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Car Accidents – Cleveland
ON THIS PAGE
- What You Should Do After a Car Accident
- Who Is Liable for My Car Accident?
- Statutes of Limitations on Car Accident Claims
- Common Causes of Car Accidents
- Common Types of Car Accidents
- How a Personal Injury Lawyer Helps After a Car Accident
- Common Insurance Issues AFter a Car Crash
- Preparing for Trial in a Car Accident Case
- Car Accident Compensation
- Contact a Cleveland Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, your first thought might be to file an insurance claim. This is often the best way to recover compensation. However, we strongly recommend you do not navigate this process alone.
A car accident lawyer in Cleveland can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we thoroughly investigate each car wreck case we take on. We gather a wide range of evidence and go head-to-head with insurance adjusters to negotiate fair settlements. When necessary, we take your claim to court and fight for your recovery before a judge and jury.
Each of our Cleveland personal injury attorneys has experience helping car accident victims pursue full and fair compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers have experience with minor injury accidents as well as catastrophic injuries, like a traumatic brain injury, and they are ready to help you. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact us today at (216) 658-1330.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident in Cleveland
If you are in an auto accident, whether you are driving or a passenger, there are a few steps you should take. We understand you may not be able to do all of this because you are hurt or in shock. We never judge our clients for doing what they need to do after a crash.
If you are able to do so after a collision, you should:
- Call Your Local Police Department – This may be the Cleveland Police or a police department more local to your accident. You want law enforcement and emergency responders to arrive as soon as possible to provide medical care and control traffic to reduce the risk of further accidents and injuries.
- Get Medical Care – You may be taken by ambulance to a Cleveland Clinic facility – Lutheran Hospital, Fairview Hospital, the Clinic’s main campus, or to a University Hospitals emergency room (ER). If you do not go to the ER by ambulance, have a friend or family member take you to there or to a trusted physician for a full exam. You should see a doctor as soon as possible after a collision. You may have injuries you cannot see.
- Exchange Insurance Information – Ask for the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance company, and insurance policy number.
- Collect Evidence – There is evidence you can gather at the scene of a collision that can be very helpful. Use a phone to take pictures and video of the crash and surrounding property damage. Also, ask for witnesses’ names and contact information.
- Call a Cleveland Accident Law Firm – When you are in a crash and suffer injuries, the best way to protect yourself is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
Who Is Liable for My Car Accident?
It is important to identify who was at fault for a crash. Whose actions directly led to the collision and your injuries? In many cases, this is clear. You know whose vehicle collided with your own while you obeyed the rules of the road. If it is not immediately clear, a thorough car investigation should provide you with answers. Our Cleveland law firm can help initiate investigations utilizing car accident experts.
However, liability and fault for an accident are two different issues. We also need to identify which party is liable for your injuries. In other words, who is legally responsible for compensating you? This can differ from who is responsible for the accident, which is why it is important to work with an experienced car accident attorney in Cleveland.
What is Negligence?
The person at fault for the collision is the person whose negligence caused in the crash. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonably prudent person would under the circumstances. While driving, a reasonable person would be careful. They would obey the law and be cautious to avoid an accident. When a person is negligent, they are careless. They act in a way that increases the risk of a crash.
That negligent driver also may be liable for your injuries. By pursuing a third-party insurance claim against their auto insurance policy, or by filing a personal injury lawsuit against them, you can seek compensation for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. An additional party, however, also may be liable for your injuries either because they contributed to the crash, or because of Ohio’s liability laws.
Car Owner Liability
It is common for drivers to be in vehicles that are not their own. Family members and friends may borrow each other’s cars, a driver may rent a vehicle from a major chain or another person’s vehicle through a car-share platform. Under all of these circumstances, both the driver and the vehicle owner may have auto insurance policies that apply to the crash. You may be able to file a claim against the driver’s policy and the car owner’s liability policy.
If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the crash, and driving was part of their job, then their employer is typically liable for the crash and your injuries. By working with an experienced Cleveland auto accident lawyer, you can pursue compensation from the businesses’ liability policy. This can be helpful, as businesses often have higher policy limits than individual drivers.
