After a car accident, it’s critical to determine the at-fault party to determine how damages such as medical bills and car repairs are paid and who pays them. States have varying laws around fault in car accidents, but Ohio is considered an at-fault state.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault State
Because Ohio is an at-fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for car accident damages. If the damages incurred in the accident exceed the limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, they will be held financially responsible. Most states follow a similar no-fault law.
Only a few states such as Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida have no-fault laws, where drivers are required to file a claim with their own insurance companies regardless of who’s at fault.
Ohio Minimum Insurance Requirements
All drivers in Ohio are required to carry insurance. The minimum coverages are:
- $25,000 for injury/death of one person
- $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people
- $25,000 for property damage
However, the state recommends obtaining coverage beyond the minimum requirement for your protection.
At-Fault Insurance Claim Process
If you’re ready to start an insurance claim against the at-fault driver in your accident, there are a few things you should know about the process.
Ohio’s Comparative Negligence Law
Ohio law was previously based on contributory negligence, which prevented drivers from recovering any damages if they were in any way negligent in causing the accident, even if the other driver was primarily responsible.
However, the current law of modified comparative negligence allows you and the other driver to recover damages; however, the amount is reduced proportionally by your share of liability. For example, if your damages amounted to $100,000, but you were found to be 10% at fault, you would only be able to recover $90,000.
If you are over 50% liable for the accident, you can’t recover damages from the other driver and will have to file a claim with your own insurance.
Depending on your insurance policy and the circumstances of your accident, you can either file a claim with your insurance or the other driver’s. You should start filing your claim as soon as possible after the accident. If you file with your own insurance company, ask if there is a deadline to file a claim. That way, you know how much time you have.
Filing a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance
When you file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, their company will send an insurance adjuster to investigate the accident. They will likely try to dispute fault, pin more blame on you, and make the process difficult for you if you don’t have a lawyer. An attorney can fight for you and help you focus on your recovery.
The at-fault driver’s insurance may also try to settle quickly, but don’t be fooled by a lowball offer. Your lawyer can negotiate to get you the maximum compensation available.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
You can recover compensation from the at-fault driver for damages such as:
- Vehicle damages and repair costs
- Medical bills, treatments, and medications if you were injured
- Lost wages if the accident kept you from working
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of activities or hobbies
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the other driver involved in your car accident didn’t have insurance, you could still recover compensation. You can sue the at-fault driver directly, but doing so can be time-consuming, and you may not end up with the result you want.
The best way to protect yourself and recover compensation if your accident involves an uninsured driver is to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. With UM coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance and let them take the responsibility of recovering money for you.
Contact an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you were in a car accident and have questions about who will pay for your damages, reach out to a car accident lawyer at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA. We can help you deal with the insurance companies and guide you through the claims process — yours or the at-fault driver’s.
You deserve appropriate compensation for your vehicle damages and injuries, whether you pursue an insurance claim or a lawsuit.