A professional car accident lawyer in Toledo 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 an 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 Car Accident Lawyer
An experienced car accident lawyer 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 an 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 Ohio Car Accident Lawyers can help ensure that all necessary evidence is presented and all essential witnesses are called during your case.
What Causes a Toledo Car Crash?
A car accident lawyer knows 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 in 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.
Car Accidents in Toledo
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 65,067 traffic crashes in Ohio during 2018. Of these, 996 were fatal crashes. 1,179 were traffic fatalities while 1,008 were motor vehicle fatalities. 145 pedestrians were killed in crashes and the motorcycle fatalities numbered at 157. In Lucas County where Toledo is located, OSHP investigated 829 crashes during 2018. The county is one of the state areas most prone to car crashes. It has consistently witnessed the second-highest number of crash fatalities on a yearly basis. Alcohol consumption and lack of safety measures remain the main causes of accident fatalities.
These numbers show that car accidents remain a leading cause of death and injury in Toledo and Ohio at large. If you or a loved one has been in a car crash, you can seek compensatory damages. The damages will help you cover your medical and financial losses brought on by the car accident. Here at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers, we work to safeguard your rights. Over the years, we have worked with car accident victims in Toledo to help them get fair compensation. We aim to help you get the best settlement you deserve.
Why do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may qualify for medical benefits, lost wages and other damages. However, your insurance company may try to underpay you on your claim. After all, if you don’t know what your claim is worth, you may end up receiving a smaller amount. A qualified car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and file a damages claim. Here at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers, we closely work with car accident victims. We understand your case, gather the evidence and then create a fool-proof claim. This significantly improves your chances of winning a damages claim.
At the same time, we investigate every aspect of your accident-related loss. We determine if you qualify for losses related to pain and suffering or loss of earning capacity. By considering all angles, we try to maximize the payout for you. Once you know the fair amount of compensation you deserve, your attorney can help you get it. You can legally file a claim on your own but it is fraught with risks. Most insurance companies are represented by formidable legal teams and attorneys. They may persuade you to settle for a smaller amount than you deserve. This is why you want an attorney on your side who can help you identify and protect your rights.
Our Ohio car accident lawyers understand the insurance law and have many experiences in working with Ohio state laws. We are able to leverage our expertise to help you win your claim. We also help you counter the obstacles put forth by the insurance companies.
How do I Pay a Car Accident Lawyer?
In most cases, hiring an attorney does cost a fortune. However, you can hire the best car accident attorneys in Toledo without paying virtually anything upfront. This is because most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. A contingency fee arrangement means that you don’t have to pay any money upfront. Instead, you let the attorney file your claim and fight it all the way to a decent settlement. Once your claim is settled and you have received the compensation you deserve, you can pay the attorney. At this point, you have to pay only the agreed-upon amount. This is usually a percentage of the settlement amount, somewhere between 20% and 40% in most cases. So if you received $10,000 in compensation and the contingency fee was 30%, you will pay your lawyer $3,000. After the attorney fees, you get $7,000.
The great thing about a contingency arrangement is that it costs you nothing in the short-term. In the wake of a car accident, you may have unexpected expenses. This puts many car crash victims in a financial crunch. Many are simply not in a position to pay an attorney after a crash. The contingency arrangement resolves this problem. At the same time, it ensures that your attorney is going to give his best to your case. After all, the attorney is going to get paid only if you get paid. So the attorney is sure to put in all his energy and expertise into winning your claim.
What is the Value of My Car Accident Claim?
The actual value of a car accident claim varies from one case to another. It depends on a number of factors such as the severity of the injuries, the parties involved and so on. Here at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers, our attorneys work closely with you. We understand the exact circumstances and details of your case. We also consult car crash experts, physicians and other professionals to accurately recreate an accident scenario.
Once we have all the details, we are able to formulate a suitable estimate for your damages claim. In most cases, your car accident claim will result in a settlement. A settlement is essentially an out-of-court agreement between the parties. If you and your insurance company agree on an amount for damages, this will result in a settlement. However, if the two parties can’t agree on the amount, the case will go to court. The court will then decide whether or not to award the damages and their exact amount.
