Car Wreck Attorneys, can they help? If you’re looking to win your lawsuit, an experienced Cleveland car accident lawyer in Ohio can be your lifeline. A car accident can upend your family’s life and lifestyle. A trip that starts as a routine shopping trip or a commute home to your family can end with you sustaining catastrophic injuries and leave you with thousands of dollars in expenses. When your accident has been caused by the negligent or careless actions of another driver or other responsible party, you should not have to bear the expenses and losses of your injuries alone.
A car accident lawsuit is available to those injured in a car accident that was caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of another person or entity. A successful lawsuit will result in the injured party (the “plaintiff”) recovering financial compensation from the at-fault party or parties (the “defendant(s)”).
Merely being injured in a car accident is not enough to entitle you to compensation: you and your Cleveland car accident lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant’s behavior was unreasonable such that no reasonable driver under similar circumstances would have acted in the way the defendant acted and that this behavior or these actions are what caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Succeeding in your car accident lawsuit, then, can take the assistance and skill of an experienced Cleveland car accident attorney.
Why do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in a car crash in Cleveland, you may seek compensatory damages. To do so, you will need to file a claim against the insurance company. In some cases, you may file the claim against another driver. In most cases, the other party will try to fight your claim. Insurance companies may try to downplay the seriousness of your injuries. You may face an uphill battle to prove your claim and get the damages you deserve.
This is where a car accident attorney can be immensely helpful. Our Ohio car accident lawyers have many years of experience in helping crash victims get damages. Our attorneys are very well-versed in the law and know the legalities related to insurance claims. When you hire an attorney, he will fight for your rights and negotiate on your behalf. Whether the claim is against the insurance company or another driver, your attorney will ensure a fair settlement for you.
You can legally file a claim on your own but you may end up losing the claim. With legal help from a professional car accident lawyer, your odds of winning damages are a lot better. You can even get free consultation and advice on your case before actually hiring the attorney. To book your free consultation session with our attorneys, contact us today.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Ohio
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death in the United States. For younger age groups, car crashes are among the top ten causes of fatality according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. Most traffic accidents are simply caused by negligence. This negligence results in a breach of the duty of care a driver owes to others. When this breach occurs and results in injuries to others, it is liable to a damages claim. Following are some of the most frequent types of negligence that result in car crashes:
A huge number of car crashes take place when people drink and drive. In the state of Ohio alone, 3,637 deaths have been caused by drunk driving between 2003 and 2012. 2.2% of drivers in Ohio report driving after drinking too much. This is in contrast to the national average of 1.9%. These numbers come from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Speeding is another major factor that leads to car crashes. A speeding driver is a risk for everyone else near him. Crashes that happen due to speeding are also more serious as they involve more high-impact collisions between vehicles.
Texting and Driving
Using a cellphone during driving is a huge risk. Even worse is to text during driving which creates an imminent risk of an accident. Many car accidents take place when drivers text and drive at the same time.
This is a broad category that includes many forms of negligence. Careless driving can be reckless driving or simply distracted driving. It basically involves a breach of the duty of care of the driver due for no notable reason.
At the end of the day, every car accident is different and unique. Each accident has its own set of circumstances and causes. This is why our Ohio car accident lawyers closely work with you to reconstruct the facts of your car accident. Our attorneys help you gather the relevant evidence, solicit opinions of crash experts and other parties, and put together your damages claim.
What to do After a Car Accident in Cleveland?
Your immediate concern after a car accident should be your own safety and well-being. Seek immediate medical care after the crash. Once you leave the site of the accident, visit a doctor and undergo a more detailed examination. Some accident-related injuries take some time to manifest and are not immediately apparent. It is best to let a doctor examine you thoroughly and see for any internal injuries.
