Any car accident is bound to produce stress and anxiety—especially if you have suffered an injury. If you have questions, the Cleveland car accident lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC are here to help. We take on tough cases and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay us until we recover an award on your behalf.
To schedule a free consultation, call our offices today at (800) 598-7557.
What to Do After an Accident
Following an accident in Ohio, you are required to remain at the scene until you have exchanged contact and vehicle registration information with the other motorist, any person injured in the accident, and any police officer who arrives to investigate, according to Ohio Revised Code § 4549.02.
The state does not require drivers to notify law enforcement after every accident, only in the event of a fatality or when the other party is unable to communicate with you. However, you always have the option to call the police—and a police report could aid a potential lawsuit or settlement. If you call the police to an accident with injuries, both parties must stay there until an officer arrives.
It is important to document as much of the scene as possible. Be polite and civil with the other person, but be careful not to say anything that could be construed as an admission of responsibility—even something casual like, “I’m sorry about that.” If you have a smartphone, take pictures and videos of the vehicles involved. If there are witnesses, ask them what they saw and take down their names and contact information.
After that, call your insurance company and let them know what happened. Again, do not admit fault.
If you have been injured, you may also wish to hire a Cleveland car accident lawyer to discuss your options.
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving Cleveland, call (800) 598-7557
In Ohio, the motorist who causes an accident is responsible for the other party’s vehicle damages, as well as their medical treatments, lost wages, and other expenses. All Ohio drivers are required to maintain “proof of financial responsibility,” as Ohio Revised Code § 4509.01 terms it. Ohio Revised Code § 4509.51 requires drivers to have minimum amounts of insurance coverage:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person.
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for one accident.
- $25,000 in property damage coverage for one accident.
Because Ohio is an “at-fault” state, assigning blame in an accident is a crucial aspect of negotiating a settlement or recovering an award on your behalf.
Most accident cases allege negligence, referring to another person’s failure to exercise reasonable care led to injuries and financial losses. In 1980, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance, Ohio became the 35th state to employ the “comparative negligence” standard in assessing these cases. Comparative negligence “allows a person to recover damages as reduced by the person’s own percentage of negligence,” the department explains.
To use a simple example, if you were in an accident that would lead to a $10,000 award, but you were 10% responsible for the accident, your award is reduced by 10%, to $9,000. (If you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover anything.)
The other motorist’s insurance company may seek to use comparative negligence to reduce your settlement amount. You do not have to accept their assessment. Should you take your case to court, a judge or jury will decide the degree to which you are at fault.
In some cases, you may wish to file a lawsuit because you do not believe the other person’s insurance company has offered sufficient compensation. Other times, the at-fault driver may not have sufficient coverage to pay for your expenses and other damages—although in these cases, it can sometimes be difficult to collect even after winning a judgment.
Ohio does not limit the amount of recovery awards for economic damages—in other words, property damage costs, past and future medical expenses, and past and future lost wages. However, Ohio Revised Code § 2315.18 does cap the amount of noneconomic damages—“intangible” losses such as pain and suffering and mental anguish—to three times the amount of economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater. This cap is waived in the event of permanent physical deformity or an injury that prevents you from caring for yourself.
There are no limits on damage awards in wrongful death claims, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2125.02.
Statute of Limitations
Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10(A) requires all personal injury and property damage lawsuits to be filed within two years of the accident. Wrongful death cases must also be initiated within two years, but the clock begins with the person’s death, not the date of the accident.
Cleveland Car Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
How We Can Help
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, in 2019, Cuyahoga county’s nearly 34,000 crashes resulted in 79 fatalities, 722 serious injuries, about 3,600 minor injuries, and 5,400 possible injuries.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we never forget that those numbers represent people—mothers who have to skip work because of an injury, fathers who will face years of chronic back pain, or even the tragic death of a loved one. We also know that, for those involved, the accident is often just the beginning of a long road that sometimes means battling insurance companies for the compensation to which they are entitled.
Our Cleveland car accident lawyers will not back down from that fight. If you would like to learn more about how we can pursue justice on your behalf, call the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 598-7557. Not only is your consultation free, but you will not pay us anything until we recover an award for you.
Call or text (800) 598-7557 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form