Negligence laws vary from one state to the next. In Ohio, the insurance company of the at-fault driver must pay for accident-related costs. But that’s only if its client was completely or mostly responsible for the crash. In Ohio, if you are hurt in an accident but were partly to blame, the only way to recover damages is if your degree of fault is less than 51 percent. Once someone is more than half responsible for a crash, the individual cannot be compensated.
Keep in mind that even if damages are recoverable, any degree of fault assigned will reduce the amount available. So unless you were zero percent at fault, you may not be fully compensated. If you have certain types of no-fault insurance on your own policy, though, like collision or MedPay, you may recover from these policies regardless of fault.
The insurance company is looking out for its own best interests. Therefore, it can be expected that when you are offered a payment, it will be a number that saves the company some money. This is especially true when it was an accident where someone was seriously injured.
The insurer will use whatever tactics it can to settle the claim as quickly as possible. This is to avoid paying any future costs, such as medical bills. Oftentimes claimants become so exasperated by the process, they are willing to take whatever is offered just to get it over with. But that could mean receiving much less than is deserved.
It might make sense to wait before filing, especially if there is uncertainty about one’s injuries. But there isn’t an unlimited time period to file a personal injury claim. There is a two-year deadline in Ohio. But another reason to act quickly is so that evidence can be preserved.
The insurance company may try to convince you that refusing to sign something or agreeing to its requests will prevent you from being compensated. But there is no obligation to do this without first speaking with an attorney. Don’t agree to a recorded statement or sign anything without first contacting an attorney. Always be prepared to talk to the insurance company so you know how to protect your case.
A lot of accidents are minor and don’t necessitate legal representation. But if the accident was serious, caused significant injuries and damages, and/or there is a dispute concerning fault, a lawyer may be necessary. As mentioned, you are going to experience a push back from the insurance company and the other driver.
Talk to an attorney at Ryan, LLP in Cleveland to learn more about your case and for help dealing with insurers or filing a personal injury lawsuit if necessary. Call 877-864-9495.
About the author of this article: Thomas Ryan