If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident, you may be able to file a claim to seek compensation for your losses. A Columbus car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can evaluate your situation and help you take legal action.
The steps you take immediately following a car accident will play an important role in the final outcome of your personal injury claim. In addition to seeking medical attention, preserving evidence through photographs and eyewitness accounts, and filing a police report, you’ll want to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Successful negligence claims are built on strong evidence and backed by state laws. As attorneys, it’s our job to guide clients through legal situations so they have a comprehensive understanding of their rights and options. When you work with Thomas Law Offices, we’ll help you build a case that proves you were wronged and shows just exactly what you’re rightfully owed for your injuries and damages.
Car Accidents in Columbus
The Ohio State Highway Patrol compiles statistics and analytics in regard to traffic safety for every county in the state. Franklin County, which houses Columbus, saw 34,205 traffic accidents just in 2019. The majority of those accidents, approximately 20,000, were related to youth or mature driving. Other common causes included failure to yield properly, alcohol consumption, and speeding.
As a result of those 34,205 accidents, the majority only ended in property damage. However, more than 10,000 resulted in injury, and 101 were fatal. Most crashes occurred between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm in the months of October, August, and May.
While car accidents can happen for any number of reasons, the majority of our clients come to us after having dealt with one of the following situations:
- Distracted driving accidents
- Drunk driving crashes
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Reckless driving
- Defective auto parts or design/manufacturing defects
Distracted driving accidents happen when a driver isn’t completely focused on the road. It takes less than a second to lose control of a vehicle if you’re trying to adjust the radio, eat, or send a text message. Driving distracted is one of the leading causes of rear-end collisions because when the following driver isn’t paying attention, they don’t have enough time to brake.
When a person is under the influence of alcohol, their ability to make good driving decisions and focus their attention on the road is severely compromised. This can result in reckless driving, like speeding, swerving in between lanes, or disregarding traffic signals.
Sometimes, traffic collisions are the fault of a vehicle manufacturer. If a car’s steering mechanism or brake system malfunctions and a driver loses control, a lawyer can determine what went wrong during the design or manufacturing process that resulted in the vehicle’s defects.
No matter what type of incident resulted in your car accident, we can determine if negligence played a role. If that’s the case, we can determine what your legal options are and how we can get you the compensation you need to recover.
Understanding Your Rights and Obligations After a Crash in Ohio
As discussed, if negligence played a role in your car accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. This could include money for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses or missed income. What you are entitled to will depend on your situation and the severity of the accident.
In regard to your obligations after a crash in Ohio, there are steps you need to take following a crash. First, you’ll want to document the scene. This includes taking photographs, recording the details you remember leading up to the accident, and collecting contact information from potential witnesses.
You’ll also need to obtain a copy of the crash report. This will include official information like the date, time, and location of the accident, contact information for everyone involved, witness information, weather and lighting conditions, and any citations.
Even if you feel fine after the crash, you’ll need to seek medical care. You could have injuries that haven’t manifested symptoms yet. In addition to that, it’s important to have an accurate account of the physical damage you incurred to ensure your monetary award is accurate. Once you’ve been checked out by a doctor, it’s time to get in touch with a car accident attorney.
Common Car Wreck Injuries and Damages
Car accident injuries vary significantly. In some instances, victims may walk away with only cuts and bruises. While it’s likely they’ll be sore and fatigued for a while, people with mild injuries usually make a full recovery within a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately, not all car accidents result in minor injuries. Common, more serious injuries include broken bones, knee trauma, herniated discs, concussions, and soft tissue injuries. Depending on the degree of injury, a person could be looking at months of recovery time and changes in their ability to work until they’ve fully healed.
Head trauma, internal damage, and spinal cord injuries are among the most severe physical damage people sustain in crashes. In some instances, the injuries have the potential to be fatal or result in debilitating, life-long conditions. In the event you lose a loved one in a wreck, you have the right to file a wrongful deal claim on their behalf to recover compensation for any and all related losses.
In addition to physical injuries, you could be dealing with emotional trauma. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, who all was involved, and what you’re dealing with now, you could be suffering from depression, anxiety, mood swings, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, and more. With a car accident claim in Columbus, you can take the steps you need to manage your emotional trauma—which could include therapy, counseling, or medication.
Once you’re on track with managing your injuries, you’ll most likely need to figure out what to do about your car. Property damage costs can rack up quickly—especially when vehicles are involved. Depending on the insurance policies and the severity of the crash, your vehicle could be labeled totaled—meaning it’s no longer roadworthy. If that happens and you need to figure out how to get a new vehicle, we can help you with that process.
Determining Fault for a Car Accident
For your claim to be successful, you’ll need to be able to prove the other driver was at-fault for the crash. Most personal injury claims are built on the concept of negligence. In regard to a traffic accident, proving negligence involves establishing the other driver owed you a duty of care, they breached that duty of care, you were injured, and you suffered losses from your injuries.
Ohio is considered a modified comparative negligence state. This means that you can recover compensation against any party who was more at-fault than you. In the event, however, you are deemed liable for a portion of the accident, your damages will be reduced by the percentage that corresponds with your liability. For example, if you are awarded $20,000 but are found to be 10% at-fault, you’ll only be eligible for $18,000.
It’s important to note that the compensation you’re eligible for can not exceed the insurance coverage of the negligent driver. In Ohio, the minimum liability insurance coverage is set at $25,000 for personal injury or death per person and event, $50,000 for the personal injury or death of two or more people per event, and $25,000 for property damage per event. If you’re looking to recover more compensation, you’ll need to file a car accident lawsuit. Thomas Law Offices can guide you through that process and help you maneuver your way through trial, so you get a fair verdict for your losses from a judge or jury.
Seek Legal Representation From Thomas Law Offices
If your life has been upended in a car accident someone else caused, you deserve the opportunity to hold them accountable and seek compensation for your losses. Doing that on your own could result in jeopardizing the amount of your award, which is why it’s best to seek guidance from a Columbus car accident lawyer.
At Thomas Law Offices, we have extensive experience helping crash victims recover financially from an accident—which allows them to focus on healing physically and emotionally. We understand that pursuing a personal injury claim can seem intimidating, especially if you’re dealing with serious injuries and time away from work. When you work with us, however, we’ll do what it takes to manage your claim and fight on your behalf to ensure you receive a full and fair settlement offer.
It’s important to note that while most car accident claims settle outside of court through negotiations, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if a lawsuit is the only way to ensure success.
To learn more about personal injury law and how a car accident claim can help you recover and secure your future, contact us today. We’ll schedule a case evaluation and help you determine how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances.