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Who is to blame in a car accident?

Determining Liability in an Ohio Car Accident

Proving fault & determining liability in Ohio car accidents can be difficult. Kisling, Nestico & Redick is here to help. Free Consults Available.

Liability in Ohio Car Accidents

After a car accident, it’s common for drivers involved to accuse one another. However, what they may say or believe does not necessarily prove fault. To establish liability in Ohio car accidents, negligence must be proven.

The highly skilled Ohio car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick have years of experience proving negligence and liability in car accident cases. If you have been involved in a car accident and would like to determine who is at fault, contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW.

Ohio Follows the Tort System

The state of Ohio follows the tort, or at-fault insurance, system. This system states that if you are involved in a car accident, the driver who is considered at fault will be the one responsible for any damages the accident caused. These damages may include vehicle damage, medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, and mental anguish.

The insurance company of the at-fault driver will be liable for paying for these damages to the driver who was not at fault. In Ohio, every licensed driver with a registered vehicle on the road must carry insurance coverage. The minimum liability insurance required in the state is:

  • $25,000 for injuries or death, per person
  • $50,000 total for injuries or death caused by any one accident
  • $25,000 for property damage in an accident

Police Reports Help Establish Liability

In most cases, the police report of an accident is used to help establish liability. Since police are almost always the first at the scene, their account of the accident is important. A police report may contain the following information:

  • The name, address, and insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident
  • The location, date, and time of the crash
  • A description of weather and road conditions
  • The contact information of witnesses
  • A description of the vehicles involved and their damages
  • A diagram of the accident scene
  • Details regarding what was said to the police officer

Ohio’s Comparative Negligence Law

Ohio follows the comparative negligence law which gives an injured party the right to seek compensation for injuries even if they were partially responsible for the accident. This law improves upon the former contributory negligence law that stated that if an injured party was even one percent at fault, they could not recover any compensation.

Under the comparative negligence law, damages are reduced by your own negligence. For example, if you were 10 percent liable and suffered $10,000 in damages, you’d be able to collect $9,000 in damages. If you are at least 51 percent liable for the accident, then you will not be allowed to recover any compensation at all.

Liability in Ohio car accidents can sometimes be difficult to determine, and when compensation for damages is involved, it’s of great importance to have the skilled legal counsel of an Ohio car accident attorney from Kisling, Nestico & Redick on your side. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.

Common Reasons a Driver May Be Liable

Proving liability after an Ohio car accident can be complicated. However, the police report and other resources can make it easier to determine. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we have found that the most common reasons a driver may be held liable in a car accident include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Distracted driving
  • Careless driving

What to Do After an Ohio Car Accident?

There are certain steps to take after a car accident to ensure your rights and health are protected, including:

  • Seek Medical Attention – After an accident, it’s essential that you visit the doctor to treat your injuries. If you fail to do so, the at-fault party’s insurance company may argue that you are exaggerating your injuries or did not suffer from any harm after the accident.
  • Call the Police – Even if you believe you are okay, you must call the police so that a report can be filed. Do not leave the scene until law enforcement has arrived, collected your information, and given you permission to go.
  • Don’t Volunteer Information – Do not apologize to the other driver or say anything to the police that may be used against you in a potential personal injury lawsuit.
  • Document the Scene – Take photos of the accident scene as well as any vehicle damage and injuries.
  • Do Not Sign Any Documents Relating to the Accident – The other driver’s insurance company may approach you and ask you to sign certain documents. You should never sign anything without the assistance of a lawyer.
  • Contact a Car Accident Attorney – Reach out to a car accident attorney who can help you establish liability and ensure you are not taken advantage of by an insurer. They will assist you in collecting the fair compensation you may be entitled to.

Car Accident Liability FAQ?

How Is Fault & Liability Proven?

To assign responsibility for a car accident, you must demonstrate that the party in question acted with neglect. To establish negligence in a car crash, you must show:

  • A party had a duty to act reasonably under similar circumstances
  • This duty of care was breached
  • The breach caused your injuries
  • You suffered injuries as a result.

