Car accidents can cause devastating injuries that make you miss work and incur extensive medical bills, all while you’re trying to heal and work out the incident with your insurance company. You don’t have to file a claim on your own. Exploring your legal options may take some of the stress away from dealing with a wreck. A Cincinnati car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you with your claim and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Negligent drivers need to be held accountable for their actions when they recklessly endanger the lives of others on the road. Filing a claim could make them realize the gravity of their behavior and prevent them from making these poor decisions again. Your compensation will also provide you with peace of mind that you can afford your past medical expenses, future care, and other damages the accident cost you.
While you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of going through with the legal process, our dedicated Cincinnati lawyer will be at your side every step of the way. We’ve helped many people who were wrongfully injured recover the financial losses and damages of their accident. With years of experience in analyzing car accident scenes, gathering evidence, and compiling a convincing, strong case on your behalf, you’ll know our car accident attorney will always advocate for your best interests.
Recognize the Common Types of Cincinnati Car Accidents
While we may imagine a certain image that best depicts what an auto accident looks like, it’s important to realize that there are several types of car accidents—all of which can range greatly in severity and consequences. Some may cause a bump or bruise, while others result in injuries that require hospitalization. In the most severe cases, a car accident can result in death. In 2018, Ohio had 996 fatal car accidents and 1,068 traffic fatalities.
Car accidents can involve other modes of transportation as well. A collision can happen with other motor vehicles like large trucks and motorcycles. They can also happen with people who aren’t operating a motor vehicle like cyclists and pedestrians.
Being aware of the common types of traffic accidents that occur can help you avoid dangerous situations. The most common Cincinnati car accidents include the following:
- Head-On Collisions. These are one of the most dangerous car crashes because the drivers are facing each other when they collide. This could happen from someone driving the wrong way on a road or losing control if they turn at an intersection with too much speed. The resulting injuries are often catastrophic and can lead to death.
- Rear-End Collisions. This type of accident frequently occurs when drivers aren’t paying attention or are operating their vehicles recklessly. Drivers who are speeding or using their phones may not have enough time to safely brake. As a result, they could end up hitting the car in front of them. The severity of the crash depends on the drivers’ speed.
- Single Vehicle Wreck. Drivers can hit pedestrians or run off the road and hit things like houses, signs, and telephone poles. Pedestrians often sustain major injuries because they have no means of protection. Intoxication and distraction play a big role in single-vehicle accidents.
- Multiple Vehicle Crash. These incidents involve more than two vehicles and can potentially cause many injuries. Busy highways are a common place for pileups to occur. One person may make a mistake and crash into another car, but the other cars around them may not be able to react in time and are either hit by or collide with the original car.
- Side Impact Collision. These events occur most often when cars are turning left into oncoming traffic. They’re also known as “T-bone” or broadside collisions. The injuries for this kind of wreck can be serious because the driver or passenger could experience the full force of impact.
While all accidents are different, a common thread of injuries, financial burdens, and emotional trauma are often present. To avoid situations like the ones above, it’s important to understand how these accidents happen. Cincinnati lawyers from Thomas Law Offices have helped many car accident victims and are familiar with the common reasons that contribute to auto wrecks.
Identify the Causes of Car Accidents in Ohio
Even the most cautious driver may not be able to avoid a collision with a dangerous driver. Many of the reasons car crashes happen are because of driver error. When drivers cause accidents due to negligence, it means that the events would have been preventable had they acted competently and responsibly. Reckless people should not be able to endanger the safety and lives of others around them without facing consequences.
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted Driving. Drivers who try to multitask while driving are forfeiting focus on their surroundings and total control of the vehicle. A distraction can take a driver’s hand or hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their mind off driving. One of the largest distractions is the driver’s cell phone. Drivers try to text, call, and check social media while driving. They may not see they’re drifting out of their lane or the cars in front of them have stopped. By the time they look up, they may not have enough time to slow down and prevent an accident. Other distractions include changing the radio station, trying to eat and drink, or reaching for something in the car. In 2017, 13,997 drivers in Ohio crashed while distracted by something in their vehicle. When driving in a busy city like Cincinnati, drivers need to reduce distractions and focus on safe driving.
