If you were injured or suffered property damage in an automobile accident, you might have grounds to file a car accident claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver or a related liable party. However, before you can pursue compensation, you may wait to review Ohio car accident compensation laws to avoid making costly errors in your case.
The following are some key state laws that may affect your car accident claim or lawsuit.
All Car Accidents Must Be Reported If an Injury Occurred
Per Ohio Revised Code Section 5502.11, all drivers involved in an accident must report it to law enforcement if any of the following occurred:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage that exceeds $1,000
Involved drivers should also report their accident to their auto insurance company and send a notice of claim to the other driver’s insurer.
Filing a Crash Report Can Begin a Paper Trail for Your Car Accident Case
Reporting your incident is good practice, as you can retrieve a copy of the crash report from law enforcement and use this information as evidence for your claim. This report will detail:
- The date when the accident occurred
- Which parties were involved
- Which party was deemed at fault by the reporting officer
- What events took place
- Whether property damage, injury, or death occurred
- Other contributing causal factors, such as environmental conditions at the accident scene
Minimum Insurance Requirements Mandated By Law
Ohio state law mandates that vehicle drivers must carry auto insurance coverage. Per Ohio Revised Code Section 4509.101(G)(1)(a), drivers must have a policy of liability insurance that meets insurance minimum standards set by Ohio Revised Code Section 4509.20, which are:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage, including death, per person
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage, including death, per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage per accident
Insurance companies may offer other policies for accident coverage, such as uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, but drivers are not obligated to purchase this additional coverage.
Understanding Ohio’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
Ohio is a fault state that abides by a modified comparative negligence law, written in Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33. This law dictates that plaintiffs may still have grounds to pursue compensation from another party even if they share partial negligence for the accident that caused their incident, provided that their share of fault does not exceed the 50 percent.
This law means you retain your right to pursue compensation if you are 50 percent or less at fault for the accident.
Compensation Limits on Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.18 sets a financial cap on the amount of non-economic damages you can pursue in a personal injury lawsuit. Plaintiffs may not demand compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, that exceeds:
- $250,000, or
- Three times the total sum of economic losses (e.g., income loss, medical expenses) up to $350,000 per injured party and up to $500,000 per accident
There Are Exceptions to the Compensation Limits
In cases where plaintiffs suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’, such as a substantial and permanent physical deformity, no cap may apply.
Your car accident attorney can discuss whether you have grounds to argue no cap applies.
Ohio Law Limits Your Time to Take Legal Action Against the At-Fault Driver
Finally, if you intend to pursue compensation through a car accident lawsuit, you must do so within the time limits set by Ohio’s statute of limitations. Generally speaking, there are separate statutory deadlines for different types of cases, but the two main deadlines are:
- Ohio Revised Code 2305.10, mandates that plaintiffs filing personal injury lawsuits must file within two years of their accident
- Ohio Revised Code 2125.02, mandates that plaintiffs filing wrongful death lawsuits must file within two years of their loved one’s death
Your lawyer can identify which deadline applies to your case as well as any factors that might alter the statutory deadline.
We Can Discuss the Compensation Laws Further During a Free Consultation Today
If you have never filed a car accident claim or lawsuit before, our car accident lawyers at the Fitch Law Firm LLC can guide you through the litigation process. We understand Ohio car accident compensation laws, so we know what steps we need to take to file for compensation on your behalf.
Call (614) 545-3930 today to receive a free case review. Then, we can start working on your case right away.