While you can hire a personal injury attorney to represent you at any time, there is a limited window for filing a lawsuit in Ohio. It may be in your best interest to get started on your case as soon as possible, as this gives your legal team time to gather evidence and file paperwork.
You may want to reach out to our Columbus personal injury lawyer well before the state’s statute of limitations expires.
Learn About Ohio’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases
Generally speaking, Ohio law gives claimants two years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car collision. Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10 details this portion of the legal code, along with some limited exceptions.
Once this statute of limitations expires, accident victims no longer have a legal right to seek compensation for their losses in court, making it important to take action quickly after your collision.
Reasons to Reach Out to a Lawyer Soon After a Car Accident
In general, you have two years to seek compensation after a car accident in Ohio. A lawyer may be unable to take a case too close to the deadline.
Legal claims take time. Therefore, you may want to start working with a legal team soon after your collision.
Getting to work right away makes it easier for an attorney to:
- Speak to witnesses while they have clear memories about what happened
- Visit the scene of the accident before it’s completely cleared and potential evidence disappears
- Get access to important documents, like the police report
- Request video footage from nearby surveillance cameras
A lawyer can also step in to help you with insurance agents if you get immediate assistance. Our team can make sure you do not accept an insurance agent’s settlement offer if it does not meet your needs.
Steps to Take at the Accident Scene
You can take several steps at the accident scene to help with your legal claim. For example, you can:
- Call the police. Ohio law requires you to call the police if a collision causes injuries or fatalities.
- Get the contact information from the other driver and witnesses. Later, your lawyer can contact these individuals and use their testimony to bolster your claim.
- Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. Once your car gets towed, taking photos of the damage could prove difficult.
What Should I Do After Leaving the Accident Scene?
While you consider legal help in the aftermath of your collision, you may have questions about your next steps. To preserve your legal rights, you may consider:
- Seeking medical attention. Medical care serves as the foundation of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. During negotiations, your lawyer can use your x-rays, medications, and other information to bolster your claim.
- Adhering to your doctor’s treatment plan. You should follow your recommended treatment plan as closely as possible. This involves going to physical therapy, taking certain medications, and refraining from strenuous activity.
- Refusing to give a recorded statement. The insurance company may ask you for a recorded statement. Don’t give one. You don’t have to, and anything you share could discredit your case.
- Keeping all information related to your case. You want to recover every penny you deserve. By keeping copies of your receipts, invoices, and bills, your lawyer can accurately assess your losses.
- Not accepting any responsibility for the collision. The insurer hopes that you’ll admit fault for the accident, so it can offer less than you need. You should refrain from saying anything that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault. You should even avoid saying, “I’m sorry.”
If you work with a lawyer, they can explain what other post-accident considerations could bolster your case.
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How Long does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
It may take weeks or months to settle a claim with insurance companies after a car accident. An insurance adjuster may offer less than you need or are due, possibly requiring several rounds of negotiations.
Our car accident lawyer can handle these negotiations for you. Lawyers in the Ohio area understand the strategies insurance companies use and will fight for fair financial recovery.
How Long does It Take to Resolve a Lawsuit for a Car Accident?
A lawyer can also help you file a lawsuit against the driver who caused your car accident in Ohio. The time to complete a lawsuit can vary greatly, depending on the facts surrounding your case.
Note that you do not have to resolve your lawsuit within two years of a collision in Ohio. You have to start the legal process by the two-year mark to qualify for compensation for your:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income at work
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
Some lawsuits end within a few weeks, while more complex cases can last much longer. Your lawyer can provide you with an estimate about the time to resolve your case after reviewing all the facts.
Generally, it may take less time to settle a car accident claim than a lawsuit.
Speak to Us About Your Legal Options Following an Ohio Car Accident
Hiring a personal injury attorney early on can help keep your case on track and ensure you are prepared for all deadlines.
Speak with our team at The Fitch Law Firm LLC today for free by calling us.
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