- Ignoring Traffic Laws. A driver who isn’t following traffic laws by speeding, running red lights, refusing to stop at stop signs, or not yielding to the driver with the right of way is increasing their chances of causing an accident. While other drivers are following traffic laws, they may not anticipate someone trying to make a turn when they failed to stop or rolled through an intersection. The negligent driver will likely pull in front of oncoming traffic.
- Aggressive Driving. Drivers who are tailgating or weaving through traffic increase the chances of causing a collision. Aggressive driving is never an excusable behavior, but sometimes emotions get the best of people. In more dangerous situations, aggressive driving can turn into road rage. This may happen if another car cuts someone else off. When a driver is more focused on blocking someone from changing lanes or otherwise inconveniencing a driver to get back at them, their focus isn’t on safety and they’re putting everyone on the road at risk.
- Driving While Intoxicated. When drivers have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs, their ability to drive is severely compromised and they will likely get in an accident. In Ohio, people can get an OVI charge, which stands for operating a vehicle while under the influence. In 2018, Ohio had 367 fatal crashes where someone was operating a vehicle while under the influence and 402 OVI-related fatalities in 2018.
- Issues with Vehicle. Sometimes a crash isn’t the driver’s fault. Negligent car manufacturers can produce faulty or defective products. A driver could experience an issue with the brakes, steering wheel, engine, or another part of their car that takes away their control of the vehicle.
Drivers have a responsibility to others on the road called a duty of care. This means they’re supposed to obey traffic laws and remain alert while driving. Failing to do this increases the chances of causing a car accident and puts others at risk of getting terrible injuries. Negligent drivers can be held accountable for breaching their duty of care.
Understand the Consequences of a Collision
While some people may only think about the physical injuries associated with car accidents, the consequences often branch out much further. Crash victims, while trying to physically recover, are also tasked with recovering from any psychological trauma and dealing with the financial burdens associated with the accident.
Car crash injuries range from minor to severe, but even the mildest injuries can disrupt your everyday life. It’s important to always go to the doctor for an evaluation if you’ve been in an accident. Symptoms can sometimes take hours, days, or weeks to appear.
Waiting to see or not seeing a doctor after an auto wreck could affect your chances of getting full compensation because your injuries may get worse over time—you’ll be in more pain and the recovery time may take longer. There could be instances where not going to the doctor could result in chronic pain for the rest of your life.
The following are common car accident injuries:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Injuries to the head and brain can have disastrous effects on a person’s ability to communicate, remember things, and may change their personality to more irritable. Severe TBI can limit a person’s use of their arms and legs.
- Spinal Cord Injury. These injuries have the potential to be catastrophic—meaning they’ll have permanent consequences. Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis and limited mobility.
- Whiplash. The sudden stop of a crash can make someone’s neck rapidly jerk back and forth, leaving the person with symptoms like dizziness, headaches, a stiff neck, and more.
- Broken Bones. The impact of a vehicle collision can potentially have enough force to shatter bones.
- Lacerations or Loss of Limb. A car wreck can cause some major cuts and bruises. In severe crashes, it’s possible someone could lose a limb.
After an accident, you may think you’re uninjured because you feel okay. However, you may still have injuries. Your body is likely going to be full of adrenaline and other shock-related hormones that can mask the symptoms of your injuries. Some symptoms can take hours or days to present.
There’s another side to the health effects of a car accident. Let’s take a look at how a collision can affect your emotional state.
People may not know about the psychological toll a car accident can have on someone. While many physical injuries are visible, emotional trauma cannot be seen and may be easily hidden. A person may develop mental illnesses like depression or anxiety or could also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you’ve experienced any of the following after a wreck, it’s important to consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional:
- Sleep Loss
- Chronic Fatigue
- Social Withdrawal
- Difficulty Focusing
Depending on the severity of the accident, the associated expenses can be difficult to manage. Medical bills and the cost of recovery can quickly pile up. You’ll also need to figure out what to do about repairing or replacing your vehicle. Time away from work can also contribute to financial distress. Your Cincinnati car accident lawyer will calculate the costs of your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage and fight to get you the compensation that will help cover these costs.
