Braden A. Blumenstiel
Your Rights as an Ohio Auto Accident Victim
If you are involved in a car accident in Ohio, it is important to be aware of your rights as a victim. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, damages to your vehicle, and other losses. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and options following an auto accident.
Unfortunately, Ohio is notoriously unkind to auto-accident victims. Years of tort "reform" have greatly limited the amount of compensation a person can recover from an accident. The victim (or plaintiff) also has the responsibility to prove that the other person was at-fault, and that the accident caused their damages. This is why it's important to have an experienced Ohio Auto Accident Lawyer on your side. They will know how to investigate the accident and gather evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
If you were recently involved in a car accident, in which you were not cited by the police, you have legal rights that you should be aware of.
The Right to Seek Compensation
Your most important right as an auto accident victim in Ohio is the right to seek compensation. You may be able to recover damages for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses. Under certain circumstances, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. However, with this right comes many responsibilities.
Document the Scene
In order to receive maximum compensation, you need to first prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. This can be done by documenting the scene of the accident. Take lots of pictures of all vehicles involved, the road conditions, the surrounding area, all evidence demonstrating the other person caused the accident, and any possible injuries you may have sustained. It is also helpful to get contact information and personal statements from any witnesses that may have been on the scene when the accident occurred.
File a Police Report
Unless the accident is very minor and no one sustained any injuries, you should call the police so they can investigate the accident and create a police report. The report can help document important evidence. It will usually contain valuable information such as:
- A diagram of the accident
- Witness accounts
- Insurance Information
Visit a Doctor
Auto accidents are serious matters. If you have been in an accident, it is smart to visit a doctor to get checked out. This is particularly true since many injuries may not be immediately noticeable.
Seeing a doctor following an accident will help ensure your accident-related injuries are tended to appropriately. This will help ensure you heal as quickly and completely as possible. Seeing a doctor for your accident-related injuries will also help document the injuries you sustained, what medical treatment you required for those injuries, the pain you experienced as a result of the accident, and how your injuries have impacted your ability to engage in wide variety of activities. Not seeing a doctor after a crash or seeing them at a much later date may make it more difficult to pursue an insurance claim. Important evidence might be lost while you waited to see a doctor. Without that important evidence, the insurance company may not believe you and claim you’re exaggerating how bad your injuries actually were.
Before resorting to litigation, many people try to settle auto accident claims with the other party’s insurance company. However, the insurance companies are known to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying fair compensation to the victim. There are some things you can do to protect your best interests.
The insurance company may ask you for a personal statement. You do not have to give this to them. It's actually better if you don’t…at least not until you have an attorney protecting your interests. You are also not required to give the insurance company medical or employment records that are not related to the accident, prior to litigation.
If you are not able to settle with the insurance company, it's time to consider litigation with the help of a qualified auto accident attorney. Victims who utilize an attorney often receive much more compensation than victims who do not. Regardless of what you decide to do, it is imperative that you know your rights as an auto accident victim.
Call us at (614) 389-9711 and tell us about your car accident. Our auto accident attorneys are well versed in this practice and will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Fully understand your rights. Read our complete personal injury guide, I Was In An Accident, What Do I Do Now?