A car accident can change your life. You may be in intense pain, unable to work, and require considerable medical care. The Columbus car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick know what you’re going through and can help secure the compensation you need.
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Car Accidents – Columbus
ON THIS PAGE
- Steps to Take After a Car Accident
- Who Is Liable for My Car Accident?
- Statutes of Limmitations
- Common Causes of Car Accidents
- Common Types of Car Accidents
- Insurance Issues After a Car Accident
- Car Accident Settlements
- Preparing for a Trial in Car Accident Cases
- Call an Experienced Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Today
You may wonder whether hiring a Columbus personal injury lawyer is the right step after a crash. But there are many ways an attorney can help during the claims process.
At KNR, our Columbus team will assist you in dealing with your medical bills while awaiting a settlement. We handle communication with the insurance adjuster and are prepared to fight back. Let us collect the documents, negotiate a fair settlement, and when necessary – take your case to court.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
When you are involved in a car crash, we recommend you:
- Call Columbus Police – If the collision does not merit calling 911, do not forget to file an accident reported with the Columbus Police Department. It can be helpful to have law enforcement there to control traffic, conduct an initial investigation, and write up an accident report.
- Seek Medical Attention – If you or a companion are suffering visible or potentially serious injuries, go to the emergency room (ER) at the Ohio State University Hospital, Mount Carmel, OhioHealth, or another local ER.
- Exchange Insurance Information – Ask the other driver for their name, contact information, and auto insurance information if you can. You or the driver of your vehicle will need to provide the same in return.
- Collect Evidence – We understand this may not be possible after a crash. You may be badly hurt or in shock. If the other driver is aggressive, you may simply keep your distance to remain safe. However, if you can, use your phone to take photos and videos of the crash, surrounding property damage, and any marks on the pavement.
- Call a Columbus Car Accident Law Firm – Once you have departed from the crash site and obtained medical care, the next step should be to call an experienced lawyer. Now is the time to learn about your rights and options after a crash.
Who is Liable for My Car Accident?
The most important question after a crash is who is liable for your injuries. A liable party is a person, business, or municipality required to compensate you for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. This party may or may not be the driver behind the wheel of the other car.
Negligent Driver Liability
The person at fault for the collision is the driver that was most negligent. Drivers are required to behave as a reasonably prudent person would under the circumstances. When a driver is behind the wheel, they need to follow the rules of the road, use common sense, and act carefully to avoid a collision.
When a driver violates a traffic law or behaves carelessly behind the wheel, they are negligent. If this negligence leads to a crash and another person’s injuries, the driver is at fault and liable for the injuries.
Car Owner Liability
When another driver causes a crash and your injuries, you will typically file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, this may not be the only available policy. If the driver was in another person or business’s vehicle, whether the vehicle was rented or borrowed, then the car owner’s liability policy may apply to the crash and your injuries. One of our auto accident lawyers in Columbus will pursue additional compensation from the owner’s policy.
Was the at-fault driver working at the time of the crash? If the driver was on duty and driving as part of their work responsibilities when they caused the accident, then that driver’s employer is liable for your injuries. Your Columbus personal injury attorney will pursue compensation under the business’s liability policy, which to your benefit, may have a much higher policy limit.
Dram Shop Liability
In Ohio, alcohol servers can be held liable for accidents caused by drunk drivers if the person or business sold or provided alcohol to someone under 21-years-old, or to someone who was noticeably intoxicated.
If we discover the at-fault driver was also drunk at the time of the collision, we will investigate where the driver obtained alcohol just prior to the crash. If they had been drinking at someone’s home or at a bar or restaurant, or if they had purchased alcohol from a store, we may file a lawsuit against that party.
It is possible that the driver in the vehicle that hit you was not negligent at all. Instead, a vehicle defect may have been responsible for the crash. When our investigation uncovers a vehicle defect, we will pursue compensation for you through a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer or retailer.
