Every accident is different. But if there is an injury or death involved, then you should hire an Ohio auto accident attorney. However, not all accidents result in significant injury or death as figures from the Nation Highway Safety Transporation Administration show: out of over 5 million police-reported car accidents in 2020, there were a total of 38,824 deaths and 43% of all car accidents resulted in injury, which equals four car accident injuries per minute.
Some people feel that they do not need to see a doctor on the same day as the accident but frequently start experiencing severe pain later in the evening or the next day. The stress of the event may have resulted in heightened adrenaline causing the injury to go unnoticed. Depending on the type of injury and treatment you will need, an experienced lawyer can help you receive compensation to cover any necessary treatment you may need in the future.
Read below as we explain when to call an attorney and what accidents may not require a lawyer.
How to Know if You Need an Auto Accident Attorney
After an auto accident, you may not be sure if you need an attorney, and it is entirely up to you to hire one because no Ohio law mandates the use of an attorney after an auto accident. Seeking legal counsel is a decision many people make after an accident to protect their rights and to ensure they receive adequate compensation for their injuries.
When You Should Definitely Contact an Attorney:
- The accident required you to go to the emergency room
- You were admitted to the hospital
- Someone died in the accident
- You had to miss more than a few days of work or school and could not take part in normal activities during that time
- The accident involved a commercial vehicle
- A child was injured in the accident
You should contact a lawyer if you have experienced any of the above. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to convince you to sign off on a settlement amount that is less than you should receive. A lawyer will assess your case and determine what compensation you should be awarded.
When to Call an Attorney After an Auto Accident?
Now that you have established you need an attorney, you may not be sure when is the best time to call one.
First, your safety and health are the most important things, so you do not need to contact a lawyer at the scene of the accident if you are seriously hurt. Ensure you are safe and have seen a doctor for urgent medical issues.
Even if the other driver is clearly at fault, their insurance company will contact you within a day or two after the accident. It is important to know that they will keep a record of anything you say. This does not mean you cannot speak to them, but if you have already contacted an attorney, you can tell the insurance company to call your lawyer.
Be careful if you have not yet contacted a lawyer and decided to talk to the insurance company. For example, the other driver’s insurance company may call and explain that their insured has told them you are at fault. In this situation, you may want to refer them to the police report if the police cited their insured. In any event, you do not want to disclose too many details.
Remember that the at-fault driver’s insurance company wants to give the smallest settlement possible. An attorney can advise you on what you can tell them or they will talk on your behalf.
You should contact an attorney at your earliest convenience because there is a limited amount of time you have to file a claim in each state. This is referred to as the statute of limitation, which is two years from the accident date in Ohio. While there is no specific Ohio car accident statute of limitations, Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10 covers the time for bringing bodily injury claims.
What Does a Car Accident Attorney Do?
After your accident, the attorney will gather information from you and other documents such as police reports, pictures, and witness information or statements so they can assess the information and give you legal advice based on the facts they gathered.
An accident lawyer will help you with the following:
- Investigate the accident by reviewing reports, medical records, witness statements, and policy information
- Prove who was at fault
- Communicate with lawyers and insurance companies on your behalf
- Build a case to seek compensation on your behalf
- Speak with experts if necessary to support the case
- Coordinate the collection of documentation of treatment and other expenses resulting from the accident.
- Update you throughout the process
When Do I Not Need an Accident Attorney?
Not every accident results in injuries. Injuries occur in many accidents, but you may be fortunate, and a minor accident may only leave you with muscle soreness that resolves after a few days with no medical treatment. In these situations, it may not be beneficial to contact an attorney.
In the following situations, you may not need to hire an attorney:
You Were Not Hurt
You were involved in an accident but did not suffer any injuries. But the next day, you woke up with a sore neck and decided to see a doctor. Should you call a lawyer? At the appointment, the doctor confirmed you would have sore muscles for a few days, and all the x-rays and MRIs confirmed there were no injuries. If you contact an attorney, they may tell you that you can handle any settlement for the muscle pain or auto damage with the insurance company, and any additional funds they can retrieve on your case may disappear with their fee because there are no substantial injuries.
If you are unsure what to do, you can always contact our lawyers at Charles Boyk, and we can advise you if your case would benefit from hiring one of our attorneys.
The Accident Was Your Fault
If you caused the accident and were found at fault, you probably don’t need a personal injury attorney.
On the other hand, you may need an attorney to defend you if you caused the accident and did not have insurance. If the other party was injured, they might proceed to file a lawsuit against you personally, so you may want to consult with an attorney about that.
If you had auto insurance when the accident occurred, your insurance company should provide you with an attorney to defend you. This defense is provided without charge because it is a benefit of your automobile insurance.
When you are injured in an accident that you caused, you usually can’t make a claim against anyone else unless there are multiple cars involved. For example, you hit someone in front of you, but a car behind you was speeding and side-swiped your vehicle. In this situation, you would want to consult a personal injury attorney about the claim against the person who hit your car, and a lawyer may be able to reassess if you were at fault for any part of the accident.
One note: You will not be able to recover anything under Ohio’s modified comparative negligence rule if your share of fault for the accident exceeds 50 percent. If you were only 30% at fault, then if you are awarded $10,000, you will only receive $7,000 because 30% is taken away because you shared in the responsibility for causing the accident.
Contacting an Ohio Car Accident Attorney
Now that you have an idea of when to contact an attorney, if you still have any questions or feel your case may have extraordinary circumstances and need an expert review, contact a lawyer at Charles Boyk for a free consultation. We will review your case, and if we accept it, we will work to help you receive the treatment and compensation you need and deserve.