Motor vehicles provide enormous advantages. They help us move around quickly and reach our destinations faster. But there is a very saddening fact about motor vehicles in our country and worldwide. According to the NHTSA, auto crashes were the leading cause of death for children between 10 and 11 years and young people between 16 and 21 in 2016.
If you are an auto crash victim, consider contacting a Columbus car accident attorney to help through the insurance claim process.
Now, let's discuss some causes of accidents and how a Columbus car accident attorney can help you.
How Do You Know Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?
Determining who is at fault in a car accident is very important. Except for no-fault states, the driver at fault and their insurance company will typically pay for all the damages. This raises the question of who determines who is at fault in a car accident?
In a motor vehicle accident, the at-fault party's auto insurance company will assign an adjuster to take the lead in investigating and establishing the one who is responsible for the accident. The insurance adjuster will start the investigations by interviewing both drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses at the accident scene. The accident claim adjuster will also look at photographs, police reports, and surveillance footage. In cases that end up in court, the court will determine who is at fault. If your case goes to court, you'll probably want a Columbus car accident attorney to represent your interests.
In a rear-end collision, the at-fault party is typically the rear vehicle. This is because the law requires drivers to keep a safe distance between vehicles. This is usually easy for the insurance company establishes the at-fault party.
Another factor that helps determine who is responsible for the accident is reckless driving on the other driver's side. This can include swerving into your lane without signaling or blatantly running a red light.
Some states use comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is when both parties are partially at fault for the accident. Suppose the police report stated that you both had a part to play in the accident, then your insurance company will pay for your injury claims, and the other party's insurance carrier will pay for theirs.
Modified Comparative Negligence
The state of Ohio uses modified comparative negligence. This means that if you are over 50 percent at fault for the accident, you would have to rely on your own insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
Common types of accidents
A head-on collision is between two vehicles traveling in opposite directions. This type of crash tends to be serious because of the speed of the cars involved. These dangerous crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries and even death.
T-Bone accidents are among the most dangerous accident types. It is when another vehicle hits the side of your car head-on. T-Bone crashes have claimed more lives than any accident type. If you were involved in a t-bone accident, you should get in contact with a Columbus car accident attorney right away.
Sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles make contact. Sideswipes commonly occur when another car tries to merge into another lane already occupied. The merging vehicle's driver might be drunk or overly aggressive. Another probable cause is when the driver makes a rapid turn without signaling. This is an accident type that is difficult to establish a responsible party.
Causes of Car Accidents in Ohio
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 1,244 fatal crashes occurred in 2021. Here are some of the common causes of road accidents in Ohio:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Driver fatigue
- Bad weather
- Running a red light or stop sign
The Laws Governing Car Accidents in Columbus, Ohio
Ohio is an at-fault state. This means the driver responsible for the accident or their insurance company will pay for the damages and losses from the accident. After the accident, the accident victim can:
- File a claim with their own insurance company
- File a claim with the insurer of the other driver
- Or file a lawsuit
Ohio awards two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are monetary losses caused by the accident. Some examples are property damage, medical expenses, and loss of income.
Non-economic damages are losses that don't have a clear monetary value but are worthy of compensation. The following are some of the most common accident injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Loss of companionship (in fatal accidents)
There is a cap on these non-economic damages for non-catastrophic injuries in Ohio. They cap the accident compensation at $250,000 or 3 times the economic damages awarded.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Ohio
In Ohio, there is a time limit for which the injury victim has to file a lawsuit from the accident. The statute of limitations for a personal injury or damage to private property is two years. This means that the accident victim needs to file a claim within two years of the accident or forfeit their right to compensation.
It is illegal to drive in Columbus, Ohio with an auto insurance policy of less than $25,000. Knowing how much your insurance company will pay to cover the damages when an accident occurs is essential.
If your expenses exceed the limit of the at-fault driver's insurance coverage, the at-fault driver will have to cover the rest of the costs themself. You can also decide to use your insurance coverage to support.
If the person at fault is an uninsured driver, you would have to pay for all the financial losses.
What Happens if the Car Accident Is Your Fault?
Suppose you are the fault party in the accident. It is good to know what your insurance policy will cover and what it won't. What damages are covered if you are at fault?
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Vehicle damage
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death
If the damages exceed your insurance claim, you would have to cover the additional cost out of your pocket.
You might wonder what about the damages to your car. Your insurance company should cover the damages caused to your vehicle if you are the one who caused the accident.
What Should You Do Immediately After an Accident?
Immediately after an accident, your emotions will run wild. It is a confusing time, and it is easy to miss important factors. It is vital to remain calm after the accident and follow these steps to get the most out of your insurance claim.
- Stop your vehicle at the accident scene and exchange contact information; names, addresses, registration number, and driver's license number. It is essential to help any injured person if possible.
- The next thing to do is to call the police. The police will help diffuse the situation and calm everyone down. They will also write reports and talk to the witnesses. The police accident report is an essential element in your accident claim process.
- Collect witnesses' information. Collecting witnesses' information at the accident scene is an important step. It is usually hard to track down witnesses days or weeks after the accident for information. Here are some details you can collect: names, address, telephone number, and the telephone number of a close relative if you can't reach them.
- Take pictures of the damaged vehicle and document what happened immediately at the accident scene. You can't rely on your memory to recount everything that happened at the location.
- Talk to your insurance company. After getting into a car accident, you must notify your insurance company.
- Reach out to a Columbus car accident attorney. An attorney will review your legal options and take the necessary steps to proceed with a claim. If the other driver takes legal action, your Columbus car accident attorney can represent you in court.
Contact an Experienced Columbus Car Accident Attorney
At Babin Law, our experienced auto accident attorneys have been handling car accident claims for years. They have helped many crash victims recover compensation for their car accident claims.
We take our cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you will only pay us when we recover your insurance claims for you. We always treat our clients like family, giving them personal attention and tailor-made services.
These are some accidents we handle:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bus accidents
Contact an experienced Columbus car accident attorney at Babin Law, LLC today. Don't go through the stress alone without a legal professional on your side.