Another important thing to do after a crash is to cooperate with the authorities. The police will likely reach the site of the accident in no time. Give them the facts of the accident and answer any questions they have. However, try to avoid accepting blame or pinning it on another person. You must also notify your insurance carrier and tell them about the car accident. This is a requirement with most insurance companies and it is best to comply. But you are not obliged to accept any settlement offer your insurance company immediately makes. You must also not sign any agreements or documents before consulting a lawyer.
Consulting a car accident attorney is of vital significance after the crash. The attorney will help you negotiate for a larger and fairer settlement with the insurance company. You can also rely on your attorney to file a damages claim and seek the largest amount of compensation for your losses. When you have a qualified attorney with you, your odds of receiving damages are a lot better.
How do I Pay My Car Accident Attorney?
A car accident can lead to unexpected expenses and a financial crunch. If you’ve been in a car accident, you probably have to deal with medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages and more. When you are dealing with all this, you may think that hiring an attorney will only cost you more money. The good news is that you don’t have to pay anything upfront to a car accident attorney in Cleveland. Most attorneys work on car accident cases on a contingency basis. For you, this means that you can hire the help of an attorney even if you have no money. As per the contingency fee arrangement, you can simply pay your attorney once you get the damages.
Our Ohio car accident lawyers also work on a contingency basis. We do this to ensure that we offer timely legal help to car crash victims. You are obliged to pay us only if you are paid. Once you are paid, you simply pay an agreed-upon percentage to your attorney. In most cases, this is 1/3rd of the amount of compensation. So if you receive 9,000, you pay $3,000 to your attorney. This percentage may vary depending on the facts of the case.
If the claim is less likely to succeed, the attorney is taking a greater risk in working on it. In such an instance, the lawyer may charge a higher contingency fee. Similarly, if a claim is straight-forward, you may argue for a lower contingency fee. However, in all cases, you pay only once you receive the compensation. For the lawyer, this serves as an incentive to work all the harder and make sure your claim is redeemed. For you, this ensures that no additional financial burden is placed on you in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Comparative Fault Law in Cleveland, Ohio
The determination of fault is an important part of a car accident investigation. Fault determines which party is responsible for causing the accident. In many cases, fault lies with a single driver. But in some cases, more than one party may be responsible for an accident. For instance, if a speeding driver collides with a driver who is drunk, both may bear the blame for the accident.
In such situations, the blame is said to be shared. It is distributed between the responsible parties according to the degree of their mistake. The comparative fault law lets you seek damages even if you are partly responsible for an accident. However, your percentage of blame must not be above 50%. If your at-fault percentage is less than 50%, you can still recover compensation. However, the percentage of your fault will be deducted from your net compensation amount.
For instance, if you were 40% to blame for an accident, you will get 60% of the compensation you qualify for. If you qualified for $10,000, you will get $6,000 after the deduction of the comparative fault amount. There’s a catch to this rule: if your responsibility is above 50%, then you are no longer eligible to seek damages. In such a case, the Ohio law holds you responsible for the accident and bars you from filing a claim for compensation.
What is the Value of My Claim?
The actual worth of a car accident claim depends on many factors. These include the testimony of the eyewitnesses, the drivers involved, and the extent of damage and injury. Other factors also play a role. If you are partially responsible for the accident, you may lose a portion of the compensatory damages.
To get a real idea of the worth of your claim, it is best to talk to a qualified Cleveland car accident attorney. An attorney will look at the facts of your case and provide you a general estimate of the settlement you deserve. It is important because, without an attorney’s advice, you may accept a much smaller settlement. Our Ohio car accident lawyers provide free consultation and advice to car accident victims. Contact us today to get into a one-on-one session with our attorneys. In this session, you can ask our attorneys to provide you an estimate of your claim.
