Determining fault in car accidents in Columbus involves examining the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. It is crucial to establish fault because Ohio is an at-fault state, meaning that the responsible motorist or their insurance company is liable for covering the damages resulting from the accident.
A Columbus car accident attorney can help determine fault for your accident and injuries and pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
What Evidence and Factors Are Used To Determine Fault?
The following are some key factors and evidence that are usually considered when determining fault in a car accident:
Police officers who respond to an accident scene will make a report, which often includes their assessment of the accident, statements from those involved and witnesses, and any traffic citations that were issued. Although the police report is a fundamental document, it is not definitive, and insurance companies may perform their own investigations.
Violations of Traffic Laws
Traffic law violations, such as speeding, running a red light, and failing to yield, are often strong indicators of fault. A driver who violates traffic laws may be considered to be responsible for the accident.
Statements from individuals who witnessed the accident can provide critical information on how the collision occurred. Their accounts can help determine the series of events that occurred and who was at fault.
Photographic and Video Evidence
Photographs or videos taken at the accident scene can serve as important pieces of evidence. They can help document the position of vehicles, road and weather conditions, nearby signage, and other details.
There may also be surveillance cameras in the area that catch the accident on video as it occurs. Some drivers also use dashcams, and these can often provide definitive evidence of exactly what transpired.
Statements From Drivers and Passengers
Law enforcement and other interested parties will usually take into consideration statements made by the motorists and any passengers involved in the accident. However, drivers can also be biased and offer different accounts of what occurred and the role their actions played in the accident.
Furthermore, if a driver makes any admissions of possible responsibility at the scene, it may not be legally binding and may be open to interpretation.
In complex cases, accident reconstruction experts may be used to recreate the series of events leading to the crash and analyze the evidence. Their expertise can help determine factors such as the drivers’ actions, vehicle speed, and existing road conditions, providing crucial information about the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Insurance Company Investigations
Insurance companies often conduct their own investigations into accidents. They will review the evidence, statements, and documentation to determine if they are liable for damages and the amount they may be responsible for.
Other Considerations When Determining Fault in a Columbus Car Accident
In many cases, determining fault is not straightforward and may be shared between more than one party. Ohio uses the comparative negligence system, meaning that if multiple parties were partially responsible, their financial contribution for damages would be determined based on the percentage of fault assigned to each party.
If you’re involved in a car accident in Columbus, you are strongly advised to seek medical attention, even if you don’t have injuries that are readily apparent. If you do not have a medical record or a health professional’s opinion, it would likely be difficult to show the severity and potential duration of your injuries.
How Is Negligence and Liability Determined in a Columbus Car Accident?
If you retain a lawyer and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to show the other party was negligent and you sustained damages as a result. This requires demonstrating that the following four elements are true in your case:
- Duty of care: You must show that the potentially liable party owed you a legal duty to act with caution to protect others on the road and avoid causing them harm.
- Breach of duty: The other party must have breached their duty by failing to act in the way that a reasonable person would have acted under the same circumstances.
- Causation: The other party’s actions must have directly or proximately caused your injuries. This means that your injuries could not have been due to another factor or pre-existing.
- Damages: You must have suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. That is, you suffered losses as a result of your accident injuries, such as medical bills, property damage, or pain and suffering.
If you and your attorney can show all four of these elements were present, you may be able to recover compensation from the potentially liable party for your losses.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Car Accident Claim?
You may be entitled to damages for the losses you suffered as a result of your accident. If another party is found liable, they or their insurance company will be responsible for providing you with compensation. Damages commonly include the following:
- Medical expenses, such as emergency medical care, doctor’s visits, hospital bills, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and more
- Lost wages, or the income that you lost as a result of your injury that prevented you from working
- Reduced earning capacity if your injuries have made it challenging or impossible for you to work in the same capacity as before the accident
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
- Pain and suffering, for the physical pain and emotional anguish you experienced as a result of your accident and injuries
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life if your injuries make it difficult or impossible for you to engage in the hobbies and activities you used to enjoy
- Loss of consortium if your injury has damaged your relationship with your spouse or partner
- Scarring and disfigurement if your injury left you with long-lasting or permanent scars or other disfigurements
The amount of damages you are entitled to will depend on the severity and potential duration of your injuries, the extent of your losses, and other compensable outcomes of the accident.
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If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. At The Fitch Law Firm LLC, we can help you navigate the complexities of proving the other party was negligent and financially liable for your medical bills, past, present, and future income, and more.
Reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation, and we can begin working on your case so we can pursue the compensation you deserve.
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