Car accidents are usually very difficult to handle but keeping in mind the fact that in most cities in the US, population is increasing, the economy is thriving, and the number of drivers on the road is on the rise, there is no denying that the number of car accidents is also increasing at the same pace. In addition, a large majority of drivers on the roads today are distracted, reckless, drunk and/or intoxicated; keeping yourself safe on the roads can thus be quite a challenge. Often, people who get into car accidents want to know how fault will be determined once the accident is reported and investigated. Determining fault can be fairly complicated, but some of the main reasons where you might be held liable include:
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
- Breaking a red light
- Failure to use turn signals
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Being careless or reckless in poor driving conditions
- Driving while texting, calling or any other activity that results in distraction.
It is important for you to know that Cincinnati, OH follows the “fault” system. Also known as the tort system, under this system, if you are in a car accident, the driver who is considered to be at-fault will be the one who is held liable for any damages that are incurred as a result of the accident. This will include injuries to the other driver and any passengers as well as any damages to the vehicle.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be the one responsible for providing this coverage to the not-at-fault injured driver. The injured driver in question can seek damages either:
- through his car insurance policy by filing a claim
- through the civil court by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver
- through the at-fault driver’s insurance company by pursuing a third-party claim
The law in Cincinnati requires every licensed driver with a registered vehicle on the road to carry insurance coverage. The minimum liability insurance required under Ohio law is:
- $25,000 for injuries or death, per person
- $50,000 total for injuries or death to 2 people or more in any 1 accident
- $25,000 for property damage in an accident
Drivers can also have optional coverage which could include collision to cover any accident-related damages; comprehensive coverage that could cover non-accident related damages; uninsured/underinsured coverage that could cover damages in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and towing and labor to cover any such expenses. This coverage is not mandatory but good to have.
How is Fault Determined for Cincinnati Car Accidents?
In case both the drivers involved in the accident were negligent, then the task is to determine the level of negligence from each side. Previously, Ohio used to follow the contributory negligence law. Under this old law, drivers who suffered injuries but were also partially responsible for the accident, could not recover any losses. This was the case even if the injured party was only 1% at fault. As long as the injured party contributed to the accident, he was not entitled to any damages.
However, Cincinnati now follows the comparative negligence approach when determining fault in car accidents. The comparative negligence approach is based on the premise that a plaintiff can file a claim for damages if their fault level was less than 50%. The level of compensation for the party who files the claim will thus be based on their level of fault. For example, if the injured party was 30% at fault and the other party was 70% at fault, the injured party’s potential compensation will be reduced by 30%. In other words, if you suffer damages of $5000, you can recover $3500. Keep in mind that if you are more than 50% at-fault, you will not be entitled to claim any damages.
You also have to keep in mind that all insurance policies come with certain deductibles. This can also play a role in how much compensation you receive. If you have been in a car accident, whether you are partially at fault, completely at fault or not at fault at all, you should remember not to put too much faith in the insurance companies. They might promote themselves as your saviors in times of a crisis, but that is really not their primary goal. Insurance is a business and insurance companies are in this business to make a profit. This can often be at your expense. Therefore, if you ever get into a car accident in Cincinnati, keep a few tips in mind:
- do not accept the first settlement the insurance company offers you because in most cases, this initial offer will not cover the extent of damages that you may have incurred.
- do not be pressured by these insurance companies; consult a lawyer before you sign or agree to anything.
- do not sign any waivers and statements because Cincinnati follows an “at-fault” approach when it comes to auto-accidents and you do not want to take the blame for something you did not do.
- do not let the insurance company or the other driver transfer the blame to you. Be smart and consult a lawyer.
Consult with a Cincinnati Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been in a car accident, contact one of our lawyers at Chester Law Group today. We are an established personal injury law firm with 19 office locations across Ohio. Our legal team has significant experience in dealing with personal injury claims related to car accidents. We have helped numerous accident victims recover damages that they have incurred in these incidents. Our experienced lawyers understand that being in an accident can be very traumatic, especially if you have suffered serious injuries. We also know that insurance companies do not operate in a way that is likely to benefit the injured party. We are here to protect you from being deprived of the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers will listen to your side of the story, determine the specifics of your case, file all the necessary claims and documents and defend you both out-of-court and in-court. Call us now at 1-800-218-4243, and we will be happy to assist you any way we can.