Know What to Do After a Vehicle Wreck in Cincinnati
What you do and say immediately after a car accident can affect how your claim will go. It’s important to know what steps to take after an incident so you can protect your rights and not give insurance companies any reason to give you less compensation than you deserve.
After an auto collision, you should:
- Remain Calm. After a car accident, you’re likely going to be in shock. The trauma of what just happened could make you want to panic. Do your best to take some deep breaths and remain calm. When you have a clear mind, you can focus on what you need to do so you can assist those who need it and possibly gather evidence that could help your claim.
- Provide Help to Others. If you are able, check to see if you can help anyone that was involved in the accident. If you or anyone else needs immediate medical attention, call 911. When the emergency responders arrive, allow them to give you an evaluation. They can perform first aid and arrange for you to go to a hospital if necessary.
- Contact Authorities. You should still call the police even if there isn’t a medical emergency. The police will make a report of the accident, which can be crucial to your case because their account will be unbiased. In their report, they may determine the cause of the car accident and could identify the at-fault party.
- Give an Accurate Report. The police will speak to you about the car wreck. When giving an account of the incident, only report the truth. Don’t guess or add details because this could hurt your case. If you honestly don’t remember a part of the accident, which is understandable because they can happen so quickly, you can say so.
- Get Driver Information. If you’re able, exchange information with the other party that was involved in the car accident. Get their name, contact information, insurance policy number, and the make and model of their vehicle.
- Don’t Apologize. Right after the collision, you may want to say that you’re okay or that you’re sorry to the other person involved in the crash. While it’s normal to want to convey that you’re okay, you could still have some painful injuries and may not be as okay as you think. Apologizing may seem like a way to say you’re sorry this situation is happening at all, but to a car accident lawyer or insurance adjuster, it could be seen as you admitting guilt for the wreck. You should also not blame the other person for the wreck. They may not be liable for the damages—it’s possible there was another liable party that wasn’t at the scene of the accident. For example, a faulty auto part could have caused the accident, in which case the manufacturer may be held liable.
After you’ve sought medical attention and made your report, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a car accident attorney from Thomas Law Offices as soon as possible. Their Cincinnati attorney will be able to review your claim and investigate the accident, so you can work toward receiving the compensation you need to recover.
Maximize Your Compensation After a Wreck
Once you’ve decided to file a car accident claim, you’ll want to do everything possible to maximize the amount of compensation you receive. This can be difficult without a Cincinnati attorney from Thomas Law Offices because insurance companies will often try to get you to settle for less than you deserve. Take the following tips into consideration when seeking full and fair compensation for what you’ve been through:
- Seek Medical Treatment. No matter how you feel immediately following a crash, it’s imperative to be evaluated by a doctor. Not only will this visit possibly detect any invisible injuries you may be suffering from, but it will provide insurance companies with proof of accident-related injuries and incurred medical expenses. Waiting to receive treatment or ignoring your doctor’s treatment plan could allow your car accident injuries to worsen—in which case you may not be able to get compensation to cover these costs because the accident caused less severe injuries.
- Avoid Social Media. Anything you post on social media about your crash could potentially be used against you. While you may feel tempted to vent about the collision, inform others about what happened, or make any kind of post regarding your injuries, your car accident lawyer in Cincinnati will likely advise you to avoid posting anything personal. An insurance company could look at your posts and use it as evidence your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. You may want to consider putting all your social media accounts on private, so you control who sees your profile as well as refraining from posting on the platforms until your claim reaches its conclusion.
- Preserve Evidence. Your Cincinnati attorney can help you with this part. After your accident, you’ll want to document what happened, where it happened, when it happened, and why it happened. It’s also a good idea, if possible, to take photographs of the accident scene and any damage sustained to the involved vehicles. This could capture important details like the road conditions, the weather, if there was any debris on the road, and the damage your vehicle may have sustained. Physical evidence can fade over time, so make sure to timestamp your photographs.
