Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Explains Options Available to You
When car accidents happen, costs can add up fast. Medical bills. Lost income. Car repairs. The list goes on and on. And if you don’t take strong legal action right away, you might have to pay for your accident on your own – even if you did nothing wrong.
That’s why it’s critical that you understand how Ohio’s auto insurance system works. Car Accident Attorney Mike Christensen can explain all the details to you. And he can tell you about other types of compensation available to you after your accident. Get the money you deserve for your crash. Call Mike now.
Ohio has ‘fault’ car insurance system
Like many states, Ohio has a fault-based auto insurance system. That means whoever caused your crash – whoever’s “at fault” – must compensate you and everyone else affected by the accident, including other drivers, passengers, pedestrians or cyclists.
But there is a difference between Ohio’s fault car insurance system and many other states. That’s because Ohio compensates accident victims based on the state’s comparative negligence – or comparative fault – system.
Ohio comparative negligence car insurance system – how it works
Comparative negligence replaced Ohio’s previous insurance system, which was known as contributory negligence. In the past, if you were partially at fault – even 10 or 20 percent at fault – you could not recover any money for your accident.
Under Ohio’s comparative negligence insurance system, which was enacted in 1980, you can recover damages (financial compensation) if you are less than 50 percent at fault. However, how much money you will receive depends on what percentage you were at fault.
“What if I was partially at fault for causing my car accident?”
The percentage you are at fault for your accident will decide what percentage you receive from your settlement offer or verdict. If you are 30 percent at fault, for example, you will only receive 70 percent of the money awarded to you for your accident.
Let’s say your accident is worth $100,000. If you are found to be 20 percent at fault, you will only receive 80 percent of the money or $80,000. If you were 10 percent at fault, you would receive 90 percent or $90,000. But if you were 51 percent at fault, you would receive nothing.
How do officials determine who’s at fault?
Evidence often plays a critical role when determining who’s at fault after a car accident. Some of the most important pieces of evidence often include:
- Your official Ohio car accident report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records
- Expert analysis of accident
Our law firm knows how to analyze all of these pieces of evidence. We can also conduct our own independent investigation to find the facts you need to build a strong legal case.
“What can I be compensated for after my car accident?”
Accident-related costs can cover anything associated with your accident. If you had to buy something or replace something because of your accident, you should be compensated for that expense. Even if such expenses occurred years after your accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for them out of your own pocket. Some of the most common accident-related expenses include:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repairs
- Lost income
- Lost future income
- Home modifications (if you sustained a permanent disability)
- Pain and suffering
Because the true value of many accident-related expenses is not known for years after an accident, it’s important to compile a complete list of all expenses as soon as possible. That way, you can make sure you receive all the money you deserve for your accident.
Minimum Ohio auto accident insurance requirements
Ohio drivers are required by law to have car insurance. The minimum amount of coverage drivers in Ohio must obtain includes:
- $25,000 for injury or death to one person
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Such figures don’t come close to covering the costs of many car accidents. Some end up costing injury victims and their families hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. That’s why it’s critical that you demand the full compensation you deserve after your crash. That’s why you need to contact us.
Compensation for crashes involving uninsured/underinsured drivers
Even though all drivers in Ohio are legally required to obtain car insurance, not everyone does. As a result, some Ohio accidents involve drivers without auto insurance. When this happens, getting the compensation you deserve can be very complicated.
Your best option for being compensated often involves filing a claim with your own insurance company. This process is easier if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Such coverage is not mandatory in Ohio, but we do recommend carrying enough to make sure you are protected.
There are several reasons why people file UIM accident claims. The most common reasons include:
- Car accident involving an uninsured driver
- Car accident involving an underinsured driver
- Hit-and-run car accident
If you don’t have UIM coverage, don’t simply assume there’s nothing you can do to get the money you rightfully deserve. Talk to attorney Mike Christensen. He can analyze your accident and explain all the legal options available to you.
What your insurance company doesn’t want you to know
Many people are reluctant to file an uninsured motorist accident claim with their insurance company because they fear their insurance rates will go up. But here’s the truth – your insurance company cannot raise your rates if you file such a claim. In fact, it’s against the law.
Ohio revised code section 3937.23 clearly states that insurance companies cannot raise your insurance rates if you file an accident claim with your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This law has been in place since 1994.
But you might not know it because many insurance companies want their clients to live in fear. That’s how insurance companies convince accident victims to accept far less for their crash. Don’t miss out on the compensation you rightfully deserve. Take a stand. Contact us.
Why do you need a lawyer to handle your car accident
Often, you only have one opportunity to get all the money you need to cover a lifetime of accident-related expenses. Insurance companies know this. That’s why they often make settlement offers soon after an accident. They know that they can save a lot of money in the long run if they can convince accident victims like you to simply accept their lowball offer.
Don’t settle for less than what you rightfully deserve. Demand the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Contact our Car accident injury law firm and schedule your free case evaluation today. You may be eligible for far more than you initially suspected for your car accident.