Toledo Auto Accident Attorney – Aggressive Legal Representation
A professional auto accident attorney will help you understand your rights and will make sure those rights are being protected. With over 300,000 residents within the city limits alone (according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety), Toledo ranks as one of the largest cities in the Buckeye State. While a large population supports a number of leisurely activities, amenities, and cultural attractions, it also poses a danger to motorists who must use Toledo’s highways and roads for pleasure or business commuting.
Motorists who become involved in a crash can face a variety of injuries ranging in severity from minor cuts to serious injuries. When these car accidents are caused by the careless or reckless behavior of another driver, the injury victim may be able to recover compensation for his or her injuries through a Toledo car crash lawsuit.
Toledo Car Crash Statistics
Toledo’s status as one of Ohio’s largest cities is reflected in its statistics concerning car crashes as well. Toledo ranks near the top of Ohio’s list in the number of car crashes and related fatalities and injuries that occur on a yearly basis. In 2014 for example, the Ohio Department of Public Safety found that Toledo had:
- Nearly 9,000 car crashes of all types;
- Of those 9,000 car crashes, 27 involved at least one fatality and over 2,500 resulted in at least one injury; and
- In all, there were 29 car crash fatalities and 3,796 car crash injuries in Toledo alone.
It is easy for a car crash victim to be injured twice: once during the actual accident itself, and again when the victim is forced to pay for the medical expenses and endure the financial losses that come with a car crash. A lawsuit through a auto accident attorney is a vehicle through which injury victims who suffered a loss in a car accident caused by someone else can obtain financial compensation so that they are not victimized twice.
Winning Your Lawsuit With the Help of a Toledo Auto Accident Attorney
An experienced car accident attorney knows that if your car crash claim does not settle, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or entity responsible for causing your crash in order to obtain compensation for your injuries and losses. In any car crash lawsuit, the injured party (referred to as the “plaintiff”) must prove by a preponderance of the evidence – that is, show it is more likely true than not – that the following four factual propositions exist:
- First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant – those accused of causing the car accident – owed the plaintiff a duty of care. A duty of care exists anytime the law requires one person to act in a certain manner in a given situation. Our auto accident attorneys will tell you that the duty of care does not require the defendant to affirmatively prevent harm from occurring to the plaintiff unless the defendant caused the plaintiff to be put in danger of harm. For example, a person is not required to help another person who falls into the street and into the path of an oncoming car: the person could, if he or she chose to do so, watch as the other person is struck by the car. But the first person would owe a legal duty to the other person to attempt to rescue him or her if the first person pushed the other person into the patch of the oncoming car. In most ordinary circumstances, every person owes every other person a duty to act in a reasonably careful manner. In the context of a car accident lawsuit, every driver owes every other driver an obligation to drive his or her car in a reasonably safe manner. (In most car accident lawsuits, this factual proposition is not contested.)
- Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care by engaging in reckless or negligent conduct under the circumstances. In other words, it must be shown that the behavior the defendant engaged in just prior to the accident was conduct that an objective and reasonable person in the same situation would not have engaged in. Some cases are rather clear: driving while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance is a relatively clear example of careless or reckless behavior. Other conduct is not so clear cut: driving the speed limit when it is raining outside, for example. The existence of this proposition is frequently litigated and is often decided on a case-by-case basis.
- Third, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s conduct that breached the duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injuries. There must be a causal connection between the injuries that are the subject of the lawsuit and the defendant’s careless conduct. If the plaintiff would have been injured anyway despite the defendant’s actions, then the plaintiff’s compensation award he or she can recover from the defendant may be reduced – or denied altogether. Proving this element can be tricky for a auto accident attorney when there are intervening events between the negligent act and the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, suppose a defendant municipality fails to properly fill in a pothole. Driver A is traveling along the road, driving a car with a loose tire that Driver A’s mechanic failed to properly install on his vehicle and that Driver A failed to inspect before leaving the shop. Driver A hits the pothole, causing the tire to separate from Driver A’s car. The tire smashes through the windshield of Driver B’s car, causing serious injuries to Driver B. In a car crash lawsuit, Driver B will need to establish that but for the defendant’s failure to fill in the pothole, none of the other events – including his injuries – would have occurred.
