributing to accidents are the following:
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs: Despite increased laws and penalties, statistics from the NHTSA indicate that impaired driving continues to be a factor in as many as one third of all fatal car accidents in the state.
- Distracted Driving: According to the NHTSA website, distracted driving behaviors such as texting, making calls, and adjusting GPS settings result in more than 430,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
- Aggressive Driving: Speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and making improper turns are all aggressive driving behaviors that are in violation of the traffic code and result in an increase in car accidents.
- Drowsy Driving: While the NHTSA has long recognized falling asleep behind the wheel or using poor judgment as the result of lack of sleep as a contributing cause in car accidents and injuries, drowsy driving is beginning to gain national attention with social media campaigns and increased public awareness.
WORDS FROM OUR CLIENTS
Our experience with Attorney Stevin Groth was nothing short of life changing.ALFRED & JENNIFER
When we first contacted Mr. Groth, he gave us his cell phone number and we were able to directly contact him day or night. His knowledge of the Ohio judicial system was astounding. He handled all aspects of our case himself, never once handing off our case to jr. associates. Stevin had positive relationships with all the judges, district attorneys and court personal that we came in contact with. Stevin’s persuasive arguments on our son’s behalf cleared him of all charges. Because of Stevin’s abilities, our son is able to move forward with his life without the stigma of a criminal record. We could not recommend Stevin Groth more highly.
Dan is an amazing attorney. He had my divorce finalized in a short period of time. A lot quicker than I thought it was going to be and for that I’m thankful! Dan knew exactly what he was talking about. Any questions I had Dan, and his assistant, Michelle was glad to answer. The outcome of my divorce was exactly what I was hoping for.LAURIE
Thank You Dan for your services!
Allison Lawrence is the best lawyer I have hired.she was attentive when I presented my case to her & knew exactly how to handle it.very professional person when it comes to her job,also a humanitarian.Allison has given me great advice in a free consultation,as well as stood by side in court with chargers pending,of course she got the charges dismissed!!Great attorney,very dependable.in need of a lawyer,I highly recommend Allison Lawrence.RONNIE
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF INJURIES FROM CAR ACCIDENT
Even a minor car accident can result in major injuries that can prevent you from working or engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy, will requiring ongoing care and treatment resulting in heavy medical expenses. NHTSA research on car accidents indicate the following are among the most common types of injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents:
- Head injuries, such as whiplash, concussions, and traumatic brain injury;
- Broken bones, such as leg, hip, and shoulder fractures;
- Back and spinal cord injuries, such as herniated or ruptured disks;
- Muscle and tendon sprains, strains, and tears;
- Dislocated joints in the shoulders, hips, and pelvis; and
- Severe cuts and lacerations caused by contact with sharp surfaces or broken glass.
In the aftermath of any car accident, regardless of how minor, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. You may have serious injuries that are not readily apparent, and failing to get the medical care you need could dramatically worsen your condition.
HOW CAN A TOLEDO CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY HELP YOU RECOVER THE COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE?
Under Ohio’s motor vehicle laws, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, and in the event of an accident, are required to share information regarding their insurance, as well as their contact information, driver’s license and vehicle registration number, with other drivers. Follow these steps if you are involved in an accident:
- Notify the police at the scene of the accident.
- Get medical care for any injuries you suffer.
- Report the incident to your insurance company right away, regardless of whether you or the other driver is at fault.
- Once your insurer is notified, you will be contacted by an insurance company claims representative who will take your statement.
HOW DOES CAR ACCIDENT LIABILITY WORK IN TOLEDO?
You can only hold a party liable for an accident if you can prove that they were at-fault for the crash. In Ohio, this is generally done by proving that the other party was negligent. In simple terms, negligence is that failure to take proper care when performing an action. In many car accident cases, applying negligence can become very complicated and fierce disputes can arise. There are four required elements that must be established:
- Duty: A duty of care is a legal responsibility to look out for the safety of others. Proving this element is relatively simple in Ohio car accident cases. It is well accepted that all drivers within the state must look out for the safety of the other people on the roads.
