Car accidents can be devastating experiences that can cost time, money, and lives. Hiring a car accident lawyer can’t make everything right again, but it can make it easier for you to be compensated after an accident that wasn’t your fault.

What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

As Westerville, OH car accident lawyers, our job is to help you through the legal process by either settling with the at-fault party or taking your case to court. It’s our goal to see that you’re compensated fairly for your personal injuries and property damage.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Try to keep calm. Don’t say anything you may regret later. In fact, it’s best to say as little as possible, especially to the other driver(s), in order to preserve your chance of a successful settlement.

Instead, follow these handy tips for what to do immediately after a car accident:

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Check for serious injuries
  • Get vehicles and debris off the road (if you can)
  • Get contact and insurance information from the other driver(s)
  • Take some notes about how and where the accident happened
  • Take pictures of injuries, damaged vehicles, and the accident scene
  • Let your insurance agent know you were involved in an accident
  • Get in touch with a Westerville, OH car accident lawyer

2016 Ohio Car Accident Statistics

The most recent facts on Ohio car accidents show that last year there were:

  • 305,964 accidents, 112,331 injuries, and 1,133 deaths
  • 8,866 injuries in children under 14 years-old
  • 11,958 alcohol-related crashes
  • An average of 306.9 injuries and 3.1 fatalities every single day
  • A majority, 66.4 percent, of accidents happening during the day
  • A majority of accidents, 18.3 percent, caused by drivers losing control of their vehicles

Westerville, Ohio Car Accident Statistics

In 2016 alone, Westerville, OH saw:

  • 886 total car accidents
  • 290 injuries
  • 1 death
  • 1,760 damaged vehicles
  • 27 alcohol related crashes resulting in 9 injuries

Ohio Car Insurance Requirements

All Ohio drivers are required to carry minimum liability insurance in the amounts 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 Car Accident?

Ohio employs an at-fault insurance system, so the driver who is at-fault for the accident, and their insurance provider, will be responsible for paying for the costs you’ve incurred.

If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are too low to compensate you for all your expenses, and you have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), you may be able to be compensated using that policy. However, without UIM, your best option is to consult with an attorney about other ways to get compensation from the at-fault party.

How Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Works in Ohio

Plenty of people ignore the law and don’t buy or don’t carry enough car insurance. If they cause an accident, they can be punished with:

  • 90 days (for a first offense) to 1 year (for a repeat offence) of driver’s license suspension
  • $75 ( for a first offence) to $500 (for a repeat offence) in reinstatement fees
  • License plate and/or vehicle seizure
  • Being required to obtain and show proof of car insurance before driving again

Unfortunately, just because these people get punished doesn’t mean you get the money you are entitled to. The only way to get reimbursed for your expenses after an accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist is by already having uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). Here’s how those coverages work:

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage makes sure you’re compensated if your car is damaged or you are hurt by an uninsured driver.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) makes sure you’re compensated if your car is damaged or you are hurt by a driver whose policy limits don’t cover your total expenses.

Example of Underinsured Motorist Coverage: You’re in an accident that costs you $100,000. The other driver has insurance, but only enough to pay for $50,000 of your expenses. After being paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company, you can seek the remaining $50,000 from your UIM provider.

How to Use Underinsured Motorist Coverage

UIM is a type of coverage that can be hard to understand if you’ve never used it before. The important things to remember are:

  1. You can’t use of your UIM coverage until the at-fault party’s auto insurance policy limits have been exceeded; AND
  2. You must let your UIM provider know you want to settle with the at-fault party, before you try to do so.

If you don’t do these things, and you don’t have a Westerville, OH car accident lawyer to help, you could risk losing your UIM coverage. If you complete this process correctly, your UIM provider will do one of two things:

  • Allow you to settle by waiving subrogation; OR
  • Decline to subrogate in favor of writing you a check in the amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage

Should I Get Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Yes. Even if you aren’t sure if you need this coverage, it’s a good idea to research it further and discuss the cost with your insurance company. At the end of the day, UIM and UM are the best ways to protect your best interests if you are ever unfortunate enough to be hit by an underinsured or uninsured motorist.

What Can I Be Compensated For After a Car Crash?

If you were in a Westerville, OH auto accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be compensated for things like:

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

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

If you’ve been in a car accident, there’s absolutely no harm in scheduling a  free consultation with a Westerville car accident lawyer. At Colombo Law, you have no obligation to use our services. The truth is, by talking to one of our attorneys, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Our attorneys will help you file your case within Ohio’s two-year statute of limitations. We can also help by taking care of paperwork, legal proceedings, and minute details, such as collecting:

  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Witnesses
  • Expert witnesses
  • Camera footage and phone call records
  • Interviews with insurance adjustors
  • Information on automobile defects or recalls

Ohio Car Accident Lawyers

If your accident was in Westerville, Ohio, don’t waste time looking for a car accident lawyer near you. The attorneys at Colombo Law are local and care about helping victims of Ohio car accidents, from the smallest communities to the biggest. We’ve worked with clients throughout the Greater Westerville area, in places like

  • Westerville Park
  • Westerville Highlands
  • Collegeview Park
  • McVay Woods
  • College Acres
  • Spring Grove North
  • Walnut Park
  • Willamont
  • Lexington Park
  • Southview
  • Linnabary Heights
  • 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 you work with our Westerville car accident lawyers, you can rest easy knowing you are being represented by professionals who are kind, caring, and dedicated. We will fight to see that you’re treated right and compensated fairly. We do all this on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe is a thing unless we reach a successful settlement on your behalf.

If you think you may need the help of a Westerville car accident attorney, call us, schedule your free consultation, speak to a Westerville, Ohio car accident lawyer near you at 614-362-7000.