After a car accident in Columbus, Ohio, it is not uncommon for both drivers to try to establish car accident fault as soon as possible. Liability for a car accident could mean you or your insurance company will have to foot the bill for any damages. As such, you should always make sure you call the police for any car accidents that lead to damages exceeding $400. They will start an investigation to try to determine fault. Until their report is completed, you will also want to call an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer to protect your best interests.
Ohio Police Reports for Car Accidents
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the police officers in Lucas County already investigated 151 crashes as of January 29, 2018, 16 more compared to the 135 crashes investigated in January 2017, and they expect the rising trend to continue.
In Columbus, the accident reports the police prepare are usually the ones that determine car accident liability. However, as many Columbus drivers already know, the information in the police accident report may still leave room for interpretation and an experienced car accident attorney will almost always find ways to use them in defending their client’s interests.
The best way to understand why car accident fault matters so much and how the authorities establish car accident liability in Columbus, is to take a closer look at Ohio car accident laws, their take on liability, and how they impact a driver involved in a car accident here.
The Laws Governing Car Accidents in Columbus, OH
1. Car Insurance Law and Compensation
Ohio is an “at-fault” state, meaning that, in case of a car accident, the person responsible for it or their insurer will have to cover all damages and losses. In order to recover their losses and damages, car crash victims have the following options:
- Filing a claim with their own insurer
- Filing a claim with the insurer of the party at fault
- Suing the party at fault
No matter which option they choose, the victims should receive monetary compensation. In most cases, the compensation does not exceed the insurance coverage of the party at fault. Ohio Revised Code Title XLV, Chapter 4509, section 51 establishes the minimum liability insurance coverage at:
- $25,000 for personal injury or death per person and event
- $50,000 for the personal injury or death of two or more people per event
- $25,000 for property damage per event
The compensation a claimant can receive depends on the circumstances in which the accident took place, on the evidence available to prove the other driver’s liability, and on the severity of the damages and injuries the accident caused. Here are the types of damages it may cover:
- Economic damages – This category includes any expenses, damages, or losses the victim incurred as a result of the accident and can prove with invoices and receipts. The most common economic damages included in car accident compensation claims are vehicle repair or replacement costs, medical bills, and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages – This category refers to losses that cannot be quantified or documented, like the pain one experienced as a result of the car accident injuries, the emotional trauma, and the frustration that comes from temporary and/or permanent disabilities.
- Punitive damages – The court usually awards them when the party at fault acted intentionally or extremely recklessly and their behavior resulted in serious injuries and damage. Their purpose is to punish the party at fault and deter them from behaving similarly again.
2. Car Accident Fault in Columbus: Comparative Negligence
When establishing car accident liability, Ohio laws rely on the premise that both drivers may be at fault. In order to determine who should pay compensation, the claim adjusters and the court apply the modified comparative negligence rule.
Taking into account the police accident report and the evidence each party submits, they attribute a car accident fault percentage to each party, their combined faults totaling 100%. For example, in a car accident that caused total damages of $100,000, the court may decide that one party was 75% at fault for the accident, while the other party was only 25% at fault.
Each party will be responsible for covering the damages corresponding to their fault share, so one party will cover $75,000, while the other party will cover $25,000. How much money each party receives or has to pay depends on who incurred the most damages, but it becomes obvious that the main goal of each party will be to avoid car accident liability and cast the blame on the other party.
Hire a Columbus Car Accidents Attorney to Defend Your Interests and Get Fair Compensation
If you have been involved in a car accident, the sooner you contact an attorney, the higher your chances to prove the other party’s car accident liability are. Contact Chester Law Group now, and benefit from the advice of an experienced and dedicated car accident attorney who will do everything in their power to get you the car accident compensation you deserve. The first consultation is free and we accept contingency agreements. You only pay for our services if you win, when you receive your compensation!