Being in a car accident is never a good experience. Not only could you sustain life-threatening personal injuries and property damage, you could lose a loved one. No matter whether your car accident occurred on a road trip or while you were running errands around town, you could find yourself saddled with hundreds or thousands of dollars in bills and expenses.

Fortunately, the car accident attorneys at Colombo Law are here to lend a helping hand. We have worked with many families in the Newark, Ohio area and would be happy to help you fight for the compensation you deserve after a car accident.

What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

Attorneys that specialize in car accidents exist to see to it that you’re treated fairly by insurance companies and the legal system after you’ve been involved in a car crash. Experienced car accident lawyers, like those at Colombo Law, have helped thousands of victims seek compensation for their injuries and property damages.

What You Should Do After a Car Crash

The most important thing to remember is: don’t panic. Take some deep breaths to center yourself and remember that how you handle yourself in these moments can affect your case. Jot down the following steps to take after a car accident and keep them in your car in case you need them:

  • Call 9-1-1 right away
  • Check yourself for serious injuries first, and then check on anyone else involved
  • If you can, move vehicles and debris off the road
  • Exchange contact and insurance info with everyone else involved
  • Write down the street and city name of where the accident happened
  • Take photos of all injuries and damaged vehicles
  • Let your insurance agent know you were in a crash
  • Contact the Newark, OH car accident lawyers at Colombo Law

Keep in mind that your emotions will be strong after a car accident. You may say something out of fear or anger that you regret or that could compromise your case. It’s best to remain calm and say as little as possible until you can speak to a car accident attorney.

Recent Ohio Car Accident Statistics

The most recent facts about Ohio car accidents from from 2016, when:

  • 305,964 accidents resulted in 112,331 injuries and 1,133 deaths
  • Children under 14 accounted for 8,866 of the total injuries
  • 11,958 accidents were alcohol-related
  • Ohio roads averaged 306.9 injuries and 3.1 fatalities per day
  • 66.4 percent of accidents happened during daylight hours
  • And an 18.3 percent majority of accidents were due to the driver failing to control their car

Newark, Ohio Car Accident Statistics

Ohio cities like Newark see their fair share of accidents every year. Here are statistics on Newark, Ohio car accidents from 2016:

  • That year, there were 989 total car accidents
  • 213 resulted in injuries, 2 resulted in fatalities, and 774 resulted in property damage only
  • A total of 279 car accident-related injuries were reported in 2016
  • These accidents damaged 1,889 vehicles, the vast majority of which were passenger vehicles
  • 31 of the accidents in 2016 involved drivers who were using alcohol
  • There were 11 alcohol-related injuries and 1 alcohol-related death

Ohio Car Insurance Requirements

All Ohio drivers must carry minimum liability insurance coverages of:

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

Who Pays for Damages After a Newark, Ohio Car Accident?

Since Ohio is an at-fault insurance state, the person or party who caused the accident is financially accountable for the expenses arising from that accident. In other words, if you were hit by a another driver and it’s determined the accident was their fault, their insurance company owes you for your damages.

If your total expenses exceed the insurance policy limits, you can seek additional compensation from your underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) policy (if you have one). You can also seek compensation from the at-fault party, but without the help of a Newark car accident lawyer, you probably won’t get the compensation you deserve.

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Ohio Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Despite it being illegal, there are many Ohioans who choose to drive with little to no car insurance. If you’re in an accident with one of these people, having uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UM) could help protect your financial best interests.

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage sees to it that you are compensated if you are hurt or your vehicle is damaged by a driver who isn’t carrying car insurance.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) can help you if the person who hit you has insurance, but not enough to cover all of your expenses. Here’s an example of how UIM works:

Imagine you are in an Ohio car accident where you are hit by a driver whose liability insurance covers has a limit of $50,000. Unfortunately, it was a bad accident, and your total damages add up to $100,000. In this scenario, you would receive up to the limit from the at-fault party’s insurance provider ($50,000) before you can be compensated for the rest of your damages ($50,000) by your UIM policy.

The Risks of Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Understanding the unique nuances of UIM can be difficult. There are two things to know about UIM before you settle, in order to prevent the risk of losing your coverage entirely.

The first thing is, you cannot use UIM coverage unless the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits have been maxed out.

The second thing is, you must notify your UIM coverage provider before attempting to settle with the at-fault party. Failing to do this could result in the loss of your UIM coverage. To protect yourself from this risk, it’s best to consult with a Newark car accident lawyer before moving toward settling.

After you notify your insurance provider that you wish to settle, the ball is in their court. They will then either:

  1. Allow you to settle by waiving subrogation; OR
  2. Decline to subrogate in favor of writing a check themselves for the amount of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage

This process is a delicate one and it’s highly recommended that you at least chat with a car accident attorney before making a decision either way.

Is Buying Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage a Good Idea?

Yes. It may cost a little more up front, but it will be invaluable if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. UM and UIM will handle your finances, while the State of Ohio handles the drivers by punishing them with:

  • 90 days (first offense) to 1 year (repeat offence) of driver’s license suspension
  • Vehicle impoundment and license plate seizure
  • $75 (first offence) to $500 (repeat offence) of reinstatement fees
  • Requiring them to obtain and show proof of auto insurance before driving again

Even though the underinsured or uninsured driver who hit you will be punished, the state cannot force them to pay you for your damages if they don’t have the money to do so. That’s why purchasing UM and UIM coverage and having a trusted car accident attorney by your side is the best way you can protect yourself.

What Damages Can I Be Compensated for After a Car Accident?

In Ohio, you can seek compensation for physical and emotional injuries, as well as for your property damage. As car accident attorneys, we’ve helped clients get compensation for things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earning ability
  • Medical expenses and equipment
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death

Should I Hire a Newark, Ohio Car Accident Lawyer or Not?

Whether or not you decide to hire a Newark car accident attorney, you should at least consult with one to find out if you have a case. If you do, you only have two years to file your case before the statute of limitations runs out.

Reaching a successful settlement or verdict without the help of a car accident lawyer is possible but unlikely. Legal battles are difficult things that can stretch on for months or even years. Car accident lawyers know the ins and outs of this process and can handle it much faster than you could on your own.

A car accident attorney will do things that might be much harder for you to do on your own, like:

  • Gathering police reports
  • Collecting medical records
  • Obtaining CCTV footage and phone call records
  • Talking to insurance adjustors
  • Collecting witnesses
  • Obtaining expert witness to testify in court
  • Checking for automobile defects or recalls that could have contributed to your accident

Not only does letting a lawyer handle your case speed the process up, but it allows you to focus on taking care of yourself and getting better, which is the most important thing you can do after a car accident.

Newark, Ohio Car Accident Lawyers

If you were injured or your property was damaged in a car accident in Newark, OH, you may be looking for an experienced car accident lawyer near you. The attorneys at Colombo law are locally based and have worked with clients all over the Greater Newark, Ohio area, including:

  • Perryton
  • Fallsburg
  • Hanover
  • Gratiot
  • Frazeysburg
  • Granville
  • Heath
  • Utica
  • Warsaw
  • Zanesville
  • 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

When it comes down to it, handling every last detail of a car accident case is time-consuming and stressful. Why risk your chances of the settlement you deserve by taking this burden on yourself?

At Colombo Law, we offer free consultations with absolutely no pressure or obligation to use our services. If you do decide to work with us, we won’t charge for our help unless with reach a successful settlement or verdict on your case. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, don’t hesitate to call us at 614-362-7000 to learn more about how we can help you.