If you were involved in a car accident in Columbus in which the other driver was uninsured, you still have options available to pursue compensation. You can do this through your own insurance policy or by filing a lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident.
A Columbus car accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities surrounding insurance and personal injury claims that can arise in these circumstances.
Can You File a Car Accident Claim With Your Own Insurance Policy?
If you sustained injuries in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, pursuing a claim against your insurance policy may provide you with coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage is an option that any driver can purchase for their policy. If you have this coverage, it can provide you with protection if the responsible party is uninsured and help cover your medical expenses and property damage. Ohio does not require motorists to carry UM/UIM, so if you are unsure whether you are covered, you should check with your insurer to learn more.
You may also have personal injury protection (PIP) as part of your insurance coverage, which can help cover medical expenses and possibly lost wages regardless of fault. However, like UM/UIM, PIP is not required by law, and you will need to consult with your insurer if you aren’t sure if you have it or not.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver?
Because Ohio is an at-fault state, drivers must pay for any medical expenses, property damage, and other related expenses sustained due to any accident they cause. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you can file a personal injury claim.
However, the at-fault party is not required to pay for any expenses until the claim is resolved. A common problem with pursuing the driver directly is that motorists who have little or no insurance may not have the financial resources to pay you compensation.
In this case, accident survivors may petition the court to have the individual’s wages garnished and assets seized to cover damages. Depending on the circumstances, the driver may be ordered to make a one-time payment or pay through an arranged payment plan.
What Are the Recoverable Damages for Car Accident Cases?
You may be able to recover compensation for your car accident losses in the form of damages, including the following:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment, hospital stays, rehab therapy, surgeries, and prescription medication
- Lost wages related to the time you took off work due to your injuries and recovery time
- Reduced earning capacity, if you are unable to work in the future or earn the same wages
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Ohio?
According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10, you generally have just two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. If you do not meet the deadline to file, you may be barred from ever receiving compensation for damages from the same accident in the future.
This timeline may at first appear sufficient, but in reality, you may not be left with much time after negotiating with your insurer after filing a claim. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the sooner they can begin investigating your case to ensure your right to pursue legal action against the potentially liable party.
Seek Medical Attention After a Columbus Car Accident
You are strongly urged to seek medical attention after a car accident, whether you are aware of any injuries you’ve sustained or not. Not only could this threaten your health, but it could also weaken your claim and result in an inability to have medical bills paid if you discover injuries later.
In other words, you require solid medical evidence of the nature and severity of any injuries related to your accident. If you don’t have evidence such as medical records, test results, or a health provider’s opinion, your insurer could challenge the existence of your injuries or their cause. In the long run, you will want to do everything you can to improve your condition; otherwise, the liable party could refuse to pay for some or all of your medical care.
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Should You Accept the First Settlement Offer for a Car Accident Claim?
Your insurance company may initially deny your claim or offer you a swift settlement. However, these offers often do not account for the full amount of the policyholder’s past, present, and future expenses. Furthermore, once you accept a settlement, you cannot request more money later on. That is, even if you sustain additional damages, they will become your financial responsibility alone, and your insurer has no obligation to pay you more.
Also, talking to an insurance company can jeopardize your case if you say something that can be used against your claim for compensation. To avoid this unfortunate outcome, you are urged to consult with a car accident lawyer who can help you determine whether the offer truly meets your needs and, if not, work on your behalf to secure you the compensation you deserve.
The Fitch Law Firm LLC Helps Accident Victims Injured by Uninsured Motorists
Although it may be readily apparent who is most financially at fault for a car accident, securing compensation from an uninsured driver can be complex and requires in-depth knowledge of the law as it applies to these accidents.
At The Fitch Law Firm LLC, we understand how to navigate the process of negotiating with insurance companies and the legal system and will work to obtain the best possible outcome on your behalf. Reach out to us to receive a free, no-obligation case review. We can help you secure fair compensation and hold the uninsured motorist financially responsible for their actions.
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