If you were in a traffic accident that resulted in injuries to yourself and/or damages to your vehicle, you may benefit from consulting a professional to help explore your options. A Lima car accident lawyer knowledgeable in personal injury law and legal procedures might be able to assist you with your case.
Without an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you could be at a disadvantage when negotiating for compensation. Explore your options with a professional who could help you during this difficult time.
Negligence Theory in Car Wreck Cases
Some parties suffering injuries from a car crash in Lima might bring a personal injury lawsuit in court based on a theory of negligence. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care that was breached by their careless driving. Then, the injured victim must demonstrate that this breach in the duty of care directly caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries.
Duty of Care
Drivers owe other drivers a duty of care to drive responsibly. This duty entails abiding by traffic laws and regulations and maintaining control of the vehicle, as well as maintaining the condition of their car so that it is safe to operate. Texting while driving or driving under the influence could both constitute a breach of this duty of reasonable care.
The negligent actions of a defendant driver must have directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries for there to be a valid claim. For example, if a plaintiff was struck by the defendant’s car in an accident but suffered no injuries, then injured their lower back from a fall later that same week, the plaintiff could not sue the defendant for their back injury because it was unrelated to any negligence on that defendant’s part.
Finally, the plaintiff must show evidence that they suffered injuries or other economic losses related to their car accident to recover civil damages. Depending on the specific circumstances, parties injured in an auto collision may seek to recover for medical bills from their injuries, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and property damages to the car.
The Comparative Fault Standard in Lima
In addition to proving negligence, auto wreck victims in Lima must adhere to Ohio’s comparative fault standard. The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) states that if a driver is more than 50 percent at fault for causing the accident, they would be barred from recovering compensation.
If a driver is 50 percent or less at fault, then their recovery would be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff were deemed 30 percent at fault for an accident, they could only recover for a maximum of 70 percent of their total damages.
This application of the comparative fault standard is often called the 51 Percent Bar Rule because parties that are 51 percent or more at fault cannot recover damages.
An experienced Lima auto collision attorney could help a plaintiff be better-prepared to prove a defendant’s fault for an accident and maximize recoverable compensation.
The Settlement Process for Automobile Accidents
State law allows a person injured in a car wreck to file an insurance claim under their policy or with the responsible party’s insurance company. After filing an insurance claim, an adjuster would evaluate the damages and could make a settlement offer.
If the settlement offer is inadequate or unfair, parties may appeal to the supervisor at the insurance company.
If still unhappy with their settlement, parties could file a written complaint with the Ohio Department of Insurance. A skilled car wreck lawyer in Lima could provide guidance throughout this complex process.
If settlement negotiations fail, filing a lawsuit is another option to seek recovery. However, Ohio Revised Code §2305.10 states that the statute of limitations on bodily injury and property damage is two years from the date of the accident, so cases filed after this window may be barred from being heard in court.
How a Lima Car Accident Lawyer Could Help
If you were hurt in an automobile accident in Lima, you might want to consult with a professional. A Lima car accident lawyer with knowledge and experience in serving personal injury clients could review your case and help you pursue optimal compensation. Call today to schedule a consultation with an attorney in your area.