One of the first thoughts people have after being in a car accident often is, “What am I going to do now?”
Beginning the process of repairing yourself, and your car, after an auto accident is a daunting thought. With medical expenses and repair bills piling up, you may even find yourself struggling to pay for everything. Fortunately, with the help of a Lancaster, Ohio car accident lawyer, you could seek financial compensation from the driver who caused the accident.
What is a Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident lawyer is an attorney who focuses on helping the innocent victims of car accidents. As your advocate, it is their job to help you seek compensation for the injuries, expenses, and repairs you may incur after a car crash. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident caused by someone else, working with a Lancaster car accident attorney can help you make sure you have the best chance of getting the settlement you deserve.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Your first priority is trying to stay calm. You were just injured and/or had your car destroyed, so chances are you’re going to be upset or angry. This can make you say things you shouldn’t, like accusing the other driver or blaming them for the accident. Even if you are sure the other party is at-fault, you should never make comments or statements about it until you have the chance to speak to a Lancaster, OH car accident lawyer. The only other party you should speak to is the police when they ask you what happened.
Until then, and immediately after the accident, there are some more productive things you can do, such as:
- Requesting emergency assistance by calling 9-1-1
- Assessing injuries
- Moving the damaged vehicles and pieces of debris out of the roadway
- Taking photos of the vehicles, injuries, and accident scene
- Exchanging names, and contact and insurance information with the other party (or parties)
- Writing down the details of the accident like where you were, who you were with, what the weather was like, etc.
- Letting your insurance company know you were involved in an accident
- Calling a Lancaster, OH car accident attorney
After you’ve taken these steps and talked to the police, you will likely be free to go. If your car is driveable, head home and get some rest. If not, call a tow truck or contact your insurance company so someone can come get the vehicle.
Ohio Car Accident Stats
Ohio may be a small state, but its roads see thousands of car accidents every year. Not only do these result in hundreds of injuries and deaths but they also cost millions of dollars. Check out these facts about Ohio car accidents in 2016:
- There were 305,964 accidents on Ohio roads in 2016
- These caused 112,331 injuries and resulted in 1,133 deaths
- On average, that’s 306.9 injuries and 3.1 fatalities every day
- Of these injuries, 8,866 were in children 14 years old and younger
- 11,958 of the accidents that year involved drunk driving
- A total of 66.4 percent of the accidents in 2016 happened during the day
- Over 18 percent of these accidents happened because the driver couldn’t control their vehicle
Car Accident Facts for Lancaster, Ohio
With a population of 35,335, Lancaster is a medium sized Ohio city. While it doesn’t see as many car accidents as a large city like Columbus would, Lancaster does have its fair share of car accidents each year. In 2016, these added up to:
- 1,159 accidents
- 337 injuries
- 3 fatalities
- 2,301 damaged vehicles
- 66 alcohol related incidents
Ohio Car Insurance Requirements
All Ohio drivers must carry a certain amount of auto insurance to be able to operate a passenger vehicle. Ohio requires its drivers to carry insurance in the minimum amounts of:
- $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 My Damages After a Lancaster, OH Car Accident?
The person who caused the accident and their insurance company are responsible for your expenses after a car accident. Since Ohio is an at-fault state, once fault is assigned, you can begin to seek compensation from that person or party.
If you have expenses that total more than the limits of the at-fault party’s insurance plan, and you have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) you can also be compensated that way. Without UIM, the only other option is to seek compensation directly from the at-fault person or party; a task which is very tricky without the help of an experience car accident attorneys.Get Help NowNo Obligation - 100% Private
An Explanation of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Ohio
There are plenty of people in our great state who do not follow the rules and drive with little or no car insurance. These people can be punished by:
- Receiving 90 days (for a first offense) to 1 year (for a repeat offence) of driver’s license suspension
- Being charged $75 ( for a first offence) to $500 (for a repeat offence) in reinstatement fees
- Having their plates and/or vehicle seized
- Being required to obtain and prove they have car insurance
Unfortunately, underinsured or uninsured drivers being punished doesn’t put money in your pocket. For that, you need to consider buying underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) and uninsured motorist coverage (UM).
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage ensures you’re compensated if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who isn’t carrying car insurance at all.
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) ensures you can be reimbursed for your total expenses if the at-fault party’s policy limits aren’t enough to cover them. Here’s an example:
To make the math easy, let’s say your damages after a car accident add up to $100,000. The other driver has insurance, but only enough to cover $50,000 of your expenses. If you have UIM coverage, you will receive part of your compensation up to the policy limits of the at-fault driver and the rest, in this case $50,000, from your UIM provider.
How to Use Underinsured Motorist Coverage
To employ your UIM coverage properly, you need to understand two things:
- Your UIM coverage doesn’t kick in until the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits have been reached.
- If you do not notify your UIM coverage provider of your intent to settle with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you risk losing your coverage.
A seasoned car accident attorney can help you make sure you handle the process correctly and reduced your risk of losing coverage so that your UIM provider can either:
- Allow you to settle by waiving subrogation; OR
- Decline to subrogate in favor of writing you a check for the amount of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage
Why Should I Purchase Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Because it’s your only guarantee of getting the compensation you’re entitled to after an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. It may make your car insurance more expensive in the short term, but it can be handy in the long term if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
What Can I Be Paid for After a Car Accident?
In Ohio, you can be compensated after a car accident for emotional trauma, personal injuries, and property damage, which can include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical injuries
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning ability
- Medical expenses and equipment
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
Should I Hire a Lancaster, Ohio Car Accident Lawyer or Not?
Yes. Hiring a car accident attorney is the best way to make sure your case is filed within Ohio’s two-year statute of limitations.
You can try to settle without a lawyer, as some people do, but you will have to spend countless hours working on your case and, if you don’t file it in time, it will be thrown out by the court.
But, if you hire a Lancaster, OH car accident attorney, you can rest easy knowing they will handle all the details themselves, like:
- Gathering police reports
- Collecting witnesses
- Obtaining expert witness to testify in court
- Collecting medical records
- Obtaining CCTV footage and phone call records
- Talking to insurance adjustors
- Checking for automobile defects or recalls that could have contributed to your accident
Trusted Lancaster, Ohio Car Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at Colombo Law are dedicated to helping the members of our community who have suffered a car accident at the hands of a negligent driver. We’ve helped folks throughout the Greater Lancaster, Ohio area, including places like:
- Cedarlan Park
- Fairgrounds Park
- Heather Lake
- Independence Commons
- Olivedale Park
- Wacker Woods
- Interstate 70
- Interstate 270
- Ohio Route 161
- Ohio Route 16
- Ohio Route 37
- U.S. Route 40
- U.S. Route 33
- U.S. Route 22
- U.S. Route 23
Choosing to work with a Lancaster car accident lawyer means you have a much better chance of maximizing your settlement than you would if you attempted to handle your own case. Lawyers can also handle the process faster, so you can get back on the road that much sooner.
If you aren’t sure if you need a lawyer, take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultations to find out if you have a case. If you do decide to work with one of our attorneys, you won’t pay for our services until we reach a successful settlement on your behalf. Contact us or give us a call at 614-362-7000 to speak to a Lancaster, Ohio car accident lawyer near you.