Ohio is an at-fault state, which means you may recover partial damages from the other driver’s insurance following a car accident. Specifically, Ohio is a comparative negligence state, which means that more than one party is partially responsible for causing the accident. You may still recover financial damages, but they will be reduced by the percentage representing your liability share. If you were injured in a car accident and you were partly at fault, it is recommended that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer who will protect your rights.
What Do I Need to Know About Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence divides fault between the parties involved in a car accident. There are two types of comparative fault, including the following:
- Pure comparative negligence rules: In states that follow pure comparative negligence rules, you may recover compensation, provided you were not 100 percent at fault for causing the accident.
- Modified comparative negligence rules: If you are injured in a car accident in Ohio or another state that follows modified comparative negligence rules, you may recover damages, but only if you were less than 50 percent at fault for causing the accident.
How Is Negligence Determined?
If you and another driver were both partially responsible for a car accident you were involved in, the insurance company, a judge, or a jury would need to determine your level of responsibility and the other driver’s. To do this, they will consider a range of evidence, including the police report, photos from the accident scene, witness statements, the weather conditions, and any skid marks or debris on the road.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
There are steps you can take to protect your case, including the following:
- Never admit fault. The scene of a car accident can be stressful, mainly when the other driver blames you. However, you should never admit fault or apologize to the other driver after an accident. Whether you were partially to blame or the other motorist was entirely at fault if you apologize or say anything that can be interpreted as admitting guilt, your own words can be used against you by the other driver and their insurance company. This could have a negative impact on your claim and result in you recovering significantly fewer damages or none at all.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Never leave the accident scene until the police officer has filled out a police report, obtained all the information they need from you and the other driver, and told you that you are free to go. If you leave the scene before the officer tells you that you can go, this may hurt your case.
- Collect evidence. Ensure you take photos of the accident scene, including the damages to your vehicle, your injuries, any skid marks or debris in the road, and the other vehicle’s license plate. In addition, exchange information with the other driver, including driver’s license number, contact information, and insurance information.
- Get immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries seem relatively minor, it is imperative that you are examined by a qualified healthcare professional who can assess your injuries, determine the severity, and recommend the best course of treatment. If you fail to seek treatment, the other motorist and their insurance company can use this against you, arguing that your injuries must not be severe if you did not think it was necessary to be checked out.
- Notify your insurance company. You must contact your insurance company and let them know you were involved in a car accident. Remember to share only the pertinent facts. If you say anything that suggests you were more liable for the accident than you were, they will use that information to decrease the compensation they will pay.
- Discuss your case with an experienced car accident lawyer. Do not discuss your case with anyone, with the exception of the police officer at the scene of the accident. Your lawyer will review the details of your case, help determine whether you were partly responsible for causing the accident, and recommend the best legal course of action.
Loveland Car Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Can Help Determine Liability
If you were injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our Loveland car accident lawyers at Wolterman Law Office. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 513-488-1135 or contact us online. Our office is in Loveland, Ohio, where we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.