It takes evidence to identify who’s responsible for your car accident. Our attorneys will investigate, review the police and medical reports, any witness statements and properly assign liability. Then KNR will build the strongest possible case.

Is Ohio a “Fault” State?

Ohio follows a “fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for car accident injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses. This means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for compensating anyone who suffered harm as a result. In most cases, this compensation comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

What If the Insurance Company Say’s I’m At-Fault

Insurance companies work hard to reduce what they owe by denying their policyholder was in the wrong. One way they do this is by refuting liability and casting the blame on the victim. By working with a lawyer, you can properly illustrate the factors that lead to your accident and present evidence that someone else’s recklessness caused your injuries.

Can I Share Liability for a Car Accident

Yes. Car accidents can have numerous contributing factors, and Ohio follows the comparative negligence law. This gives an injured party the right to seek compensation for injuries even if they were partially responsible. Under the comparative negligence law, damages are reduced by your degree of responsibility.

For example, if you were 10% liable and suffered $10,000 in damages, you’d be able to collect $9,000. However, if you are 51 % liable for the accident or more, then you cannot recover any compensation.

Contact an Attorney for Help Determining Liability

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, it is in your best interest to contact the Ohio car accident attorneys of Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away. We will investigate your case and help you establish liability so that you may recover compensation for your damages. We will also protect your rights fight for compensation if your case develops into a personal injury trial.

For help with determining liability in Ohio car accidents, contact us at 1-800-HURT-NOW.

Other Types of Car Accidents

  • Car Accident Settlements
  • Car Accident Compensation
  • Car Accident Liability & Fault
  • Unable to Work after an Accident
  • What to Do After an Accident?
  • Passenger Injuries
  • Car Accident Lawsuits
  • Getting Your Car Repaired
  • Short-Term Disability
  • Insurance Statement
  • Ohio Car Accident Laws
  • Expert Witnesses

How to Determine Who is at Fault in an Auto Accident

Determining who is legally responsible in an auto accident requires pinpointing who the negligent party is. In most cases, common sense can be used to determine fault. However, most drivers who are victims in accidents do not know exactly which laws are broken by the at-fault party. This makes it more difficult to prove a case to an insurer when making a claim. There are a few places to look for this supportive information.

Police Reports
If the accident was reported to police or if 911 was called to report injuries, there will be a police report. Call the local law enforcement traffic division to ask about getting a copy of the police report. Many police reports contain a responding officer’s opinion about who was at fault. If one party clearly violated any laws, that will be stated in the report. In most cases, any broad or specific mention of the other party violating a law that resulted in an accident is enough to satisfy an insurance company.

State Laws
Another good resource for finding information is state traffic laws. These are known in most states as vehicle codes, and they can usually be found by visiting the state’s DMV site online. For those who prefer written information, it is better to visit a local DMV office to request a copy of these. They may be printed in driving handbooks as well. Campus law libraries and local public libraries may have more detailed versions of these codes. However, the simplified versions provided by the DMV are written in easy-to-understand terms. In the code, look for a summary of listings. Search for topics that are applicable to accidents such as roadway markings, right of way and speed limits. When unsure where to look, ask an agent for help.

No-Doubt Liability
In some types of accidents, the other driver is almost always at fault. With these forms of accidents, insurers rarely investigate the claim or argue about them. For example, someone who hits the back of another driver’s vehicle is almost always to blame regardless of the other driver’s reason for stopping or how fast they braked. One of the basic rules of the road in every state is that a driver should follow a vehicle ahead at a safe enough distance to be able to stop even if the other person brakes suddenly. Also, damage is easy to prove with a rear-end accident. One driver’s vehicle will be damaged on the front end, and the other driver’s vehicle will have damage to the rear.

For drivers who are rear-ended, there are still a few situations where their carelessness is a contributing factor to the accident. If the insurance company investigates the claim and finds that the claimant’s brake lights were out, this could reduce the amount of allowable compensation. The claimant’s compensation may also be lower if he or she had ignored mechanical issues that should have been fixed and were a contributing factor to the accident.