- Lastly, the plaintiff must prove the extent of his damages or losses. This is an easily-forgotten element to an inexperienced auto accident attorney. It must be proven as part of the plaintiff’s case or the plaintiff loses. If the plaintiff has not suffered any harm or loss, then there is nothing the court can do for the plaintiff. Medical bills, wage statements and attendance records, and other such documentation is often used to establish the extent of the plaintiff’s economic losses. The testimony of the plaintiff or others may be necessary if the plaintiff is seeking noneconomic damages, such as those for pain and suffering.
A successful car accident lawsuit does not occur without careful planning and strategizing. By reviewing these elements and then asking what evidence or testimony is available in your case to satisfy that particular element, your Toledo auto accident attorney at the Chester Law Group can help ensure that all necessary evidence is presented and all essential witnesses are called during your case.
What Causes a Toledo Car Crash?
Auto accident attorneys know that there can be many causes of a Toledo car crash: most of them are attributable to a careless or reckless choice made by a driver.
A careless choice or action is one that is engaged in without much thought but that, had the person actually thought about the choice or action, the person would not have otherwise engaged in. A reckless choice or action is completed when a person is aware of the risk or dangers of a certain course of action but chooses to engage in that course of action anyway. In either case, careless or reckless actions that result a car crash involving injury to others can be the subject of a car crash lawsuit.
When a defendant is found to have acted carelessly or recklessly, it can be said that the defendant “breached” the duty of care that he or she owed to the injured plaintiff. Some common ways this “breach” occurs in the context of car accidents include:
- Driving while distracted, such as by driving while texting another person, reading an e-mail, carrying on a conversation over the phone or with another passenger, reaching to change the radio, attempting to quiet a noisy child: essentially any activity that diverts the driver’s eyes and/or attention away from the road can be considered “distracted driving.”
- Driving while impaired by a substance such as alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or over-the-counter substances. Even if the defendant is permitted by law to consume the substance, he or she may not consume the substance if it impairs his or her ability to focus on the many tasks associated with safely driving a car. If he or she does anyway, it may be considered a negligent or reckless act and your auto accident attorney will act accordingly.
- Disobeying traffic laws by speeding, changing lanes without signaling, failing to yield to other traffic when required to do so, and driving too fast for the prevailing road conditions. Because many traffic laws are enacted for safety reasons, disobeying a traffic law is often easily labeled as negligent or reckless behavior.
- Third-party negligence such as a manufacturer who creates a defective car part or a municipality or construction firm that negligently designs or constructs a road. In these cases, the carelessness of the third party sets into motion a series of events that ends with the plaintiff being injured.
It is important that your auto accident attorney conduct a thorough investigation into your case so that all causes & responsible parties are identified. This is essential to ensuring that you are afforded the opportunity to recover as much compensation as possible.
Why Do You Need a Toledo Auto Accident Attorney?
The law does not require you to have an auto accident attorney represent you in court – you are able to represent yourself, or appear pro se. That said, it is often a very wise decision to retain experienced and dedicated counsel to represent your interests in your car accident lawsuit:
- First: Car accident lawsuits involve rules of procedure and substance that govern when you must file your claim and the contents of your initial petition as well as any additional documents you may need to file. An experienced auto accident attorney will be familiar with these rules so that you do not need to worry about them.
- Second: Insurance companies will want to speak with you after your accident and often do not care if they are interrupting an important meeting or doctor visit. Your dedicated auto accident attorney can handle the insurance companies for you so you can get back to living your life.
- Third: A knowledgeable auto accident attorney will know the evidence and testimony necessary to give you the best chance of winning your case and will know how to go about locating, protecting, and securing that evidence or testimony at court. Such an endeavor, if undertaken by an untrained and injured motorist, can take a significant amount of time and resources.
At the Chester Law Group, we are proud to represent our clients and use all of our skill, knowledge, and experience in order to fight for the best results for our clients. Contact us today and discuss your case with one our experienced Toledo auto accident attorneys today. Call us at (419) 210-5450 or contact us online today.