Dram Shop Liability
If the driver who caused your crash was intoxicated at the time, then talk with your Cleveland car accident lawyer about Ohio’s dram shop laws. The vendor that knowingly sold or provided alcohol to someone under 21-years-old or to someone who was noticeably intoxicated can be liable for damages the intoxicated person causes. If we can identify the individual or business that supplied the drunk driver with alcohol just prior to the crash, we can pursue compensation from that party.
Not all car crashes happen because of negligent drivers. Some collisions occur because of a defective car part. After every accident, we carefully investigate what went wrong. We will review whether there were any active recalls for that vehicle. We also may have the vehicle inspected to determine if a particular part may have failed prior to the collision. If we determine a defect was the underlying cause of the crash, we will pursue compensation from the vehicle manufacturer or seller.
Highway Design and Road Hazards (Construction Zones)
Work zones are necessary to improve road conditions. However, construction creates hazards. Motorists may have to be content with a lack of a shoulder or only use one lane instead of two or three. Drivers might have to quickly merge when one or two lanes are closed for work. Construction also may cause there to be dips, bumps, turns, and sharp drop-offs in the road, which drivers have to be extremely careful to navigate.
If construction companies or municipalities fail to safely engineer and mark a work zone, the risk of car accidents increases. Drivers need considerable warning as they approach a work zone. There also needs to be plenty of space for motorists to safely navigate the construction zone.
If a roadway or work zone is designed poorly and led to your accident and injuries, talk with us about holding the construction business or municipality liable.
Statutes of Limitations on Car Accident Claims
If you were injured in a car accident, the first step is usually to pursue compensation through an insurance claim. Insurers require you to notify them of a claim within a reasonable amount of time. This is something you need to do right away. If you wait several months, your claim will likely be denied.
You may need to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This you have more time to do, but still not an infinite amount of time. In Ohio, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Common Causes of Cleveland Car Accidents
Car accidents arise due to all types of careless, reckless, and malicious conduct, including:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Obstacles in the road, including construction equipment
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Road rage
- Reckless, aggressive, and dangerous maneuvers
- Bad weather
Common Types of Car Accidents
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we help Cleveland residents recover from all types of collisions, including:
- Rear-End Accidents
- Side Impact “T-Bone” Crashes
- Side Swipe Accidents in the Same and Opposite Direction
- Run Off the Road Accidents
- Head-On Collisions
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Left-Turn Wrecks
- U-Turn Accidents
- Hit and Run Collisions
- Blind Spot Crashes
- SUV Rollover Accidents
- Parking Lot Collisions
- Low-Speed Wrecks
How Our Cleveland Injury Lawyers Help After a Car Accident
When you incur injuries in a car crash, your focus is naturally on obtaining a fair settlement for what you have gone through. Unfortunately, you may run into several issues during this process. Our Cleveland car accident attorneys are here to guide you through the insurance claim process to reduce the risk of you running into problems, as well as to fight for you when complications arise.
Common Insurance Issues After a Car Crash
Wrongfully Denied Claims
The insurer may wrongfully deny your claim for many different reasons. They may state you did not notify them in time. They may argue your property damage or bodily injuries are not covered under the policy, or even that your injuries occurred before the collision.
Bad Faith or Unlawful Business Practices
Insurance companies are required to treat you and your claim with good faith. When they receive your claim, they must properly investigate it and either approve or deny it based on the policy coverage.
In some situations, insurers do not act in good faith. An adjuster may take steps to delay your claim, or they might fail to properly investigate the claim before issuing a denial. An adjuster may harass you or continuously ask you to prove the same information or records repeatedly.
Your claim may be pushed from one department or adjuster to the other. The insurer may refuse to return your phone calls or emails. If at any point you believe the insurance company is treating you unfairly and acting in bad faith, call us right away.
Lowball Settlement Offers
An insurer may approve your claim, but the process is not over. You then have to review the settlement offer and determine if it covers your damages. Insurers will often try to get you to accept less than you deserve. Negotiations usually resolve this issue. However, if an insurer refuses to negotiate or to settle on a fair amount, you may need to pursue litigation.