Highway Design and Road Hazards (Construction Zones)
Your accident, or the severity of the accident, may have been due to road hazards, such as construction equipment improperly placed on the road, potholes, bumps, or drop-offs. It also is possible that the road and its safety features were poorly designed. A road may lack the proper no passing markings or signs, guardrails, or lighting.
When we determine that poor roadway design or road hazards, including construction equipment, led to your crash and injuries, we may pursue a claim against the local government or a construction business. A claim against a municipality is a far different process than the typical car insurance claim or car accident lawsuit. You will need an experienced car accident lawyer to help you navigate a claim against the city, county, or state.
Statutes of Limitations on Personal Injury and Car Accident Claims
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ohio, the state gives you two years to file a lawsuit. This time limit does not apply to your insurance claim. When you wish to seek a car accident settlement, you need to provide notice to the insurer right away. If you wait several months or over a year, your claim will likely be denied. This is one of many reasons it is important to talk with a Columbus car accident attorney right away.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents in the U.S. often arise due to:
- Drugged driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Reckless driving
- Road rage
- Poor weather
- Obstacles and hazards in the road
Common Types of Car Accidents
Our Columbus car accident lawyers are here to represent you after:
- Rear-End Collisions
- Head-On Crashes
- Side Impact “T-Bone” Wrecks
- Side Swipe Accidents in the Same and Opposite Direction
- Blind Spot Collisions
- Run Off the Road Crashes
- Drunk Driving Wrecks
- Left-Turn Accidents
- U-Turn Collisions
- Hit and Run Crashes
- Low-Speed Wrecks
- Parking Lot Accidents
- High-Speed Collisions
- SUV Rollovers
It is also common for cars to have accidents with other motor vehicles. Truck accidents can be complex because they often involve serious injury and total loss property damage. Motorcycle accidents are difficult to navigate because determining liability can be confusing. You should seek legal representation to help you with either of these types of injury cases.
Insurance Issues After a Car Accident
Insurance claims after collisions do not always proceed smoothly for accident victims. You may encounter a number of issues while you pursue a car accident settlement, such as:
Lack of Insurance
One of the toughest issues to overcome is the lack of insurance coverage. The at-fault driver may not have a policy. In this situation, we will look for other policies, such as insurance purchased by the car owner or employer. We also may help you pursue a settlement based on your own insurance policy or through a personal injury lawsuit.
You may have hope that your car accident claim will be resolved fairly until you receive a letter in the mail saying your claim for compensation has been denied. You should immediately talk with a Columbus car accident lawyer about why this denial occurred, and how to appeal the decision. We have handled and overcome many initial wrongful insurance claim denials.
Bad Faith and Unfair Business Practices
When you pursue compensation through a first or third-party insurance claim, Ohio law requires the insurer to treat you fairly. The insurer cannot lie or try to manipulate you. Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters fail to handle your claim in good faith. An adjuster may delay your claim, fail to properly investigate your claim, wrongfully deny your claim, or refuse to settle your claim for an appropriate amount. Any time you fear you are being treated unfairly by the insurer, give us a call to address these bad faith insurance practices.
Low Settlement Offers
Your insurance claim process may appear to go smoothly until the adjuster sends its first settlement offer. You may balk at the amount or learn for your attorney that this will not cover all of your past and future expenses. It is important to have a car accident lawyer in Columbus who is prepared to vigorously negotiate a higher settlement. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies.
Car Accident Settlements
The purpose of auto insurance and an insurance claim after a crash is to resolve your situation with a settlement. This settlement should cover your property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other physical, psychological, and financial injuries. In exchange for you accepting the settlement, you agree to not file or dismiss an ongoing lawsuit against the liable party.
Car accident settlements are not always easy to get after a crash. Insurance companies may initially wrongfully deny your claim. Or, what is often the case, the insurance adjuster will offer a settlement that is lower than the full value of your damages. A Columbus car accident lawyer will spot a lowball offer right away and will begin negotiations. In many cases, we can negotiate a far better sum for our clients than the first offer.
