Witnessing the aftermath of a car crash is likely a common event on your morning commute. Car accidents occur every day on Hamilton County highways and on the crowded streets of Cincinnati, OH. This means anyone can leave home hoping to have a great day, and see the intersection they cross every day turn into a car crash scene and their lives turned upside down due to a distracted, impaired, or negligent driver.
The first minutes after a car accident are critical. During these minutes, many drivers make mistakes that cost them their right to compensation for their injuries and property damages. At the same time, many insurance agents take advantage of the accident victims’ state of confusion and stress to obtain rights waving signatures or close convenient settlements and avoid paying huge compensations later.
How should drivers act after a car accident in Cincinnati and why? The most important step they should take as soon as they get a chance is to contact a Cincinnati car accident attorney. If they cannot contact one or the attorney they contact cannot come to the car accident scene the following advice may come in handy.
5 Steps Every Cincinnati Driver Should Follow at the Car Crash Scene
1. Pull Over
If the accident caused property damage, Ohio Revised Code Section 4549.03 requires the drivers involved to stop on the road or on an adjacent road, and exchange contact, vehicle, driving license, and insurance information with the other parties involved. Failure to stop at the car accident scene qualifies as a first-degree misdemeanor.
If the accident caused injuries, the drivers should assist everyone injured, request medical assistance for them, or undergo a medical examination themselves, depending on the circumstances.
Unless the accident caused serious injuries or fatalities, the drivers should move their cars to the side of the road, the shoulder, or a nearby parking area, so as to minimize or avoid traffic obstructions and avoid further accidents.
2. Establish Financial Responsibility (Insurance Status)
Ohio Revised Code Section 4509.01 requires drivers to own and provide proof of liability insurance: for personal injury (minimum $25,000/person and $50,000/event) and for property damages ($25,000/event). The insurance status is important both for the driver and for the other parties involved in the accident.
On the one hand, uninsured drivers are violating the law and risk corresponding penalties and answering for the damages and injuries they caused in civil court. On the other hand, the victims of the accident need to know from whom to seek compensation for their losses:
- The insurer of the driver at fault (if the driver is insured)
- The driver themselves (if they are uninsured or underinsured)
- The victim’s own insurer (if the available coverage allows it and this option has higher success chances than the other two).
3. Report the Accident
Drivers involved in a car crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or whose accident resulted in injuries or property damage exceeding $400 should report the accident to the authorities and file an Accident Report with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The deadline for filing the report is of six months from the date of the accident.
4. Gather Information and Evidence
The scene of the accident is the most important source of evidence for how the accident occurred, the brake marks or their absence, the position of the cars, the statements of the drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses are all pieces of the accident puzzle an experienced car accident attorney can use to build a strong case and obtain a consistent compensation for their client.
Drivers should not waste any second after following the above describes steps. They should take photos of the accident scene and of the damaged cars, look for nearby cameras that may have recorded the accident and obtain copies of the footage, talk to witnesses, and write down everything they remember and hear.
5. Avoid Detrimental Statements and Signing Documents without Reading
Some drivers feel the need to express regrets or apologies after an accident even though they were not at fault. Others fall victim to the adrenaline rush and say more than they should or assume things without a solid foundation.
There are also drivers who fall victim to insurance agents and admit fault, sign right waivers, or accept settlement offers for incredibly low compensations. If they had a Cincinnati car crash attorney present at the scene, the latter would surely advise them to speak as little as possible and listen as much as possible, as everything they hear could help their case, and everything they say could ruin it.
Contact a Cincinnati Lawyer Immediately After a Car Accident!
If you were involved in a car accident, one of the first things you should do, right at the car accident scene, is to contact an experienced lawyer. They will advise you on how to proceed every step of the way, take over the formalities, protect your interests, and help you obtain compensation for your injuries and damages.
To get an experienced and dedicated Cincinnati car accident attorney on your case, contact Ohio Car Accident Lawyers now! Fill in the online form or call our office at 844.853.7373, and schedule a FREE consultation!
No matter if you are still at the car accident scene, about to file your compensation claim, or negotiating a settlement, our attorney can advise you on the best course of action, defend your interests, and get you the highest compensation possible.