Another example of an accident where there is a clear violator is a left-turn accident. Anyone who makes a left turn and is struck by a vehicle on the other side of the road that is going straight in the opposite direction is an at-fault driver. However, drivers with the right-of-way at a four-way stop are not to blame for left-turn accidents. This is also true if there is a green turn arrow in an intersection where oncoming traffic ignores the signal. Another exception is when the oncoming vehicle greatly exceeds the speed limit, which results in an inaccurate time calculation for the turning driver.

In a left-turn accident, it is usually easy to see who is to blame. The turning driver will have damage on the side of the vehicle, and the oncoming vehicle will have damage to the front end or the side if the turning driver tried to swerve. To learn more about determining accident fault and how different types of accidents are investigated, discuss concerns with an agent.

How to Prove Fault in an Auto Accident

Proving another driver is at fault for an auto accident is key to collecting compensation for injuries, wage loss and property damage

Determining fault for an auto accident in Tennessee, or anywhere for that matter, must be done before any judgments can be made.

Proving fault can be really easy sometimes – a drunk driver for example is clearly negligent if they hit someone else on the road. Much of the time, common sense will make proving fault easy. One doesn’t need to be an auto accident attorney in Nashville or Knoxville to do that.

Having «official» proof though can help your case tremendously, making negotiations with the offending driver’s insurance company or your auto accident/personal injury claim go much smoother.

Continue reading for 3 different ways you can obtain this «official» proof and establish who’s at fault for an auto accident.

«No-Doubt» Liability

In some cases, it’s pretty clear who’s at fault for the collision. With very few exceptions, an insurance company will not argue who was at fault. However, they may still try and offer you a lower settlement not commiserate with your injuries and damages. The two primary types of «no-doubt» liability include:

  • Rear-end collisions

If you’re hit from behind, it’s almost always the fault of the following driver. Being able to stop safely is one of the most basic rules of the road. Even if you had to stop abruptly, it’s still the responsibility of the driver following you to stop in time.

There are a few exceptions to this rule that may reduce your compensation. For example, if the accident occurred at night time and one of your brake lights were out, you can be held partially liable. Another example would be if you failed to adequately move your vehicle off of the roadway if it was disabled.

  • Left-turn accidents

If you were driving straight down the road and another car making a left turn hits you, they will be deemed responsible, or at-fault, for the accident. If there is damage to the front-end of one vehicle and the front right-side of another, it can be determined that a left-turn accident occurred.

There are exceptions to this rule too. If the car traveling straight was speeding excessively or ran a red light, they may in fact be liable for the auto accident.

Police Reports

For every auto accident that occurs, the police file a report on their observations and findings. Obtaining copies of these reports can be a big help in establishing fault for the collision. If fault is clear and obvious, the officer may state that in his report. Any mention of a traffic law violation or careless driving by the other vehicle is good proof of fault for an auto accident.

Traffic laws (state and local)

To obtain additional support for your claim, research Tennessee (state) and local traffic laws. Clearly demonstrating if someone violated a particular law will dramatically help your case.

You can research state driving laws through the Tennessee Department of Transportation website. Or, you can visit your local library for a copy of all current statutes related to auto accidents. Look for terms related to your particular case like «speed limits», «right of way», or «roadway markings.»

If you think a particular law applies to your case – meaning it proves fault on the part of the other driver – write down the statute number and the exact text of the law.

To research any local laws (i.e. Knoxville or Nashville), visit your county courthouse or library for a copy of all local laws.

Even though you may be able to easily prove fault, obtaining the amount of compensation needed to treat your injuries and repair damages is another story.

This is where a Tennessee attorney experienced in auto accidents can help.

If you’ve been in an accident and need assistance in obtaining compensation, Knoxville auto accident attorneys at the Gilreath Law Firm can assist you in proving fault and bringing forward the strongest case possible.

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