- Breach: You will also need to prove that the defendant’s actions deviated from the required standard of care. In a car accident case, a breach of the duty of care can come in many different forms. Some, such as a vehicle running a red light, are relatively straightforward. In that case, there would be little doubt that the driver breached their duty to operate their vehicle safely. However, in other cases, proving a breach will be far more complicated. For example, if two vehicles collide while merging into a third lane, both drivers may try to claim that the other one was negligent.
- Causation: Proving that another driver breached their duty of care is not necessarily enough to prove that they are liable for your accident. You must also prove that there is causation between their breach and your injuries. For example, if another Toledo driver ran a red light and then crashed into your car 5 minutes later, there would be no plausible connection between those two events. They might still have caused your accident, but running the red light earlier was likely not a factor.
- Damages: Finally, you can only recover compensation for a car accident in Ohio if you have sustained real harm. If you sustained a very serious injury, this issue may seem straightforward, but it still needs to be taken very seriously. You are entitled to recover compensation for the full extent of your damages, but you can only make a recovery if you can prove your damages. The full extent of your losses must be established in painstaking detail.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO BRING A CAR ACCIDENT INJURY CLAIM IN OHIO?
Ohio has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident injury cases. This means that you must bring your claim within two years, or you will lose the ability to do so. Your case does not need to be resolved within that time frame, but a claim does need to be filed. Ultimately, you do not want this issue to be relevant in your case at all. The best thing you can do is to take immediate action after your accident. If you have been seriously injured in a Toledo car accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
WHAT COMPENSATION IS AVAILABLE FOR OHIO CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS?
Injured car accident victims can seek recovery for the full extent of their losses. The damages associated with a serious car accident injury can come in many different forms; specifically, victims may be able to recover for:
- Damage to their vehicle;
- Ambulances costs;
- Hospital bills;
- Required medication;
- Necessary medical equipment;
- Rehabilitation costs;
- Counseling or therapy costs;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Lost long-term earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of life enjoyment; and
- Punitive damages.
Ultimately, the value of your car accident claim will always depend on the specific facts of your case. Recovering full and fair compensation is never easy. All damages must be proven and you can expect a fight from the insurance company.
SHOULD I TALK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
If you have been contacted by the insurance company, you need to be extremely careful. When dealing with the insurance company, it is important to use caution when describing your injuries, as well as how the accident occurred. In order to save themselves money, insurers often attempt to either deny claims or to downplay the extent of your injuries and damages, using any statements you have made against you. You should always remember that the insurance company is not on your side. Ultimately, their primary interest will always be their bottom line. Further, insurance companies spend a lot of time and resources training their representative to come off as disarming over the phone. They will present themselves as if they are simply trying to find out information about your accident. They want to get you talking about your accident as much as possible in the hopes that something will slip out that they can use against you.
You need to know your rights.
You do not owe the insurance company a long, detailed, conversation about your accident. Furthermore, you are entitled to take time to gather your thoughts before dealing with the insurance company. Before speaking to the insurance company, contact Groth & Associates. Our experienced Toledo car accident attorneys can help you avoid making incriminatory statements that could jeopardize your claim. We can assist you in negotiations with the insurance company, and may be able to help you pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
WHAT IF THE OTHER DRIVER DID NOT HAVE INSURANCE?
If you were seriously injured by an uninsured motorist, you may be left feeling extremely stressed out. While you are still entitled to seek compensation from that driver, the vast majority of the time these drivers do not have enough assets to cover your damages. The good news is that you still have legal options. Many Ohio drivers carry insurance policies that include some coverage for the damages caused by uninsured motorists. If this is an issue in your case, it is especially important that you get your case in the hands of a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Our Experienced Toledo Car Accident Attorneys Today
Car accident injuries can have lasting ramifications. Get the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve. Serving Toledo, Bowling Green, Fremont and the surrounding areas, we are available to assist you; call or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.
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