A driver of a pickup truck that set off a chain reaction accident involving multiple vehicles on I-90 shut down this major highway for over nine hours and is now facing charges as a result of the accident. Authorities are trying to piece together what happened, as the pickup driver allegedly does not know what caused him to run off the road and strike a disabled vehicle. Hitting the broken down vehicle was just the beginning of a series of collisions that continued when the pickup reentered the traffic lanes and struck a tar truck, which then struck two additional vehicles before flipping over. In what had to be an unbelievable scene, the tar truck spilled its load of about 1100 gallons of tar over the highway, which immediately started to set and dry in the extremely hot midday temperatures. In total, three people suffered injuries in this chain of events, and two went to the hospital. By some miracle, no one involved in this fiasco was seriously injured.
Assigning Fault After an Accident for Insurance Purposes
In some cases, it is difficult to determine who is at fault after an accident. Many times, experts need to be brought in to determine what happened and why. In other cases, it may be easier to conclude who should be held liable. Determining liability is important in an auto accident cases because, in many states such as Ohio that follow a fault system with respect to car insurance, whoever is at fault for the accident is liable for any losses stemming from the accident. Accident victims involved in crashes that are found to be the fault of another driver have the option of pursuing compensation for their losses by either filing a claim under their own insurance policy, filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or by filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In a fault-based state, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will usually cover repair costs, medical bills, pain and suffering, and sometimes even other losses such as lost wages.
Fault Systems Vs. No Fault Systems
Interestingly, three states that border Ohio follow the no-fault system with respect to car insurance. Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania all use the no-fault system which comes with an entirely different approach. In these states, accident victims are required to file a claim first with their own insurance company and either reach the policy limits or a specific damages threshold before they are able to file a claim against the other driver – regardless of which driver may have actually caused the accident. The medical expenses for each driver are usually covered by their own insurance policy, but property damage such as repair costs are paid by the insurance company covering the at-fault driver. The no-fault states are in the minority, as far as car insurance is concerned, as the majority of states use the fault system.
How Is Fault Determined?
Insurance companies use one of several different ways of determining fault based on how negligence is defined by the state. In particular, Ohio is a comparative negligence state, and has been since the 1980s. Under this theory of negligence, accident victims can pursue damages in amounts proportionate to how much each driver is found to be at fault for a particular accident. So, for example, in an accident in which each driver is found to be equally responsible, or at fault, for the accident, each driver would be able to pursue up to 50 percent of their damages from the other driver’s insurance company. Likewise, in an accident in which you are found to be 25 percent at fault and the other driver is found to be 75 percent at fault, you could seek up to 75 percent of your damages from the other driver’s insurer. A variation of strict comparative negligence is modified comparative negligence, which prohibits a driver from pursuing the other driver’s insurance company for losses sustained in an accident in which the first driver is found to be at least 50 percent at fault. The last of the schools of thought about negligence is the contributory or pure contributory theory; with these, if a driver is any part responsible for an accident, he or she cannot recoup any damages such as repair costs or medical expenses from the other driver’s insurance company. Only those who are completely without blame in an accident would be permitted to make any kind of recovery for their losses from the other driver’s insurer.
Avoid Accepting Blame for an Accident – Leave it to the Experts
When involved in an accident, because we are generally good people who care about the well being and safety of others, we often instinctively apologize. In this type of setting, however, even that seemingly simple “I’m sorry” can be used against you. Let the police gather their information and provide the facts truthfully, but never admit fault. Especially in the emotional and stressful post-accident scenario, the situation may not be what it seems at first glance and it is best to let the facts determine fault instead of your apologetic concern for the others involved.
The Ohio Car Accident Lawyers – When Accidents Occur, Contact Us
Regardless of how careful – or negligent – we are, accidents are going to occur. When they do, you want to be able to turn to someone who can help you get the recovery you deserve for your losses. This is where the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers comes in. Our experienced auto accident legal professionals in Cincinnati know Ohio law and how an accident case and its accompanying issues of negligence and fault are handled by the legal system. We can help you to understand what rights you may have under Ohio law and what to expect when you file a claim. We will review your case with you and work with you to develop a case strategy to get the best possible results. Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers now to schedule your appointment and get started today towards the road to recovery.