It is extremely important to have a thorough knowledge of the accident law in Ohio if you or someone you love suffers injury (or worse) in a crash. Most people lack the in-depth understanding of applicable law to recover the compensation they deserve. And yet, many individuals make the mistake of trying to handle the case on their own because they believe the insurance company will play fair.
The insurance company is concerned about its bottom line, not your rights. If you have been injured or a member of your family has tragically died, it is in your best interest to promptly speak to a car accident lawyer in Columbus, Ohio.
Attorneys at Colombo Law have extensive experience with the accident law in Ohio. We have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
Call 614-362-7000 today for a FREE case review. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.
Is Ohio a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
No, Ohio is an at-fault state, also referred to as a “tort” state. This means that the driver responsible for the accident is also responsible for the damages caused by the accident. These damages can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
That said, Ohio does use a comparative negligence system wherein a driver may not be 100% at fault and therefore not 100% responsible for damages. For example, if Driver A pulled out in front of Driver B and caused a collision, but Driver B was speeding, it may be decided that Driver A is only 75% responsible for the accident and damages. So if Driver B’s total damages from the accident were $100,000, the driver more at fault (Driver A) would only be required to pay $75,000.
Determining the percentage of fault is extremely important. A lawyer well-versed in the accident law in Ohio can fight to ensure that all defendants are held accountable and you receive the maximum compensation you are owed.
What Are Your Legal Obligations After a Car Accident in Ohio?
Under Ohio law, drivers have a series of responsibilities if they are involved in an accident. These include:
1. Stopping at the Scene
After a collision occurs, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident. You must remain at the scene until you have given your name, address, and vehicle registration number to anyone else involved in the accident, along with the responding police officer. If you do not own the vehicle, you must also give the name and address of the owner.
2. Reporting the Accident to Police
If the other driver involved in the accident is unable to respond or exchange information due to an injury, you must call the police and wait for them to arrive (unless the driver is taken from the scene by emergency personnel). You will need to provide your name, address, and vehicle registration number to the authorities when they arrive.
3. Collision with an Unoccupied Vehicle
A motorist who strikes an unoccupied or unattended vehicle must leave a note containing their name, address, and registration information in a place where the owner of the vehicle can easily see it.
Failure to follow these guidelines carries serious penalties. If an accident causes injury to one or more parties and a driver leaves the scene without calling the police or exchanging the required information, that driver may be charged with a felony and have their license suspended.
How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident in Ohio?
If you are in an accident where there is a death, injury, or more than $1,000 in property damage, you should call the police immediately. That said, if none of these apply, you are not required to report the accident (and, if you do, an officer is not required to show up to the scene of the accident).
Read More: How Long Do I Have to Report a Car Accident?
On the other hand, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you must report the accident to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) within six months of the accident. You can find the BMV’s crash report form here.
Finally, when it comes to how long you have to file a lawsuit for an accident, the answer is typically 2 years. This is known as the statute of limitations. It is crucial to speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure the timely exercise of your legal rights.
Who Is Responsible for an Accident in Ohio?
Every driver in Ohio has a responsibility—known as a “duty of care”—to act in a manner that does not unnecessarily jeopardize the health and well-being of others on the road. When a driver fails to uphold this duty, they may be held responsible for accidents caused by negligent or careless behavior such as:
- Reckless driving
- Texting and driving
- Driving under the influence
- Violating the rules of the road
However, the question of fault does not always have an obvious answer. It sometimes requires a thorough investigation to figure out how an accident occurred and who, ultimately, is responsible.
This is why it is so important not only to have a thorough understanding of the accident law in Ohio, but to be able to prove negligence on the part of the other driver. A car accident lawyer will have the experience and knowledge to represent you effectively.
Need Help Understanding the Accident Law in Ohio? Contact Colombo Law!
Colombo Law performs in-depth investigations to collect evidence of negligence. We visit the scene of the accident to take pictures and analyze the scene, seek out witnesses to interview, thoroughly review the police report, and, if needed, enlist expert witnesses and accident reconstruction experts who can help us show how an accident unfolded.
Next, we fully calculate the damages to make sure we have a full, clear picture of how much you should seek in compensation. Finally, we fight to maximize your compensation. This often consists of settlement negotiations, but we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit and take the matter to trial if it means obtaining an optimal outcome.