Every day, millions of motorists travel on American roadways for work, necessary errands, or pleasure. Inevitably, thousands of car accidents happen every day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, almost 6.3 million motor vehicle crashes occurred in the U.S. Of those crashes, about 1.7 million resulted in injuries to one or more occupants in the vehicles involved in the crashes. As a result, the likelihood of you or a loved one suffering injuries in a car accident at some point in your life is high.
When you suffer substantial injuries in a car accident, you may be concerned about many issues, including whether you will fully recover from your injuries and be able to return to work and other regular activities. You also may be increasingly worried about the massive medical bills related to your injuries. If another party is responsible for causing your injuries, you may have a claim for compensation, and a Columbus car accident lawyer can help. Contact (800) 598-7557 today to reach the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC where you can learn more information about your rights to compensation in the aftermath of a car accident.
Negligence in Car Accident Claims
Most car accident claims arise from the negligence of one or more parties. Negligence is conduct that shows a careless disregard for the safety of others. As a result, when drivers commit traffic violations or otherwise break the law, they often are negligent. Although a traffic violation is not an automatic sign of negligence, it is evidence in support of a negligence claim.
For instance, when a driver is speeding, fails to stop at a stop sign, and strikes another vehicle, the driver has committed traffic violations but also is likely negligent in causing the crash. Similarly, if a driver crosses the center line on a two-lane highway and hits an oncoming vehicle head-on, that driver may be facing not only a traffic ticket, but also liability or financial responsibility for the accident that they caused.
All drivers have a legal duty to drive safely for the benefit of themselves and others, which includes following traffic laws. If drivers breach that duty by breaking traffic laws and cause an accident that directly injures others, including both bodily injury and property damages, they may be liable. In this situation, the injured parties can hold them responsible for the costs of their injuries.
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Determining Fault in Car Accident Claims
To base a car accident claim on negligence, injury victims must prove that the drivers responsible for the wreck were negligent in causing the crash. In other words, they must prove that the drivers were at fault for the wreck. While this is an easy determination in some cases, an extensive investigation may be necessary in other cases to determine fault for the accident.
As a Columbus car accident lawyer can explain, car accident claims can be even more challenging when multiple drivers and vehicles get into a wreck. Drivers may take conflicting positions about who is truly at fault for the accident. In some cases, more than one driver may be at fault, including a driver who also suffered injuries in the accident. In some cases, an injured driver who also is partially at fault for the accident still may be able to recover compensation from other negligent or partially at-fault parties.
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) § 2315.33 governs situations in which injured parties may be partially at fault for causing an accident. This code section states that when there is comparative negligence, each at-fault party shares the damages that resulted from their accident. As long as your percentage of fault for the accident is less than the percentage of fault of the other parties combined, then you can still pursue those parties for compensation. If you were more than 50% at fault for the accident, however, then you cannot recover any compensation for your losses.
For example, if the insurance company determines that you are 25% at fault for an accident, and the other driver is 75% at fault, then you can still seek compensation from the other driver. However, the total amount of compensation that you can get decreases by 25%, to account for your portion of fault for the accident. As a result, if you have $10,000 worth of compensation, you only can recover a maximum of $7,500 in compensation.
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Understanding the Statute of Limitations
ORC § 2305.10 defines the statute of limitations or legal time limit that applies to all personal injury claims, including those that arise from car accidents. Under this code section, injury victims have two years from the date of their car accident to file any claims that they have against potentially responsible parties. Failure to file the claim within this timeframe likely will result in dismissal of the claim, as well as a loss of opportunity to pursue any compensation or relief for injuries.
Although Ohio law provides for some exceptions to this general rule, injury victims should be aware of the general statute of limitations that is likely to apply to their claims. While two years can seem like a very long time, investigations, healing from injuries, and insurance claims are often lengthy processes. Awareness of this critical deadline can prevent a loss of the chance to obtain compensation for your injuries. A lawyer can help ensure you do not miss this deadline. Call today for your free case review.
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Learn More About How We Can Help
When you suffer injuries in a car accident, you may be unsure where to turn first. You likely are overwhelmed by medical bills, insurance claims, physical pain, and ongoing treatment for your injuries. A Columbus car accident lawyer can evaluate your circumstances, present your options, and help you build a strong claim for compensation against all potentially liable parties.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we know that the financial aftermath of a car accident can be devastating for you and your family. Since we take our cases on a contingent basis, you do not have to pay us anything out of pocket. We will not collect our fees until you get paid. Call (800) 598-7557 to learn more about how we can help.
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