Car accidents have become a common occurrence today. According to the State Highway Patrol, traffic deaths around Ohio have increased for the second year in a row. There were 1,057 traffic fatalities in 2015 as compared to 1008 fatalities in 2014 and 990 fatalities in 2014. According to a highway patrol spokesperson, approximately 60% of Ohio’s fatal crashes in 2015 involved drivers who were not wearing a seat belt. Nearly one-third of the fatal crashes involved drivers who were impaired by alcohol or drugs. And with each car accident, there is a chance that either driver will suffer from personal injuries or severe vehicle damage.
If you were in a car accident and nobody got injured, you should count yourself lucky. It can be an extremely traumatic experience to suffer severe injuries or to see your passengers (friends and/or family) hurt or injured. It is also a very stressful experience if you are the one who is at fault and you end up injuring another driver. Therefore, car accidents that do not result in any fatalities and major injuries can be quite a blessing. Sometimes though, the vehicles are not as lucky and may suffer significant damage. You may ask yourself in such a situation as to who will pay the cost of repairing your car?
The legal requirement in Cleveland, Ohio is for drivers to carry a minimum insurance policy that includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. Specifically, the required minimum for bodily injury liability coverage is $25,000 per person injured in an accident and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident. The required minimum for property damage liability coverage is $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others.
How Does Liability Affect My Vehicle Damage Compensation?
Ohio is a liability state. This means that if you are in an accident and you incur medical injuries and/or property damage, the driver who is responsible for the accident will be the one who will be held liable for any damages. In other words, it will be the negligent driver’s insurance company who will pay you for any vehicle-related damages. That is precisely why the mandatory insurance policy in Ohio requires all drivers to carry a $25,000 property damage coverage.
However, since Ohio is a liability state and any damages paid by the parties involved in an accident is dependent on the level of their fault, you have to keep in mind that if you were also at fault, even partially, then the damages you receive will be reduced by the level of your fault. So let’s say you have incurred repair costs of $4000 but you were also 20% at fault as far as the accident is concerned, then you are entitled to only 80% of the damages that you seek. This is the way fault is determined in Ohio and compensation amounts are decided.
Some drivers prefer to prefer to have additional coverage just to be protected in the case of an unforeseen incident. This additional coverage could include uninsured motorist coverage that could protect you if you get hit by an uninsured driver; collision coverage that would pay for physical damage to your car in the event of an accident; and comprehensive coverage that would pay for damage to your car from all other causes such as fire, weather, vandalism, theft, flood, animals etc. Keep in mind that the law does not require you to carry this additional coverage but it is an option that you could consider if you want to ensure you have sufficient protection in case of vehicle damage.
In Ohio, any driver who is more than 50% at fault is not entitled to any compensation. Therefore, if you are in an accident in Cleveland, and you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you will not be getting any damages from the other driver’s insurance company. You may not have suffered injuries but if your vehicle is damaged, then you either pay for the repairs out of your own pocket or you could file a claim with your insurance company if you have additional coverage. Both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage are quite sufficient to manage your repairs if such a situation arises. However, if you, like most drivers, carry only minimum insurance coverage, then you may be in for some major financial challenges.
In another scenario, if you are in a car accident and even if you are not at fault, if the other driver turns out to be uninsured or underinsured, you are the one who suffers because there is now no one to take care of damages to your vehicle. If you only have the basic insurance, your insurance company will certainly not offer to do so. If you file a personal injury claim against the uninsured driver, there is no guarantee how long it might take for the claim to be approved and how much money you end up getting for your vehicle repairs.
Clearly, car insurance is a tricky subject. Insurance companies may create the impression that they are there to provide you protection, but the fact is that these companies generally have too many conditions associated with their policies. Even if you have full-coverage, there may be certain conditions and/or clauses that you may be completely unaware of that these insurance companies can use if and when you file a claim. Therefore, it is always a good idea to thoroughly understand your vehicle insurance policy before signing on the dotted line.
Meet with a Cleveland Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Compensation for Your Vehicle Damage
If you have been in an accident and your vehicle has significant damage, you can contact one of our attorneys at Chester Law Group. We will help you get compensation from the other driver’s insurance company; if the negligent driver turns out to be underinsured or uninsured and your policy does not include coverage for uninsured drivers, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. Whatever your situation may be, call us now at 1-800-218-4243 to talk to one of our associates. Leave the legal battle to us and trust us when we say that we will get you the compensation you deserve.