What is Comparative Fault?
In any personal injury case, including car accidents, a party at-fault is simply the party responsible. If a driver ran a red light and caused an accident, he is held at fault. If a driver ran a red light and crashed into another driver that was overspeeding, both may be held at fault.
One or more parties can be held responsible for a car accident. The state of Ohio uses the comparative negligence law in personal injury cases. This law distributes blame to each party involved in an accident. So if you were involved in a car crash, you may be blamed anywhere between 0% and 100%. The percentage of your fault directly affects your damages claim. For instance, if you are found 30% at-fault, you receive 70% of the damages you qualify for. If you qualified for $10,000 in damages and were 30% at fault, you will receive $7,000.
However, there’s a catch to the comparative negligence law. The law says that you can file for damages only if you are 50% or less at fault for an accident. If you are more than 50% at-fault for the accident, you are no longer eligible for damages. You are also barred from filing a liability claim against any other driver.
What to do After a Car Accident in Toledo?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Ohio, follow these steps:
Seek medical attention
This one goes without saying but many car victims refuse medical care. You may be under the impression that you are not hurt after a car crash. But some injuries, such as a head injury, can go unnoticed at the moment. Only a close medical examination can determine the extent of your injuries. This is why it is important to let first responders and emergency medical professionals to attend to you.
Notify the authorities
If you’re not conscious or too injured to move, you should notify the authorities. This will speed up the emergency response to the incident. In many cases, you are required by law to stay at the scene of the accident. Once the police arrive and you make a statement, you can then drive away if your vehicle is drivable.
Note the details
You will need details related to the accident when filing a damages claim. Important details include the make, model and registration numbers of the vehicles involved. If you are not too hurt, you should also get details of the eyewitnesses and other drivers present. You can use your phone camera to take photographs or make videos of the accident site as well.
Do not blame anyone
It is best to avoid pinning responsibility on anyone after a car crash. Likewise, don’t admit to anything even if you think you were at fault. You should consult a professional attorney before you make any such statements to the police. Statements you make after the crash can be used by your insurance company against your claim.
Notify the insurance company
The first step towards seeking car accident damages is to consult your insurance company. The insurance company will ask you for details and investigate the matter on their own. In some cases, an insurance company may try to downplay your claim or refuse it outright. This is when you need the help of an attorney who can negotiate and argue on your behalf. If your insurance company doesn’t cooperate with you, get in touch with an attorney.
What is Covered by My Car Accident Claim?
A car accident claim is simply meant to help you recover your losses. A car crash may result in injuries, physical impairment, damage to property and inability to work. All of these are serious losses that impact your happiness, finances, and health. This is why you can claim damages to cover all these losses in a car accident claim. In most cases, a car accident claim covers the following:
Nearly all car accidents result in injuries, although the nature and severity of injuries may vary. Even the very basic injury requires some medical attention and the use of medicine. More serious injuries may require extended medical care, therapy, and rehabilitation. The money spent on these activities can quickly pile up. An accident claim helps you recoup these expenses from the at-fault party.
If a car accident has left you bedridden, you will likely miss work. Your inability to go to work may last a few days, a few months or even years in more serious cases. This is why you need to be compensated for lost wages. Your insurance company or the at-fault party is required to pay 60% of your average monthly wage.
Lost earning capacity
If the accident has damaged your career prospects, you can file for lost earning capacity damages. If you’ve developed an inability to do a specific task which you otherwise intended to do, this falls under lost earning capacity. These damages cover the loss of ability because of the car crash and the resulting financial losses. You may have to rethink your career choices after a serious accident-related injury. Lost earning capacity caters to this loss by letting you seek damages for it.
If a loved one has died in the car crash, you can file for wrongful death benefits. Any financial or emotional dependents of the deceased can file for these benefits. They cover funeral costs, pre-death medical expenses and possible loss of financial support for dependents.
Contact An Ohio Car Accident Lawyer Today!
At the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers, we are proud to represent our clients and use all of our skills, knowledge, and experience in order to fight for the best results for our clients. Contact us today by calling (844)-853-7373 and discuss your case with one of our experienced Toledo car accident attorneys today.