How Long Can You Sue after a Car Accident in Ohio?
In the Buckeye State, the first American gasoline-powered automobile was created in 1891, marking the beginning of a long and complex relationship between Ohioans and their vehicles.
Today, Ohio ranks as one of the most dangerous states for driving, with car accidents causing countless personal injuries each year.
Many Ohioans navigate the intricate legal process to protect themselves and seek compensation, including filing claims with insurance companies and adhering to the Ohio statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits.
Engaging an experienced personal injury lawyer is crucial to understanding Ohio law and successfully pursuing a personal injury claim.
Understanding Ohio's Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim
The car accident statute of limitations is a crucial aspect of Ohio law that places a time limit on pursuing legal action in both civil and criminal cases.
Moreover, in the context of car accidents, it determines the window during which car accident victims can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Understanding this time-sensitive aspect of the law is essential for anyone involved in a car accident, as missing the deadline can result in a permanent loss of the right to seek compensation for injuries and damages.
In Ohio, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims related to car accidents is two years from the date of the accident, as specified in Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10.
However, there are some exceptions, such as when a minor is involved in a car accident. In such cases, the victim has two years after turning 18 to file a claim.
It is important to note that filing an insurance claim does not pause or extend the Ohio personal injury statute of limitations; filing a lawsuit and making an insurance claim are separate processes.
An experienced personal injury attorney can guide auto accident victims through the process of filing a claim, negotiating with insurance companies, and potentially pursuing a lawsuit.
While lawsuits can be time-consuming and costly, having legal representation increases the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Essential Actions to Take Following a Car Accident in Ohio
Experiencing a car accident in Ohio can be distressing, and knowing the right steps to take afterward is crucial.
Some of these actions are required by law, while others serve to protect your best interests and help you navigate the process efficiently.
Stop and exchange information: Ohio law mandates that drivers involved in a car accident must stop at or near the scene, exchange contact and insurance details, and provide reasonable assistance to any injured individuals.
Contact the police: Even for minor incidents, contacting the police is beneficial as they can defuse tense situations, ensure safety, write a police report, and verify the other driver's information.
Gather witness details: Acquiring names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses at the scene can be crucial for supporting a personal injury lawsuit later.
Document the scene: Since memories can be unreliable, it is important to write down the events and take photos of the accident site, damaged vehicles, and any injuries sustained.
Notify the insurer: Inform the insurance company about the accident promptly to comply with policy requirements and initiate the claim process.
Consult an attorney: Before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company, it is wise to consult a legal expert to ensure fair compensation for past, present, and future expenses.
Maintain thorough records: Keeping a comprehensive record of driver and witness information, photographs, medical expenses, and the impact of injuries on daily life can significantly aid a car accident or personal injury claim in Ohio.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
All drivers have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care while driving and to comply with traffic regulations. When a driver fails to uphold this duty and causes an accident, they may be held accountable for negligence in a car accident lawsuit.
The following elements must be demonstrated to establish negligence in an Ohio car crash:
The at-fault driver, who is responsible, owed a duty of care to others on the road, which requires driving with a reasonable degree of caution.
If this duty is breached by not exercising reasonable care, such as texting while driving or disregarding traffic laws, the at-fault party can be held responsible.
Damages must be directly linked to the other driver's breach, signifying that without their actions, the accident would not have occurred, and no harm would have been suffered.
Typical actions leading to negligence-based car accident lawsuits include:
Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Violating traffic laws (e.g., running red lights or speeding).
It is worth noting that vehicles transporting people or goods for compensation, such as taxis, buses, and commercial trucks, are classified as "common carriers" in Ohio.
These carriers have a duty to exercise the highest degree of care, making it generally easier to establish a negligence claim against them compared to private vehicles.
The Importance of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Following a car accident, having a lawyer advocating for one's best interests can prove invaluable. A skilled attorney can navigate the complexities of the claims process while the individual focuses on their well-being and recovery.
The attorney can initiate negotiations with the other driver's insurance company, potentially saving time and expenses by avoiding litigation and expediting the compensation process. An attorney can also answer questions like, "Can I be sued for car accident Ohio?"
Insurance companies are known for their strategies to minimize payouts, often attempting to offer less than what is deserved or even denying claims initially.
A seasoned Cincinnati car accident attorney can counteract these tactics, ensuring that the individual's rights are upheld and that they receive fair compensation for damages sustained due to another driver's negligence.
Although not required by Ohio law, hiring a personal injury attorney can result in higher compensation for plaintiffs compared to those who choose to pursue their claims without legal representation. A personal injury attorney can answer questions like. "How long does it take to get a settlement from a car accident in Ohio?"
Therefore, it is essential to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer before signing any insurance settlement offer.
The Bottom Line
Dealing alone with a car accident in Ohio can be overwhelming, particularly when dealing with insurance coverage, medical bills, and the actions of the other driver.
Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation, and let us help you pursue the compensation you deserve.