- Speak with Eyewitnesses. If someone else witnessed your accident and are willing to provide their account of what happened, get their contact information so you can reach them in the future.
- Don’t Wait to File. Personal injury claims often have statutes of limitations attached to them. In Ohio, the law states that personal injury victims have two years from the time of the incident to file a claim and pursue compensation. If you neglect to meet the time limit, your case will be thrown out without review. The earlier you file the better because it’s likely you’ll be able to better recall the events leading up to, during, and after the collision.
- Don’t Forget About Future Damages. If you know you’ll be incurring additional medical bills for future costs of care because of your accident, you’ll want to include this information in the claim. You may be eligible for compensation to cover those future expenses.
Your car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will be able to guide you through your claim to help you avoid putting your claim in jeopardy and having the best chance of getting maximum compensation. When you’re seeking compensation for financial damages, you may find the other parties aren’t as cooperative with your case. Let’s take a look at Ohio car insurance laws and how having an attorney from Cincinnati at your side will help protect your best interests.
How Do Car Insurance Laws Work in Ohio?
There are different ways car insurance can work depending on your state. Ohio is an at-fault state, meaning if you’re involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can seek compensation to cover the injuries and damages you suffered. The other party or their insurer will have to cover those costs. The minimum coverage amounts are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident.
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people in an accident.
- $25,000 for property damage in an accident.
Another important factor is the comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, both parties can share fault. If one was found to be more at fault than the other, then the party who was less at fault can seek to recover damages. However, if the party who was less at fault still had some responsibility for the accident, then their compensation can be reduced. Let’s look at an example. After a car accident, one party was found to be 80% at fault and the other party was found to be 20% at fault, so the total compensation would be reduced by 20%. If the total damages came to $100,000, the plaintiff would receive $80,000.
You may have had nothing to do with the accident, but you may find the other party is trying to place some of the fault on you. This way, they will not be responsible for paying the full amount of compensation. Our Cincinnati lawyers will use the evidence from the accident scene and your medical records to show how you weren’t at fault and deserve compensation for your car accident injuries.
There are other ways your claim could be reduced. Insurance companies may send insurance adjusters to speak with you about your accident. Their goal is to get an official statement from you and persuade you to settle your case early. This protects their bottom line, which saves them money. When you do this, you may not get the maximum compensation you deserve.
If an adjuster asks you about your car accident injuries, you may not know how severe they are so you cannot give accurate information on what’s wrong. You may find you have additional injuries, but because you didn’t know at the time, the insurance company could claim you’re not eligible to recover for those injuries. Anything you say could be used to reduce your compensation, even if they ask how you’re feeling today. It sounds conversational and as a way to begin the dialogue, but if you give the typical answer like “I’m okay,” this could be used as evidence that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
Dealing with an insurance company, or sometimes companies can be stressful. Our auto accident lawyers in Cincinnati can facilitate communication, so they receive the information they need about the accident. You won’t have to worry about harassing phone calls or visits or saying something that could harm your compensation later. Then, you can start to move forward with your case with the help of Thomas Law Offices.
Seek the Legal Representation You Deserve
Our car accident lawyer stands up for people who have been hurt because of the negligent actions of others. An auto collision can cause so much turmoil in your life. Taking time to heal from your injury, visiting doctors, and dealing with the expenses can be a lot to handle by yourself, but you don’t have to do this on your own. Our car accident lawyers are here to help get it back on track. Thomas Law Offices in Cincinnati is ready to fight for your rights. We’ll provide the help you need so you can focus on your recovery.
Our team is also prepared to take your case to court if necessary. Sometimes, going to court is the best chance for you to get fair compensation for your injuries. While going before a judge or jury can seem intimidating, our Cincinnati attorneys have had years of experience representing clients in a courtroom. We’ll help you so you can feel ready when you’re in the courtroom. Our car accident attorney will diligently go over every fact of your case so it’s clear the other party acted recklessly and caused your injuries.
The sooner you get started on your case, the sooner you can get the relief you need. You can meet with one of our Cincinnati car accident lawyers in a free consultation to go over your case. Contact Thomas Law Offices today so you can have peace of mind that you’re protecting your best interests.