To make a car insurance claim, you’ll need:
- Basic information like the date, time, and location of the accident
- The other driver’s contact and insurance information
- Contact information of eyewitnesses
- Photo evidence of the accident scene and vehicle damage
This information will usually be enough for your insurance adjuster to walk you through the process of filing a claim. However, if the information is insufficient for the adjuster to make their decision or the other driver is disputing fault, it can be more difficult to resolve a claim. A car accident lawyer can help you make sure your claim is complete and collect evidence on your behalf.
If the Other Driver Is At Fault, You’ll Need Evidence
If you contributed to or caused your collision, you can still make a claim through your own insurance. You’ll need the other driver’s information, pictures of your vehicle, and the time and cause of the accident. However, if you’re attempting to secure compensation through the other driver’s insurance, you’ll need proof that they caused your collision.
Ohio is an at-fault state, meaning that proof of negligence is required to compel the other party to pay your damages. If the other driver committed a traffic violation, a traffic ticket or eyewitness account of this behavior will help you meet the criteria. Here is an example of how an attorney could help you demonstrate the required elements of negligence for your claim:
- The other driver must have owed you a duty of care. All drivers are required to behave as any reasonable person would on the road. If the other driver shared the road with you, then they owed you this duty to drive cautiously.
- The other driver breached their duty of care. Perhaps they ran a traffic light or were speeding when they hit you. An attorney could gather surveillance footage, police reports, or other evidence to establish that they were negligent.
- The other driver’s negligence caused the collision. The fact that the other driver was negligent isn’t sufficient to establish fault. An attorney must prove that their negligence caused your collision. For example, if they ran a red light and collided with you, it is evident that their behavior caused the collision as you entered the intersection legally.
- You suffered as a result of the collision. An attorney must demonstrate that you suffered injuries and other damages as a result of the collision. Your legal team will use evidence like your medical bills, the cost of repairs for your vehicle, and testimony of your personal suffering to establish these losses to the insurance agent or to the court.
The Auto Insurance Policy Makes a Difference in the Claims Process
Unfortunately, the available insurance coverage isn’t always enough to cover your losses. If you’re filing with your own insurance, you may exceed the policy limit and have to cover the excess on your own. In this capacity, comprehensive coverage is the best option for severe crashes and extensive property damage.
However, if you’re dependent on the other party’s insurance to pay your losses and they don’t have comprehensive coverage, you may be forced to file a lawsuit to obtain the excess.
Per the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), the minimum insurance requirements include:
- $25,000 per injury or fatality of one person
- $50,000 per injury or fatality of two or more people
- $25,000 for total property damage per accident
Will I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Only your attorney can tell you if filing a lawsuit is the best avenue for you. However, there are a few common scenarios that make litigation a more likely outcome for your case, including:
- You suffered severe injuries
- There is excessive property damage
- Someone passed away as a result of the accident
- Someone was exceedingly negligent when they caused the collision
- A company or large entity was responsible for the collision
- There are multiple liable parties
What If the Other Party doesn’t Have Sufficient Insurance?
Your attorney can help you determine all of your available options for compensation. You may be able to pursue the remaining costs through your own insurance company, especially if you paid for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
If you’re unsure of what you may be eligible to use per your insurance coverage, our team can help you interpret your available policies and determine the best path for your auto insurance claim.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Seek prompt medical care after the accident. If your injuries are serious, you may need to ride to the hospital in an ambulance and emergency care. Otherwise, you may choose to visit a doctor a day or two after the accident. You will need to know the extent of your injuries to make a car insurance claim, so it is important to get a medical evaluation done.
You also will need a complete rundown of your injuries and your future health outlook.
The other driver’s insurance company is not going to take your word for it that you have injuries. You will need a doctor’s report that details your injuries and lays out a treatment plan.
Follow the Doctor’s Plan for Your Recovery
Once you have a plan for your recovery in hand, you need to understand it fully. You need to follow your doctor’s advice. Do not skip appointments or take part in activities of which your doctor does not approve.
Any deviation from the medical plan that the doctor lays out could put your car insurance claim in jeopardy. In addition, the other driver’s insurance company may suggest that your injuries are not serious if you skip appointments or don’t follow the doctor’s orders.
Determine Your Ability to Return to Work
If you have injuries that affect your ability to work, you can add the wages you lost to any settlement amount you are seeking.
Some people may suffer a debilitating injury in a car crash that means they will not be able to return to the same job. If you must take a permanent pay cut because of your injuries, you can seek a judgment for the difference in your salary.
As part of your visits with your doctor, you should discuss your work situation. The physician must verify that you are unable to work during your recovery.
Consider Consulting with a Personal Injury Attorney
Showing that the other motorist made a driving error that led to a crash could result in you receiving damages for a personal injury claim.
Sometimes, this is an easy process. If the police issued a traffic ticket to the other driver or assigned blame to the other driver in the accident report, this shows fault.
We Can Investigate Your Car Accident
If police do not assign blame for the crash, you will need to use the facts in the case to show an error on the other driver’s part. This can be a challenging task to take on by yourself. As the Ohio Department of Insurance points out, you have the right to seek help from a private attorney.
Our car accident insurance claim attorneys are ready to investigate the crash. When you become our client, we will perform several tasks for you during our investigation, including:
- Reviewing any video of the accident
- Speaking to accident witnesses
- Interviewing your doctors about your injuries
- Reviewing the police report
- Hiring an accident recreation expert if needed
We will put in the time necessary to build a case that shows our clients did not cause the accident. We rely on the facts in the case to show you should collect a fair settlement amount because of the other driver’s mistake.
Determining a Fair Amount to Request for a Settlement
When preparing to make a collision claim after an injury accident, you need to come up with an amount to request as an award. This amount should consider your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses. Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.18(B)(1) does not limit the recovery of economic losses.
Our team has experience with cases like this. You can count on us to take the time to determine exactly what kind of health future you are facing and what kind of pain you may experience going forward. We then use that information to determine an amount to request from the other driver’s insurance company.
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Our Car Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help with Your Case
If you are facing a monetary loss after a car accident that you did not cause, you have the right to seek financial recovery.
The team of attorneys at the Fitch Law Firm LLC is ready to help with your case. We will walk you through your legal options and next steps and answer your questions. Contact us for a free consultation today.
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