Could Ohio’s New Distracted Driving Law Affect Your Car Accident Case?
Posted in: Car Accidents
KNR Legal Blog
A car crash can happen in seconds but leave you with lasting effects, injuries, and high expenses. You may wonder about car insurance after an accident and who will pay for the damages or your medical bills if you were hurt in the accident.
Ohio’s car insurance requirements for all drivers are the same, but the rules around whose insurance pays and when can quickly become complicated.
The state of Ohio requires the following minimum insurance coverages:
The state recommends that you purchase coverage beyond the minimums since accidents can be so costly – quickly exceeding the minimum policy limit.
You are responsible for paying the damages your insurance doesn’t cover — if you can’t pay out of pocket, you could face severe penalties such as wage garnishment or asset seizure.
Ohio follows the tort or at-fault insurance system. This means that if you are in a car accident, the driver who is more at fault (and, by extension, their insurance) will be held financially responsible for the damages.
If both drivers are liable, they can recover damages according to their degree of responsibility. This comparative negligence standard reduces the damages someone can recover according to their percentage of negligence. For example, if you were found to be 20% negligent, you could only recover 80% of your total damages instead of the full amount.
Insurance adjusters typically calculate your percentage of negligence from both parties involved in the accident; however, you can dispute your attributed share of negligence in court if you can successfully prove that the other driver’s negligence exceeded your own.
Determining liability in Ohio car accidents can be difficult. Still, you can strengthen your case by keeping evidence such as a copy of the police report, your medical reports, and photos documenting your vehicle damages.
Even if you can prove the other driver’s liability, no two accidents are the same. The specific circumstances of your car crash could affect how you recover compensation, such as:
Due to Ohio’s comparative negligence law, as long as you are found to be less than 50% negligent in the accident, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to recover damages.
If you are 51% or more at fault, you can only file a claim with your own insurance.
If the other driver involved in your accident is uninsured, you can sue them for the damages you incurred. However, it can be a lengthy and challenging process to recover compensation from an uninsured driver.
Ohio recommends carrying uninsured motorist protection in addition to the minimum coverage described above; this way, you can file a claim with your insurance and recover compensation more quickly.
Generally, car insurance follows the vehicle. If you lend your car to a friend and they get in an accident, your insurance policy is the primary and should cover the damages. The same idea applies if the other car involved in your accident was being driven by someone who wasn’t the owner; the owner’s insurance will apply.
However, this coverage can vary between insurance policies and can get even more complicated in some scenarios, like if your friend took your car without your permission — in that case, your friend’s insurance would most likely become the primary coverage.
Ask your insurance company about how your coverage would apply in specific situations like the ones above and contact a car accident attorney if you don’t know what steps.
Receiving compensation after a car accident isn’t always easy or fair.
If you’re facing insurance issues and are worried about receiving full compensation after a car accident, the experienced car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick can help. We can evaluate your case, help you establish liability, and maximize the damages you recover.
To set up a free case consultation, contact us online or call 1-800-HURT-NOW today.