However, car accident settlements are not always possible or forthcoming. In these situations, you may benefit from filing a personal injury lawsuit and preparing for trial.
Preparing for Trial in a Car Accident Case
If you wish to take your personal injury claim to court, you must have evidence that the other party had a legal duty, failed to uphold that legal duty (was negligent), and this failure led to the crash and your injuries. You will be required to provide evidence that the other party was negligent. You have to show a direct causal link between this negligence and the collision. Then, you also have to prove the type and extent of your injuries.
Your auto accident lawyer in Columbus will prepare to prove each of these elements by gathering as much evidence as possible. This will include the police report, any pictures and videos of the crash or its aftermath, any eyewitnesses’ statements, and your medical records.
We will investigate the driver’s background, including their medical record, determining whether they were working at the time of the crash, and determining whether they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. KNR will also look into the vehicle and research whether there were any active recalls.
What is Discovery?
At a certain point, some critical information will be under another party’s control, like the insurance company or the at-fault driver. This is why the discovery phase is so important. During this time, the parties exchange information through interrogatories, requests for documents, depositions, and other legal tools.
We will send the liable party interrogatories, which are questions they may answer completely and accurately. We will send requests for documents to obtain important business records. And we will schedule depositions, which allow us to question relevant people and obtain their out-of-court statements before trial.
Dealing with Experts
During investigation and discovery, we may determine that one or more experts would help your case. We may hire an expert to help prove the other party was responsible for the crash, such as an accident reconstructionist or engineer. Or, we may hire an expert to establish the type and extent of your injuries. This may require bringing in a doctor who specializes in your kind of injury.
Also, if you suffered serious or catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries, we may have to prove your future damages. We may hire vocational and economic experts to establish your earning capacity after the accident and the financial losses you will incur throughout the rest of your life.
Another step is working with the witnesses. We may have one or more eyewitnesses testifying on your behalf. We will prepare them for testifying as well as what to expect from the other side, which may be aggressive and uncomfortable.
Car Accident Compensation
Medical care and rehab for car accident injuries are often long-term and expensive. Most people are not prepared to pay these costs upfront. And, if another party caused your injury – you shouldn’t have to.
Whether it is through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance settlement, the attorneys at KNR have helped numerous Columbus car accident victims obtain what they need. For instance, we recently helped a passenger in Franklin County secure $100,00 after being injured when their vehicle was struck by a motorist who failed to obey a stop sign.
You may be able to recover compensation for:
- Your past and future medical expenses
- Your lost wages from being off work
- The pain and suffering you experienced
- Your emotional distress and mental anguish
- The loss of consortium caused by your injury.
Through an insurance settlement or a court award, your car accident compensation should encompass your special and general damages.
These are the economic losses you suffered. This includes your medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs associated with the crash and your injuries. It also includes the money you did not make because of your injuries, including lost wages and employment benefits, and a lower earning capacity.
These are your non-economic injuries, like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress. The value of these injuries is subjective and means proving what you endured. We may ask you to keep a daily journal regarding your pain and the psychological consequences of your injuries.
If the at-fault party’s conduct was particularly egregious, you might be entitled to punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate you for an injury. Instead, they are meant to punish the wrongdoer.
Car Accident Wrongful Death and Survival Damages
Your loved one may have initially survived the car accident only to pass away later. Because they lived for a period, they had a right to pursue a personal injury claim from the date of the accident to the date of their death. While their death stopped them from doing so, the claim itself survives. The estate can pursue the compensation they would have been entitled to during their life through a survival action.
If your relative passed away immediately, then there is no personal injury claim. Instead, you and your family have a wrongful death claim to pursue. This covers your mental anguish the loss of their income, services, and companionship.
Call an Experienced Columbus Car Accident Lawyer
After incurring injuries or losing a loved one in a car accident in Columbus, OH, do not hesitate to contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick. With over 400 years of combined experience, our team is prepared to help you. We have 11 law offices to ensure we have an attorney close by who can handle your case. We offer a free case evaluation for your specific situation.