Cleveland Auto Accident Lawyer – Statistics
Cleveland is one of the four largest cities in Ohio (the other ones being Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo). Along with Cleveland’s large population comes a heightened number of car accidents compared with smaller towns. The Ohio Department of Public Safety maintains statistics on the number of car crashes and related fatalities and injuries that occur each year in Ohio’s cities and towns. For Cleveland, in 2014 there were:
- Over 13,000 car crashes of all types:
- Over 3,500 car crashes resulting in 5,470 injuries; and
- Over 16 fatal car crashes resulting in 17 deaths.
Ohio Car Accident Law: Determining Fault
Although the Ohio Department of Public Safety does not separate these numbers into “no-fault” accidents (in which there is no determination as to the cause of the crash and no assignment of responsibility for the crash) and accidents caused by the actions of one driver or the other, Cleveland car accident lawyers know that the vast majority of crashes occur because one or more drivers or persons acted in a careless manner under the circumstances. This occurs, for example, when a driver:
- Drinks alcohol or consumes drugs that impair his or her ability to drive;
- Sends or receives text messages or e-mails, attempts to dial phone numbers, changes the radio, carries on a conversation with another passenger or with someone on the phone, or has his or her eyes and/or attention distracted from the many tasks associated with driving;
- Disobeys stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights;
- Speeds too fast for the prevailing road and traffic conditions;
- Violates other well-established traffic laws without just cause;
- Drives a vehicle knowing the vehicle is in a poor state of repair;
- Operates a vehicle that has had maintenance work done to it in a careless manner;
- Drives a vehicle that has a design defect or a manufacturing defect of some sort; and/or
- Drives on a road poorly designed or poorly maintained.
Contributing Factors a Cleveland Auto Wreck
Car wreck lawyers are well aware that there can be any number of causes that contributed to your injuries and any number of individuals responsible for contributing to your injuries. Identifying these causes and individuals is an integral part of your lawsuit. Defendants are only responsible for that portion of the plaintiff’s injuries and losses for which they themselves caused. (So, for instance, a plaintiff who sustains $100,000 in losses and only sues the defendant who is 10% responsible for causing the plaintiff’s injuries will only recover $10,000 from that particular defendant.) Thus, a plaintiff who wishes to recover the maximum amount of compensation available in his or her case must be certain that he or she has brought suit against all responsible parties.
Car Accident Attorney Cleveland Ohio – Injuries
Our expert staff of car accident attorneys will aggressively pursue compensation for your injuries. The injuries you sustain in a car accident depend on a variety of factors. They can vary with each car accident. The speed at which the vehicle(s) are traveling at the time of impact, the quality of the car itself and its components, the angle at which the vehicles strike one another, and other relevant factors. Common injuries include:
Cuts and lacerations
from glass and sharp metal edges. Some of these cuts may be deep and bleed profusely while others may be more minor. If not properly treated, a deep cut or laceration may become infected, requiring additional treatment in order to heal properly.
Bruises and internal trauma
that may or may not be immediately apparent after a car crash. While some bruising goes away on its own after some time, other internal trauma may require immediate medical care. This is to prevent the trauma from causing serious complications.
which can also occur as a result of car accidents. Example – if flammable or combustible fluids leak from one or more of the cars and these fluids catch fire. Serious burns can be extremely painful and require a significant amount of treatment in order to fully heal. Even when there has been a “complete” recovery from a burn injury, scars and disfigurement may nevertheless still remain.
or the loss of a limb or appendage, which can occur when a finger or hand is severed as it is pressed against a sharp, jagged piece of metal or when an appendage is crushed between two hard surfaces in an accident. Even with a prosthetic limb, the plaintiff is likely to find it difficult to fully participate in the workforce and/or return to those activities that he or she previously enjoyed.
Head, neck, and spine injuries
which can occur due to the sheer size of the forces involved in a car crash. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be some of the most severe head injuries sustainable in a car crash. Depending on the severity of the TBI, a victim with a TBI can require hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment over the course of his or her lifetime. Neck and spine injuries can result in either temporary or permanent paralysis or pain.
