Most car accident victims are unfamiliar with the legal system and therefore, do not know what legal rights they have after a collision. Under Ohio law, accident victims have the right to file a claim with the at-fault to recover compensation for any accident-related costs. These costs include medical bills, any ongoing care you will need, lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering, among others.
While Ohio law affords you this right to compensation, in order to protect it, take the following steps:
Document the Scene
Having the right evidence to show the other driver caused the accident is the key to getting the compensation you deserve after an Ohio car accident. For that reason, it is important to properly document the scene if you do not require immediate medical care.
Take pictures of all involved vehicles, any obvious wounds, road conditions, any evidence of avoidance techniques (e.g., skid marks), and even where the cars came to a stop.
If necessary, make a sketch of the scene. Get contact information from every witness on the scene, and write down any corroborating information they can provide.
Get a Police Report
Some accident victims believe their injuries are only minor, so they skip filing a police report. However, this can be a major mistake if your injuries turn out to be more serious.
By filing a police report, you ensure proper documentation of the scene. In many cases, the police report also includes information about any citations issued or other clues about fault. Police reports are often a key piece of evidence supporting liability in a car accident case.
Seek Medical Treatment
Many car accident injuries are not immediately apparent. However, you may jeopardize your right to collect compensation if you do not get medical treatment as soon as possible.
Delaying treatment can seriously hurt your legal case, even if you later develop symptoms of a serious injury related to your accident.
If you do not get medical attention promptly following an accident, the insurance company is likely to argue that you are exaggerating your symptoms or suffered injuries in another way after the crash. This makes it more difficult to win compensation for your injuries.
Make Sure the Driver Has Insurance
Ohio requires that all drivers carry liability auto insurance or proof of financial responsibility. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow the law. If the driver is uninsured and you have uninsured motorist protection, you can use that policy to cover your injuries.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage — not required under Ohio law — then you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Beware of the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are businesses and, as such, will do what they can to lower your settlement or deny your claim entirely. Do not fall for any of their tricks. Do not give a recorded statement, do not sign anything without having a lawyer review it, and do not let the insurance company tell you that you do not need an attorney.
Talk to an Attorney about Your Case
Discuss your legal options for compensation as soon as possible with a qualified Ohio car accident attorney. This is especially true if your injuries may require ongoing medical care or keep you out of work for several months or longer. An attorney can manage all aspects of your case and protect your rights.
You have two years to file an injury claim after an Ohio auto accident. Two years might seem like a long time, but fully valuing your injuries, investigating your case, and negotiating with the insurer can easily take two years.
Contact Levy Law Offices Today
We have handled countless car accident cases and know what to do to protect your legal rights and get you the compensation you need after an accident. Call Levy Law Offices today at 513-651-CASH to learn more about our services, or to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation.