When a car accident occurs, it can sometimes be difficult to determine who is at fault for what happened. However, determining fault is critical to the recovery of damages following a car accident. In Ohio and other at-fault states, the accident victim or the person seeking damages can file a claim with their own insurer or file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer to recover damages. The accident victim may also file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. In any case, accident victims are often entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages relating to the accident.
Determining fault in an accident
Most car accidents are caused by the negligent actions of one or more parties. Drivers, vehicle owners, employers, and trucking companies are some of the most named defendants in car accident lawsuits.
If you can prove that another party acted negligently and that their negligence caused your accident, it is likely that they will have to pay you damages. For example, a driver may act negligently by:
- Driving while impaired by alcohol
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Driving at an excessive rate of speed
- Failing to pay attention
Police reports, photos and videos of the scene, witness testimony, expert testimony, and medical records are all used to help establish that a party’s negligence caused your accident and resulting injuries and damages.
What if I am partially at fault?
In some cases, accident victims may have played a role in their own accident. For example, in a head-on collision, both drivers may have speeding, and therefore, both drivers contributed to the accident. Under Ohio’s modified comparative negligence laws, a party who is less than 51 percent liable for an accident can still recover damages. However, the damages awarded will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, if you are found 30 percent liable for the accident, your award will be reduced from $100,000 to $70,000.
A personal injury attorney can help you build your case against any parties at-fault for your accident and help you recover the damages you deserve.