Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Ohio
At Wolterman Law Office, we are honored to advocate for individuals who have been seriously injured in car accidents and families who have lost someone to another driver’s negligence. The days and weeks following a serious crash can be overwhelming, and you likely have many questions right now.
Below, we’ve provided answers to some of the more common questions we receive from personal injury clients. After reading this page, we invite you to contact us and ask your own questions during a free initial consultation.
What should I do immediately after a car accident?
Most of the steps we recommend are fairly intuitive, but some may not be. Here’s a brief list of how to respond to a crash:
- Assess all injuries, including your own, those of your passengers, those of the other driver and any pedestrians or others who may have been involved. If any injuries are critical, call 911 and give aid as soon as possible.
- Even if no injuries must be treated urgently, it is still a good idea to contact the police to come and create an accident report.
- While waiting for police, you can begin to exchange information with the other driver, including names, contact information and insurance details. Also take pictures of the accident scene with your cellphone camera, including license plates, vehicle damage, tire tread marks in the road and any other details that seem important.
- Give your statements to the police officer and ask for the officer’s name, badge number and contact information. You should also write down the report’s reference number so that you can ask for a copy later on.
- Contact a tow truck to haul away your vehicle if it cannot be safely driven.
- Go to the hospital to have a doctor examine you and your passengers for injuries. You may not feel hurt right away, but your pain could be masked by the adrenaline of the accident. Seeing a doctor is the prudent thing to do.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident. Try not to give too much additional information beyond reporting the crash, because you don’t want to make any statements you may have to change later.
Once things have settled down a bit and everyone is safe/stable, you can contact our firm to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.
Can I still file a lawsuit even if I was partially at fault for the crash?
Thankfully, the answer is yes! Prior to 1980, Ohio law prevented victims from seeking compensation if they bore any responsibility for the accident or their injuries, however small their portion of fault. These days, Ohio recognizes a principle known as modified comparative fault. You can hold the at-fault driver liable for your injuries and other losses as long as your own fault does not exceed 50 percent. The only caveat is that your total recoverable amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. If you were 15 percent at fault, for instance, you could still recover 85 percent of your total damages if you win or settle your case.
What kinds of losses can I seek compensation for?
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can sue the at-fault driver for numerous “damages” (or compensable losses), including:
- Medical bills (current and estimated future bills)
- Lost wages from time spent unable to work
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability and reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
If you lost someone you love and are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can pursue many of the damages above, plus additional damages like funeral/burial expenses, loss of companionship and loss of future income.
How long can I wait before taking legal action?
Ohio’s statute of limitation on car accident claims is two years from the date of the accident. That is a generous window of time, but you will want to act much more quickly than that for a number of reasons. First, you’ll want to preserve physical evidence, witness memories and other information that can easily be lost over time. Second, you likely have bills that need to be covered as soon as possible, including medical debt and vehicle replacement. As soon as you contact our attorneys, we will get to work investigating your accident and assessing all of your legal options.
Can I afford to hire an attorney?
Our firm offers free initial consultations and takes personal injury cases on contingency. That means you pay nothing up front and you pay no legal fees if we don’t help you recover money. When we do recover money on your behalf, our fees are paid as a portion of that settlement or jury award. In short, you pay us nothing unless you recover and talking to us about your legal options is free and comes with no obligations.
Have Additional Questions? Talk To A Car Accident Attorney For Free.
Based in Loveland, Wolterman Law Office serves clients throughout Southwest Ohio. To talk to us about your car accident and learn more about how we can help you, call us at 513-488-1135 or send us an email.