Ohio follows what is known as the “comparative negligence” rule. What this means is that, if you are less than 50 percent responsible for an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. The comparative negligence rule typically applies when a claim goes to trial—your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement regardless of fault. Essentially, if another person or entity acted carelessly, recklessly, or negligently and you were injured as a result, you may be able to bring an auto accident claim.
At The Mellino Law Firm, we have more than 30 years of experience handling complex injury claims. Our Cleveland car accident attorneys are prepared to answer your questions and help you navigate the legal process. We encourage you to reach out to our firm as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation.
COMMON CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
With millions of cars on the road, it’s no surprise that hundreds of thousands of accidents occur each year in the United States. Of these accidents, many result in severe injuries and fatalities. All too often, collisions are the result of negligence.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Cellphone use
- Drunk driving
- Reckless/aggressive driving
- Illegal driving maneuvers
- Unsafe road design
- Dangerous conditions
- Fatigued driving
When motorists act negligently—whether by turning left into oncoming traffic, illegally changing lanes, or deciding to get behind the wheel after drinking—they should be held accountable for the harm they cause. Our auto accident lawyers in Cleveland are committed to helping you pursue the full, fair recovery you are owed.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT
After a car accident, you will likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster from the liable party’s insurance company. It is important that you do not speak to this person or any representative from the liable insurance provider about the accident. In nearly every instance, they will try to limit their own costs by getting you to admit fault, which can allow them to devalue or deny your rightful claim. Instead, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to determine who is liable for your injuries and other losses.
Following a car accident, you should do the following:
- Seek medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are not that serious. Having medical records proving that you sought treatment can be very beneficial to your case if you should pursue a claim. Furthermore, you may not notice the severity of injuries right away and some injuries may take hours, days, or even weeks to appear.
- Call the police to the scene of the accident. Once they arrive, give an official statement detailing how the accident occurred, what happened leading up to the collision, and any other relevant information.
- Get the contact information of the other involved driver/drivers, including his or her insurance information. When speaking with the other driver, refrain from apologizing or otherwise admitting fault, as this can ultimately hurt your case.
- Document the scene of the accident, if possible. If you have a cellphone or camera with you, take pictures of the accident, as well as your injuries. If possible, document statements and take down the contact information of any witnesses.
- Inform your own insurance company of the accident. As previously mentioned, however, do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company before speaking with an attorney about your case.
You should also keep in mind that your insurance policy may have a subrogation clause. If your insurance provider pays for your medical treatment after an accident and you later win an auto accident case, you will be required to repay the insurance company with a portion of your settlement. Typically, this repayment is automatically deducted from your total recovery amount.
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
The outcome of your case could rest in your hands. Do not let a simple mistake cost you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Factors that could potentially hurt your car accident claim include:
- admitting fault or speculating on what caused the accident;
- refusing to be seen by a doctor;
- providing an insurance company with a recorded statement that could be used against you later;
- posting information on social media that could be taken out of context;
- signing a form that gives insurance adjusters access to your medical records;
- failing to collect evidence at the scene of the accident;
- failing to follow your physician’s orders or refusing to show up for doctor’s appointments; and
- trying to settle a claim on your own without consulting a car accident lawyer.
HOW MUCH IS MY CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM WORTH?
One of the most common questions we receive in regards to car accident claims is, “How much is my claim worth?” While we understand that injured individuals need to know how they are going to be able to pay for their medical expenses and other bills, it is, unfortunately, impossible to say how much your claim is worth without taking a look at the unique circumstances involved.
That being said, many injured victims are able to recover compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost income/wages
- Lost earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
This list is not exhaustive; our car accident attorneys in Cleveland, OH can help you determine the potential worth of your claim and will help you fight for the maximum recovery you deserve.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM IN OHIO?
Personal injury lawsuits generally need to be filed within one year in Ohio. However, there are exceptions. For instance, if the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations is two years after he or she reaches age 18. Attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our office with any questions you may have about your case.
During your free initial consultation, we will:
- review your case;
- determine negligence;
- give you an honest opinion as to whether you have a claim;
- help gather and preserve evidence;
- track down witnesses; and
- negotiate with insurers for a fair settlement.
A fast, fair, and substantial settlement will allow you to pay medical expenses quickly and may come in handy if you’ve lost time from work as a result of your injuries. But if a fair settlement doesn’t appear to be an option, you may wish to take your case to trial, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable.
CONTACT OUR TEAM TODAY
If you were injured or your loved one was killed in a car accident and you believe someone else was at fault, reach out to The Mellino Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We have more than three decades of legal experience and are prepared to assist you every step of the way. Our Cleveland car accident lawyers only accept select cases in order to better provide our clients with focused attention and personalized representation.