Taking the proper steps after a car accident is crucial if you plan to pursue compensation. Whether you are awarded financial recovery and the amount you receive will be based on several factors, which is why it is necessary to gather sufficient evidence and build a compelling legal strategy. Whether your case can be settled through negotiations or must be presented in court, the process can be overwhelming. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be beneficial as you navigate the nuances of your case.
Types of Compensation Available
In Ohio, if another person caused a car accident, they could be liable for damages the injured party sustained. Damages refer to expenses and losses arising from the incident and are classified into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are calculable losses. In other words, they have an actual dollar amount attached to them.
Examples of these types of damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages, and
- Repair bills.
In contrast are noneconomic damages. These are subjective losses and are not associated with an actual figure. Instead, they are based on the non-financial impacts on a person’s life.
Below are types of noneconomic damages:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Factors that Could Affect the Amount of Compensation You Receive
When it comes to determining financial recovery after an accident, several elements may come into play.
Key factors that must be considered are as follows:
- Your level of responsibility: Ohio is a modified comparative negligence state. That means you can still pursue compensation as long as you were not more than 50% at fault for an accident. Yet, the amount you receive is decreased by your proportion of negligence.
- The at-fault party’s insurance coverage: The insurance company will pay only up to the policy limits.
- The severity of your injuries: More serious harm, such as spinal cord injury, will result in higher medical bills and more significant impacts on a person’s quality of life. Thus, they may be entitled to higher compensation.
- The amount of work you missed: The longer you are out of work recovering or getting medical treatment, the more substantial your loss of income.
The Actions You Take After Your Accident Could Affect Compensation
When seeking financial recovery, you must prove to the insurance company or a judge or jury that you are owed compensation. Thus, you must have evidence backing up your claims and know who to contact to get started on the process.
Below are some of the things you can do after an accident to help your case:
- Check yourself and others for injuries: If anyone was hurt, ensure that they get the medical care they need. Additionally, getting treated by a physician provides documentation for your injuries and the treatment needed to facilitate recovery. This information is important when pursuing compensation.
- Call the police: The police report can serve as evidence in your case, as it provides an objective review of the scene after the accident. It can help determine fault.
- Exchange information: Get the other driver’s name, contact, and insurance details so you know who to reach out to when filing your claim. Also, get the names, phone numbers, and/or email addresses of witnesses who can testify about what happened.
- Record the scene: Jot down notes about the incident and the names of people you interacted with after the accident. Additionally, take photos and/or videos of the scene to present as evidence in your case.
Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance
If someone else is to blame for your car accident, you can file a claim with their insurance company.
Before contacting the insurer, it’s important to have all relevant information ready, including the following:
- The driver’s policy number,
- Photos of the damage and the accident scene, and
- Records of injuries or medical bills.
Even if you feel you’ve made a compelling case to the insurance company and provided satisfactory evidence, obtaining a fair settlement is not a guarantee. Negotiations with the insurer might be necessary. This step can be time-consuming and stressful.
Taking Your Case to Court
You might be unable to resolve your case through negotiations. If this happens, you might need to file a personal injury lawsuit. With this avenue, you take your case to court and have a judge or jury decide the outcome.
To try to convince the judge or jury that you are owed compensation, you must put together evidence-backed and compelling arguments.
Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Because of the various steps involved and the factors considered in a car accident case, you may need to turn to an attorney for assistance. A lawyer can provide valuable insights and help develop an effective legal strategy. Furthermore, they can handle negotiations and represent you in court if necessary.