Regardless of whether your injuries are minor or are catastrophic, it is important that you seek immediate medical treatment. It is also critical you follow your doctor’s treatment plan. A Cleveland car accident attorney can help ensure you take the proper steps following your crash to protect your rights.
What Compensation Can I Receive in a Cleveland Car Accident Lawsuit?
Our car accident attorneys will help ensure you take the proper steps. The compensation available to a successful plaintiff in a Cleveland car accident lawsuit is meant to address economic losses. Losses the plaintiff sustained as a result of the crash as well as any noneconomic damages. The overall goal is to put the plaintiff back into the position he or she occupied prior to the crash. This is sometimes referred to as making the plaintiff “whole”.
An experienced Cleveland car accident lawyer knows that compensation is awarded only to losses that are directly attributable to the defendant’s negligence or recklessness. If a loss was related to the car crash but not caused by the defendant, the plaintiff cannot obtain payment for that expense from the defendant. Instead, he or she would need to file a separate lawsuit against the person or entity who caused that particular loss. In addition, if the plaintiff’s own negligent conduct contributed to his or her injuries in some manner, then the compensation the plaintiff can receive from the defendant.
Common expenses and losses compensated through successful Cleveland car accident cases include:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance costs, emergency room treatment, hospital stays, necessary surgeries, and any other expense related to the initial diagnosis and treatment of your injury;
- Ongoing treatment costs if your injuries require you to follow up with your doctor. Or if you suffer serious injuries that require ongoing medical care or in-home care;
- Lost wages for any time you had to miss from work as a result of your injuries;
- Lost future wages if you are unable to return to your previous position (either temporarily or permanently);
- Attorney’s fees associated with bringing your car accident lawsuit;
- Pain and suffering for any mental pain or anguish associated with your injuries; and/or
- Punitive damages – damages that are designed to punish the defendant. – are sometimes available if the actions of the defendant were due to a willful and deliberate action and not mere carelessness.
These damages must be proven with some objective evidence or supporting testimony in order to be compensable. Your medical bills and notes will establish the extent of your past and future medical expenses. Also, your employment records can help determine how much compensation is needed for your lost wages and lost future earnings. Other compensable items (such as pain and suffering and punitive damages) can be much more difficult to quantify. Your Cleveland auto accident lawyer will work with you to identify those items and losses for which compensation may be available and gathering evidence and testimony that can be used to support your claimed damages.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Cleveland, OH to Represent Me in My Lawsuit?
The decision to hire a Cleveland car accident lawyer or proceed pro se (i.e., represent yourself) is a difficult decision. Before you decide to “go it alone” and represent yourself, consider these facts:
- Like any other civil lawsuit, car accident lawsuits involve complex rules of evidence and procedure. If you choose to represent yourself, the court holds you to the same standard. You have the same expectations of you as if you were a licensed Cleveland car accident lawyer. This can lead to a waiver of several important rights you may have in your case. Not only this, but neither the judge nor the car accident attorney for the opposing side will be able to help you during the pendency of your case or provide you with legal advice.
- Your daily life after a car accident will involve (at least for the short term) calls from insurance adjusters, mandatory doctors’ visits, and other new obligations. An experienced Cleveland car accident attorney can help you handle important aspects of your claim for compensation so that you are free to focus on your health and your family.
- Locating important witnesses and securing evidence needed to help give your lawsuit a fighting chance can consume a significant amount of time and money. Whereas a car accident victim is not likely to have the resources necessary to complete these tasks, an experienced Cleveland car accident law firm should have those resources and the experience to know how to use them efficiently.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in Cleveland Today
The Ohio Car Accident Lawyers represents Cleveland residents and those elsewhere throughout Ohio in car accident lawsuit claims. Our clients’ trust is of paramount importance to us. We want our clients to know that we devote ourselves to their cases and to attempt to obtain for them the compensation they need and deserve. Fill out our online form and learn how our staff of Cleveland car accident attorneys may be of assistance.