When it comes to car accidents, Ohio follows the traditional “tort” or “fault” system. This means the individual who caused the accident is held accountable for all resulting damages and losses, including injuries to passengers, other drivers, and property damage.
If you were the passenger of a vehicle involved in an Ohio car accident, you will generally not be held liable—unless the accident was the result of your own negligent actions, such as if you did something to distract the driver. If you had no control over the actions of the vehicle driver, then you may be eligible to receive compensation for any sustained losses and damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Potential Avenues for Compensation after an Auto Accident
How you receive your financial award will depend on several factors. For the most part, your settlement or verdict will be awarded from the responsible party’s insurance coverage. However, this may change if you are in a hit-and-run car accident, if the at-fault driver is uninsured, or if your needs exceed the policy limits.
Your Own Insurance
In some cases, your attorney may be able to help you pursue compensation through your own insurance. If you are injured in a hit-and-run and the driver cannot be located, or if the at-fault party is an uninsured motorist, your insurance may cover you.
The Responsible Party’s Insurance
In at-fault states like Ohio, the insurance claim will be through the responsible party’s auto insurance company. Their coverage should account for your medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. If their insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your expenses, your personal injury attorney can help you pursue other options.
If you were injured, your health insurer should cover emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, and other medical costs. Health insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, however. If you are denied necessary medical treatment, or you still owe thousands of dollars after insurance intervention, your accident lawyers can assess your options to recover these losses.
A Personal Injury Claim
Typically, an insurance claim is the first option to recover your losses; however, insurance companies can sometimes make the recovery process difficult for accident victims. It is possible that your personal injury lawyer will need to consult with medical professionals to secure enough for your future medical expenses or to offer evidence of your current losses.
While most accident cases settle out of court, a personal injury lawsuit may be your best path to financial recovery. An accident attorney can help you decide if a lawsuit is appropriate for your situation.
The Principle of “Duty of Care” in Car Accident Cases
Whenever you are a passenger in a vehicle, you are owed a duty by the driver. All drivers need to take reasonable care to drive safely and prevent injury to both their passengers and other vehicles they share the road with. When drivers fail to fulfill this duty and their actions are considered negligent, then they may be held accountable for the damages resulting from their negligence.
If the driver of another vehicle was negligent, then you may opt to sue the negligent driver or the owner of the vehicle. If, on the other hand, the driver of the car you were in was negligent, then you may opt to sue the driver or owner of the vehicle you were riding in.
According to state law, passengers are generally entitled to sue all parties whose negligence they believe is responsible for their injuries. If a motor vehicle accident or injuries result from the negligence of two or more drivers or parties, then the injured passenger may opt to seek compensation from them all.
You Shouldn’t Have to Bear the Financial Burden of an Accident
In most instances, a vehicle passenger knows the driver personally. Understandably, you may be hesitant to take any form of legal action, especially if the driver at fault was a friend. Remember, however, that you may be left to deal with the unfair burden of paying for damages by failing to take action. You shouldn’t have to bear the cost of an accident that wasn’t your fault.
As difficult as it may be to take legal action, it is important to keep in mind that you are not necessarily pursuing compensation against the driver but against the driver’s insurance company and other negligent parties.
Ohio Insurance Laws Mandate Insurance Coverage
The Ohio financial responsibility law or FR law requires all drivers in the state to establish that if they cause an accident, they can pay for damages or injuries potentially caused to others. In order to comply with the requirements of the FR law, drivers often opt to buy car insurance. If so, then the driver’s coverage will likely pay for losses resulting from the crash up to the insurance policy’s limits. The minimum coverage in Ohio for bodily injury is $25,000.
In some cases, however, drivers opt to buy a financial responsibility bond. The bond only covers the individual named in the bond for property damage or bodily injury caused by that individual and not injuries to any other drivers, passengers, or property damage.
Ohio insurance and medical payment laws can be complex, so it may be best to consult with an experienced attorney who can protect your legal and financial rights as a passenger involved in an accident.
The Fitch Law Firm LLC Can Pursue Compensation for Your Accident Injuries
Call our office or fill out our online consultation form to schedule a free consultation and put our 30+ years of personal injury law experience to work for you.
The Next Call You Make
After Calling 911
Should Be Us.