Anyone who has been injured in a car accident is familiar with the many doctor appointments, treatment therapies, and insurance letters that often follow. In addition to the emotional trauma of the accident and aches and pains of recovery, you have to deal with the overwhelming stress of balancing work, your medical treatment, the repairs to your vehicle, and the potential battle with the insurance company. Try to stay calm and focus on managing the situation by taking the following steps after a car accident:
- Seek medical care immediately. This is of the utmost importance even if you do not think you are injured. The adrenaline from the accident could be masking pain or other symptoms of injury. A quick check by a medical professional could reveal that you have accident injuries. The doctor will determine if you can return to work after the accident or if your injuries require time off for recovery. Another reason to see a doctor is because the visit results in a medical document pertaining to the accident. This is important if down the line you decide to bring a claim for compensation in court.
- Tell your employer you were in a car accident. Do not delay in informing your employer you were injured in an accident or they may not understand why you are absent. Every workplace has its own procedures for taking time off from work, and you should follow these steps carefully.
- Keep records. Start a file where you can keep all the documents pertaining to the accident. You will need places for insurance documents, medical bills, prescriptions, police reports, and receipts for anything you pay out-of-pocket. Staying organized can help reduce stress as you try to balance work and your recovery.
- Consult with an experienced attorney. If you have been seriously injured, recovery could take a long time and affect your ability to do your job. A lawyer can explain what your best legal options are and what you can expect. They can also handle all the interactions with the insurance company. If your case is successful, you could be awarded damages. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work, you may also be awarded damages to cover your loss of future income.
- Maintain good communications with your employer. Keep your employer updated about your progress or the need to schedule appointments for medical treatment during work hours. They may be willing to be flexible as long as you are upfront about why you are missing work.
Car Accident Laws in Ohio
While you try to manage your work life and recover from your injuries, you should be aware of the Ohio laws that govern car accident lawsuits should you want to try to bring a claim against the driver. An important consideration will be the statute of limitations or deadline for filing. In Ohio, this is two years from the date of injury. Anyone who suffered an injury in the accident can file a claim, including a driver, passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist. If your claim if for vehicle or property damage, the two-year statute of limitations is the same.
For anyone filing a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one, the statute of limitations is also two years, but starts from the date the person passed away or from the date it was discovered that the death was wrongful. Knowing the statute of limitations for your case is important because if you miss it your case will simply be dismissed by the court.
It is also important to know that Ohio follows the legal principle of comparative negligence. This means that more than one party can be at fault for an accident. Note that if you are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover any damages at all. With comparative negligence, each party is assigned a percentage of fault. Then, any damages awarded are reduced by the party’s percentage of responsibility for what happened. For example, suppose your car was hit by a driver who sped through an intersection while you were trying to make a turn. However, you forgot to use your turn signal. The court may find that the driver who hit you was 80 percent at fault while your share is 20 percent. If you are then offered a settlement or awarded damages, your percentage of fault will be deducted from the overall compensation award.
While it is important to understand these legal concepts, it can be extremely difficult to try to recover from your injuries and deal with your workplace situation. You should consider letting an experienced lawyer handle everything so that you do not have the stress of meeting deadlines on your own. Knowing a professional is taking care of your legal issues can give you the peace of mind you need to make a quicker recovery.
Loveland Car Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Advocate on Behalf of Those Who Have Accident Injuries
If you are struggling to manage the aftermath of a car accident, our Loveland car accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office can help you. Our experienced team will help you determine the best path forward and handle all the paperwork so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Call us at 513-488-1135 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.