Being in a car accident is an experience that could leave you with severe injuries and property damage. In the worst case scenario, you could even lose a loved one. Whether you were traveling for work or five minutes from your house, a car accident could leave you with thousands in repair bills and medical expenses. Thankfully, you can contact a Pataskala, Ohio car accident lawyer who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do?

Attorneys that specialize in car accidents do their best to make sure you’re compensated fairly by insurance companies after a car crash. Seasoned car accident lawyers, like the ones at Colombo Law, have years of experience helping countless victims seek compensation for their injuries and property damages.

What To Do After a Car Accident

The first step is to take some deep breaths and focus. Panicking will not help you handle the situation calmly. Consider the following tips to help you get through those first moments after an auto accident:

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

After an accident, it’s a good idea to keep your opinions to yourself. When you speak to the police, give them the truthful facts while remaining respectful. You may be tempted to make accusations, but it’s best to save this discussion for when you sit down with your attorney.

General Ohio Car Accident Statistics

The most recent information on Ohio car accidents comes from 2016, when there were:

  • 305,964 accidents resulting in 112,331 injuries and 1,133 fatalities
  • 8,866 injuries of children under 14
  • 11,958 accidents caused by drunk driving
  • An average of 306.9 injuries and 3.1 fatalities each day
  • 66.4 percent of accidents occurring during daylight hours
  • 18.3 percent of accidents caused by the driver’s failure to control their vehicle

Pataskala, Ohio Car Accident Statistics

Pataskala has a surprising amount of car accidents for a town with a population of only 10,249. In 2016, Pataskala, Ohio saw:

  • 253 car accidents
  • 93 car accident-related injuries
  • 2 car accident-related fatalities
  • 464 vehicles damaged
  • 11 alcohol-related accidents resulting in 4 injuries and 1 death

Ohio Car Insurance Requirements

All Ohio drivers must carry at least the minimum amount of car insurance to drive a car. Ohio requires its drivers to carry:

  • $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 Owes Me for Damages After a Pataskala, Ohio Car Accident?

Because Ohio is an at-fault insurance state, the individual or party who caused your accident is financially responsible for all expenses you incur as a result of the accident. So if you are hit by another driver and the accident was their fault, their insurance company should pay you for your damages.

In bad accidents, your total expenses may exceed the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. This is not a problem if you have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) policy to protect you in this kind of situation. However, if you don’t have UIM coverage, you can try to seek compensation from the at-fault party directly, though this is hard to do without a Pataskala car accident lawyer by your side.

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Ohio Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Despite being required to carry minimum insurance coverages, many Ohioans don’t. If you’re in an accident with one of them, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UM) can go along way toward protecting your financial best interests. Here’s how these policies work:

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pays out if you’re hurt or your vehicle is damaged by a driver with no car insurance.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) can help you if the at-fault party has insurance, but their policy limits are too low to cover all of your expenses. UIM works like this:

Imagine you’re in an accident caused by a driver whose liability insurance is limited to $50,000. Unfortunately, this accident cost you much more than that, and your total expenses are $100,000. In this situation, you would receive up to the limit from the at-fault party’s insurance provider ($50,000) before you can seek compensation for the rest of your expenses ($50,000) from your UIM policy.

The Risks of Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Understanding UIM isn’t easy, but there are two things that are more important to understand than anything else:

First, your UIM coverage will not be available to you unless the limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy have been reached.

Second, you have to tell your UIM coverage provider that you want to settle with the at-fault party before you attempt to do so.

Not doing this means you risk losing your UIM. Doing it allows your coverage provider to quickly take their next steps of either:

  1. Waiving subrogation so you can settle; OR
  2. Decline subrogation and sending you a check for the total amount of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage

This entire process is delicate and you should always consider consulting with a Pataskala car accident attorney before trying to handle it yourself.

Is Buying Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage a Good Idea?

Uninsured motorists are punished for their actions, by facing:

  • 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

But their punishment doesn’t do anything to put money back in your pocket. You can try to get money from them personally, but purchasing UM or UIM coverage is a much better way to ensure you are made whole after your accident.

So yes, it may be a little more costly to carry UM and UIM insurance, but you’ll thank yourself if you’re ever in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

What Can I Be Compensated for After a Car Accident?

Ohio allows victims to seek compensation for their personal injuries and property damage. As car accident attorneys, we’ve seen our clients be compensated for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earning ability
  • Missed activities
  • Inconvenience
  • Medical expenses and equipment
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of companionship
  • Wrongful death

Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?

Whether you decide to hire a car accident lawyer or not, you should schedule a consultation with one to find out if you have a case. If your case is valid, you only have two years to see it through before the Ohio statute of limitations runs out.

Getting the settlement you deserve without the help of a car accident lawyer is possible but hard to accomplish. Legal battles are difficult things that can stretch on for weeks, months, and even years. Hiring a Pataskala, OH car accident attorney can seriously speed up this process and get you back on your feet faster than you could on your own.

A car accident attorneys handle all the tiny details, like:

  • Collecting police reports
  • Gathering medical records
  • Searching through camera footage and phone call records
  • Dealing with insurance adjustors
  • Collecting witnesses
  • Finding expert witnesses to testify in court
  • Checking for automobile defects or recalls that might have affected your accident

Pataskala, Ohio Car Accident Lawyers

At Colombo Law, we have experience helping clients from all over Pataskala, including areas like:

  • Bright Waters
  • Brooksedge
  • Jefferson Ridge
  • Legacy Estates
  • Hazlewood
  • Highland Hills
  • Settlement
  • Mayflower
  • Summit Station
  • Taylor Glen
  • Watkins
  • 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

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 should be your first priority in the days and weeks after a car accident.

The attorneys at Colombo Law, provide our clients with free consultations without ever pressuring them to use our services. If you do decide to work with us, we don’t charge you a dime until you have successful settlement offer in your hands. Call us to schedule your no-obligation consultation at 614-362-7000.