Auto accidents can be extremely expensive. You may have substantial vehicle damage and repairs or replacement to worry about in addition to the expenses of medical treatment and the loss of any wages that come from your time recovering. While some auto accidents are very minor and involve very little damage, the expensive ones can ruin you financially. This is exactly why there are laws in Ohio and elsewhere regarding auto insurance coverage.
Financial Responsibility Laws Require Liability Insurance Coverage
Financial responsibility laws in Ohio and other states require liability insurance coverage to be carried by all drivers. Nobody is legally permitted to operate any vehicle without having such coverage – and prove of that coverage, as established in Section 4509.101 of the Ohio Revised Code. You must be covered by this insurance throughout the registration period of the vehicle or throughout the time that you are using that vehicle (if you do not own it). Each state also holds minimum requirements for auto insurance liability coverage. It is important for drivers to know what those requirements are, to know what they are covered for, and to strongly consider having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Minimum Auto Insurance Liability Coverage Requirements in Ohio
Ohio law sets forth the minimum auto insurance liability coverage requirements as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury coverage/wrongful death coverage per person per accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury coverage/wrongful death coverage per 2+ persons per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
One thing that has changed recently regarding proof of auto insurance in Ohio is that as of March 23, 2015, you are legally allowed to show proof of your insurance via wireless device, rather than being required to hold a paper document in your vehicle at all times. With the increasing use of smartphones, and the ever present likelihood of losing a piece of paper in your vehicle, this has made it much easier for Ohioans to uphold the laws of maintaining proof of auto insurance liability coverage while driving.
Be Aware of What Your Auto Insurance Policy Covers
There are different types of auto insurance coverage and different options for limits. If you have comprehensive coverage, then you hold the legal liability coverage and coverage for your own vehicle as well. If you have the minimum limits of liability coverage, then you may find that it is not enough in some accidents. You always have the option of purchasing more coverage than the legally required minimums for liability insurance. You also have the option of purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which is an excellent way of protecting yourself from the enormous expense that you might face if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. This is not legally required in Ohio, but it is a good thing to have. Typically, it will only cost a little bit extra on your auto insurance policy.
What To Do After an Ohio Auto Accident
If you are involved in an auto accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, then you need to know what to do. Your first step will depend on the severity and urgency of your injuries. If your injuries are so severe that you need emergency attention, then getting to the hospital will be the first step. If your injuries are less severe, then the first step will be to contact the police and wait at the scene of the accident until they arrive. Then, you will seek medical treatment to identify and treat any injuries that may have occurred. You should then maintain records and evidence of the accident and your medical care, expenses and financial losses.
You will then file a claim with the insurance company of the at fault driver. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may need to file a claim with your auto insurance company as well (or instead, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance). Even if you do not have insurance, you still have a right to seek compensation from the insurance of the at fault driver. Having said that, communicating with the insurance company of the at fault driver can be a dangerous and delicate process, where it is easy to say the wrong thing and minimize the value of your claim from the insurance company’s perspective. This is where it helps to have an attorney to assist with these communications and protect your rights.
How the Attorneys at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Whatever the circumstances of your auto accident, the dedicated Cleveland, Ohio car crash attorneys at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers are here for you. We can help you to file your claim, prove liability, prove injuries, and reach a fair settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Call us today for a free consultation.