Auto 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.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety Traffic Crash Facts, Ohio saw 305,964 vehicle collisions in 2016. Approximately 1,133 people lost their lives and there were more than 112,000 injuries. Even with cars that have more advanced technology that helps detect other cars nearby or brake faster than the driver, the number of car crashes and the consequential deaths, injuries, and property damage is high.
The following statistics involve the collisions that happened in Cincinnati in 2016:
- There were 17,733 total crashes.
- 31 were fatal.
- 3,749 resulted in injuries.
- 13,953 caused property damage.
A significant number of Cincinnati crashes involved alcohol:
- There were 438 alcohol-related wrecks.
- 9 involving alcohol were fatal.
- 178 alcohol related wrecks caused injuries.
- 251 accidents caused by alcohol resulted in property damage.
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.
Thomas Law Offices protects the rights of Ohio citizens and will do everything to help them recover the damages they’ve suffered. We understand how serious vehicle collisions can be and know how to carefully investigate the case to determine what caused the accident, how it hurt you, and who is liable for your injuries.
Recognizing the Common Types of Car Crashes
While we may imagine a certain image that best depicts what an auto accident looks like, it’s important to realize that there are a number of 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.
Car wrecks 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. The injuries for this kind of collision 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. In order to avoid situations like the ones above, it’s important to understand how these accidents happen.
Identifying the Causes of Auto 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 is 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 their focus on their surroundings and total control of the vehicle. One of the largest distractions is the driver’s cell phone. Drivers try to text, call, and check social media while driving. Other distractions include changing the radio or trying to eat and drink. In 2017, 13,997 drivers in Ohio crashed while distracted by something in their vehicle.
- 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.
- Aggressive Driving. Drivers who are tailgating or weaving through traffic increase the chances of causing a collision. Aggressive driving is never an excusable behavior.
- Driving While Intoxicated. When drivers have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs, their ability to drive is severely compromised and it’s likely they will get in an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3,937 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in Ohio from 2003 to 2012.
- 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.
Understanding 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 too much 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 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.
- 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.
These injuries can put people in the hospital where they may have to undergo tests, procedures, or go on prescriptions to deal with the pain and recover. Over time, the medical bills can stack up and cause a lot of financial stress.
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. They 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 compensation that will help cover these costs.
Knowing What to Do After a Vehicle Wreck in Cincinnati
What you say and do 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:
- 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.
- Contact Authorities. You should still call the police even if there isn’t a medical emergency. They will provide an unbiased account. Their investigation of the accident could help your claim later.
- Give an Accurate Report. When giving any 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.
- 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 lawyer it could be seen as you admitting guilt for the wreck.
After you’ve sought medical attention and made your report, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to review your claim and investigate the accident, so you can work toward receiving the compensation you need to recover.
Maximizing 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’ll receive. This can be difficult without an attorney 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.
- Avoid Social Media. Anything you post on social media about your crash could potentially be used against you. It’s best to avoid posting anything personal.
- Preserve Evidence. Your 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 damaged sustained to the involved vehicles.
- 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.
Seeking the Legal Representation You Deserve
The aftermath of a car accident can turn your life upside down. Taking time to heal from your injury, visiting doctors, and dealing with the expenses can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Thomas Law Offices can provide the help you need so you can focus on your recovery.
You can meet with one of our Cincinnati car accident lawyers in a free consultation to go over your case. Contact our office today so you can have peace of mind that you’re protecting your best interests.