The first American gasoline-powered automobile was made in Ohio by John Lambert in 1891. Unfortunately, the vehicle burst into flames before it was road tested...
Thirteen years later, Harry Myers of Dayton, Ohio received the first speeding ticket for traveling at the breakneck speed of 12 miles per hour.
Needless to say, Ohioans have a long and complicated relationship with automobiles. This complicated relationship continues today. Ohio manufactures more automobiles than any other state (with the exception of Michigan), but it also sits well above the national average when it comes to total car accidents and fatalities.
If you're involved in a car accident in the Buckeye State, here are some things you should know.
Every year, approximately 1.3 million people die in car accidents worldwide. In the United States, Ohio is considered one of the most dangerous states to drive. This is particularly true in the winter, when Ohio routinely ranks in the top 5 states for car accident fatalities.
|Ohio car crash statistics (2014-2018)|
|Crashes investigated||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018||5-year total|
Source: Ohio State Highway Patrol
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, including how fast the cars were traveling and whether the occupants were wearing seatbelts, injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to death.
Common car accident injuries include:
Ohio awards both economic and noneconomic damages. "Economic damages" refer to monetary losses resulting from an accident. "Noneconomic damages" refer to losses that don't have a clear dollar value, but are worthy of compensation regardless.
Here's a breakdown of what's included in these 2 categories:
|Types of damages in Ohio|
|Economic damages||Noneconomic damages|
|Property damage||Pain and suffering|
|Medical expenses (including future expenses)||Emotional distress|
|Lost income||Loss of consortium|
|Other out of pocket costs||Other non-monetary losses|
Notably, noneconomic damages are capped in Ohio. Specifically, noneconomic damages for noncatastrophic injuries are capped at the greater of:
Again, these caps don't apply to catastrophic injuries, which include permanent deformities (such as an amputation) and injuries that prevent the injured person from caring for themselves (such as a traumatic brain injury).
All drivers have a legal duty to drive with "reasonable care" and to obey all traffic laws. If a driver violates that duty and causes an accident, the driver can be sued for negligence.
To prove negligence in Ohio, you must prove that:
Common examples of actions that lead to a car accident lawsuit based on negligence include:
The term "statute of limitations" refers to the maximum amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit from the date of the alleged offense.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for a claim based on injury to a person or injury to personal property is 2 years. That means the plaintiff must file a lawsuit within 2 years of the car accident or the plaintiff loses their right to file a lawsuit altogether.
In Ohio, it's illegal to drive a motor vehicle without the following minimum amounts of liability insurance:
If you're involved in a car accident with someone who doesn't have insurance, you can sue the at-fault driver directly. In addition, drivers in Ohio can purchase uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage with their car insurance policies:
Following a car accident in Ohio, there are some steps you're required by law to take, and other steps that are in your best interest to take.
Let's take a look.
In Ohio, the driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in any damage must:
The penalties for failing to stop and render aid can range from a fine to significant jail time.
You might not think your accident warrants a call to the police. However, calling the police—even for minor accidents—is generally a good idea.
The police can help by:
Witnesses are notoriously difficult to track down after an accident. As a result, you'll want to gather all the evidence you can at the time of the accident. This includes the following information from every witness:
Our memories aren't always reliable. If you weren't responsible for the accident, write down what happened as soon as possible. In addition, be sure to take photographs of the scene, as well as any damage to your vehicle or body.
If the car accident was your fault, you'll want to file a claim with your insurance provider. If the accident wasn't your fault, you can either file a claim with the at-fault party's insurance provider or with your own insurance provider. If you file a claim with your own insurance provider, they'll seek reimbursement from the at-fault party's insurance provider.
After you report the accident, there will be an investigation and your claim will either be rejected or the insurance provider will make an offer. Before accepting any offer, consider talking to an attorney to make sure you're getting a fair offer that fully compensates you for past, current and future expenses.
Remember, once you accept an offer (and sign a release), you can't sue for more money at a later date. This can be a huge problem if you later discover that your injuries are worse than you thought. An attorney can help make sure you get everything you deserve.
The best thing you can do for your claim is to keep good records. In addition to keeping copies of driver information, witness information, and any photographs you may have taken, this means keeping track of your medical expenses and the day-to-day impact of your injuries.
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more