Car Accident Settlements
A majority of car accident injury and property damage claims are resolved through insurance settlements. This is a payout from an insurance company that is intended to cover the cost of your property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other injuries. In return for accepting the settlement, you agree to not file a lawsuit against the policyholder or to dismiss an ongoing lawsuit.
A settlement is typically meant to fully resolve your claim, although there are some circumstances in which an insurance settlement will resolve certain issues and not others.
While a car accident settlement is often advantageous, that does not mean you should accept an insurer’s first offer. If you receive a settlement offer within days or a couple of weeks of your crash, you should think very carefully about accepting. Do you understand the full extent of your injuries? Do you have a clear picture of the financial costs of this crash yet?
Early offers are often too low, and you may not know the full value of your claim yet. Talk with a car accident lawyer in Cleveland about negotiating a higher settlement amount.
Preparing for Trial in a Car Accident Case
There are circumstances in which a car accident settlement is not possible or unlikely to happen. In these situations, the only way to recover compensation is to file a lawsuit. Your Cleveland auto accident lawyer also may recommend filing a lawsuit while your insurance claim is ongoing. Doing so can help us gather more information regarding the crash, and it can show the insurer we are serious about recovering fair compensation for your injuries.
Gathering Evidence and Discovery
One of the main benefits of filing a personal injury lawsuit after a crash is utilizing the discovery process. This is a phase of litigation during which both parties exchange information. There are several legal tools we use during discovery including: interrogatories, which are questions the other party must answer; requests for documents, which require the other party to provide certain documentation; and depositions, which are out-of-court interviews with relevant individuals.
These tools help us gather evidence that we could not obtain on our own. For example, if the at-fault driver was working at the time, we can demand a copy of that person’s employment and driving records to determine if there had been any complaints about their driving, if they had any tickets, or if they got into any accidents.
Dealing with Experts
During a car accident lawsuit, we may hire one or more expert witnesses, such as an accident reconstructionist, engineer, medical expert, vocational expert, or an economist. These professionals can provide testimony based on years of training and experience regarding who caused the crash, your injuries, and the financial repercussions of your injuries.
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our Cleveland car accident lawyers have worked with many experts before. You do not have to find these professionals on your own. We will seek out and hire the best experts for your case. We also may hire experts to dispute the testimony of professionals hired by the at-fault driver or liable party.
In some car accident cases, eyewitnesses are the best resources. We may have one or more eyewitnesses testify on your behalf regarding what they heard or saw in the moments leading up to, during, and immediately after the crash.
Car Accident Compensation
When another driver causes you harm, you may be entitled to compensation for various types of injuries.
- Special Damages – These are the economic losses you have suffered due to the accident and your injuries. You can pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and employment benefits, reduced earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- General Damages – These are non-economic injuries, including your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
- Punitive Damages – Punitive damages intend to punish the wrongdoer because of their reckless, malicious, or fraudulent behavior. These are not allowed in all types of car crash claims, and Ohio limits the possible amount of punitive damages. A judge will limit punitive damages to twice the amount of compensatory damages.
KNR has helped numerous car accident victims get compensation for their long-term needs. For example, we represented a client after he was severely injured in a Cuyahoga County car accident. The client required multiple surgeries, and KNR settled the case for the $200,000 policy limit.
Wrongful Death and Survival Damages
If your loved one passed away due to car accident injuries, then the compensation your family or your loved one’s estate may receive differs from personal injury damages.
A wrongful death claim aims to compensate close family members for their loss. The compensation may encompass medical expenses, funeral and burial fees, loss of the decedent’s income, services, and companionship, and mental anguish.
A survival action is different. If your loved one initially survived the crash, then they had a personal injury claim. If your relative passed away weeks or months later, then your family or loved one’s estate can pursue that surviving personal injury claim and demand the compensation for the decedent’s estate.
Contact a Cleveland Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you are dealing with a serious injury or the death of a family member or loved one due to another person’s negligence while behind the wheel, it is important to get legal advice from a car accident lawyer in Cleveland. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we have the skills and experience to help you achieve the best result possible with your claim. Let’s discuss your options and develop a plan of action to help you secure your rightful compensation.
To talk with us about your current circumstances, our phone number is (216) 658-1330.