If you’ve been in a car accident before, you know what a frightening experience it can be. In just a few seconds caused by someone else’s negligence, your entire life could be turned upside down. You could be injured, your car totaled, and facing hours of doctors visits and thousands of dollars in bills. Luckily, the Chillicothe, Ohio car accident lawyers at Colombo Law are here to help you handle this tragedy and get back on your feet.

What is a Car Accident Lawyer?

A car accident lawyer is an attorney who has focused experience with helping the victims of car crashes. They are well-versed in both personal injury and property damage as they relate to car accidents. When you hire a car accident attorney, their job is to help you handle the legal details of your accident and seek financial compensation from the appropriate parties.

Steps You Should Take After a Car Crash

You may be frightened in the first few moments after a car accident. Your mind will be racing, your heart will be pounding, and your body may even be in a state of shock. To help calm yourself, begin by taking a few deep breaths and focusing on a relaxing thought if you can.

Once you have calmed down a little bit, you can begin to take the steps necessary after a car accident, like:

  • Calling 9-1-1
  • Checking for injuries
  • Moving vehicles and debris out of the road
  • Exchanging insurance information with any drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists involved
  • Taking notes on how and where the car accident occurred
  • Snapping photos of damages, injuries, and the accident scene
  • Letting your insurance company know about the accident
  • Calling a Chillicothe, Ohio car accident lawyer

If you’ve been injured and/or your car has been damaged in an accident, you’re probably going to be pretty upset. This can make you say things you don’t mean, and some of these things could affect the outcome of your case. Remember, do not talk to the at-fault driver more than you have to. The only person you should speak to after giving the facts about the accident to the police and your insurance agent, is an experienced Chillicothe, OH car accident lawyer.

2016 Ohio Car Accident Stats

Thousands of car crashes occur each year in Ohio. They injure countless people and cost millions of dollars. Here is some information on Ohio car accidents that occurred in 2016:

  • In total, there were 305,964 accidents that year
  • These resulted in 112,331 injuries and 1,133 deaths
  • That’s an average of 306.9 injuries and 3.1 deaths every day
  • 8,866 of the injuries in 2016 were children under the age of 14
  • 11,958 of the accidents that year were alcohol-related
  • 4 percent of all accidents in 2016 occurred during the day
  • The majority of these accidents, 18.3 percent, were due to the driver’s inability to control their car

Chillicothe, Ohio Car Accident Facts

Recent data for car accidents in Chillicothe, OH comes from 2016 when there were:

  • 692 accidents
  • 171 injuries and 1 fatality
  • 1,393 damaged vehicles
  • 29 accidents caused by alcohol

How Car Insurance Works in Ohio

Every driver in Ohio has to carry liability insurance that will pay for damages and injuries that may occur during an accident. Minimum coverage requirements for drivers are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage for each person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage for each accident involving more than one injured person
  • $25,000 property damage coverage

Who Pays for Damages in an Ohio Car Accident?

Ohio uses an at-fault insurance system, so if someone else is found to be at-fault for your accident, they and their insurance company are responsible for reimbursing you for your expenses.

Unfortunately, your total expenses may be greater than the at-fault party’s policy limits. If this is the case and you have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), you should be fine, as this kind of policy exists to see that you get the compensation you deserve after an accident with an underinsured driver.

If you don’t have UIM coverage, you can hire a Chillicothe car accident attorney to help you explore other options when it comes to getting the compensation you deserve from the at-fault party.

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Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Ohio

Despite what the law says, there are some people in Ohio who drive with little to no insurance coverage. The best way to protect yourself if you’re involved in an accident with one of these people, is by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and/or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will pay for your damages in the event you are hurt or suffer property damage at the hands of an uninsured driver.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is different. This type of policy protects you in the event the other driver’s insurance policy limits are not high enough to fully compensate you for your damages. If you need to use your UIM, you will first be compensated up the policy limits of the at-fault driver and then will receive the remainder of your compensation from your UIM provider. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Let’s say you’re in a car accident in Chillicothe, OH and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance limit is $50,000. Unfortunately, the damages you suffered total $100,000. In this scenario, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay you up to their $50,000 limit and your UIM policy would reimburse you for the remaining $50,000.

Risks Associated with Underinsured Motorist Coverage

UIM isn’t always easy to navigate. There are two important things you need to understand to be able to use it properly. The first is that you cannot use this coverage until the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits are reached. The second is that, if you want to settle with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you must notify your UIM insurance provider before beginning the settlement.

Once you’ve met these requirements, your insurance company will do one of two things:

  1. Waive subrogation and allowing you to settle; OR
  2. Refuse subrogation so they can write you a check for the same amount as the at-fault party’s policy limit.

This process can be tricky to figure out on your own, and doing it wrong can result in your losing your UIM coverage. That’s why we’d recommend speaking to a Chillicothe, OH car accident attorney before you begin the process of using your UIM insurance.

Why Get Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, they’ll be punished for their actions by:

  • Facing 90 days (first offence) to 1 year (repeat offence) of driver’s license suspension
  • Having their vehicle impounded and license plates seized
  • Paying $75 (first offence) to $500 (repeat offence) in reinstatement fees
  • Having to acquire and show proof of adequate car insurance coverage

While this revenge may be sweet, it doesn’t do anything to compensate you for your damages. If you’re hit by a driver who is uninsured or merely underinsured, having UM or UIM coverage can give you peace of mind and may be your only way to receive compensation.

What Can I Get Compensation for If I’m Injured in a Car Accident?

There are lots of things you could receive financial compensation for after a car accident, from physical injuries to emotional ones. Here are some of the items we have helped our clients get compensation for:

  • Physical injuries
  • Medical bills/equipment
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Property damage
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship
  • Wrongful death

Should I Hire an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer or Not?

Even if you aren’t sure if you need a Chillicothe car accident lawyer, you should consult with one to at least find out if you have a case. The statute of limitations in Ohio is only two years, and you need to make sure your case is filed within this time frame.

Trying to accomplish this task without a lawyer is possible, but difficult. There are many aspects, both big and small, of a car accident case. For instance, in addition to a mountain of paperwork, you must:

  • Gather police reports
  • Collect medical records and bills
  • Obtain CCTV footage and phone call logs
  • Talk to insurance adjustors
  • Gather witnesses
  • Obtain expert witness
  • Check for automobile defects or recalls

While you could do these things on your own, a car accident lawyer will have more resources to accomplish these tasks quickly and efficiently. That’s why contacting a Chillicothe, OH car accident attorney may be the best option for you.

Ohio Car Accident Lawyers

If your accident was in Chillicothe, Ohio, don’t waste time looking for a car accident lawyer near you. The attorneys at Colombo Law have years of experience throughout the Chillicothe area, and  have helped victims in neighborhoods like:

  • Belleview Heights
  • Andersonville
  • Brewer Heights
  • Londonderry
  • Moorseville
  • Richmond Dale
  • Denver
  • Nipgen
  • Frankfort
  • Kingston
  • Clarksburg
  • Interstate 70
  • Interstate 270
  • Ohio Route 161
  • Ohio Route 16
  • Ohio Route 37
  • S. Route 40
  • S. Route 33
  • S. Route 22
  • S. Route 23

We are local, experienced car accident lawyers who are ready to help you fight for your right to compensation after your Chillicothe, OH car accident. We understand that this time can be financially challenging, so we work on a contingency fee basis and never charge you for our help unless we help you successfully settle your case.

If you’d like to find out if you have a case, please get in touch with one of our Chillicothe, Ohio car accident lawyers at 614-362-7000 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.