Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: June 20th, 2017 | Categories: Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer
The shortest, simplest answer to the question of when to enlist the help of a motor vehicle accident attorney is when injuries or a death are caused by another driver. Responding that way does a serious disservice to victims of car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian crashes, however.
An experienced Columbus, Ohio, car accident attorney can assist people in claiming and receiving monetary compensation and damages in many difficult situations. Five of the most common calls the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers with the Jones Law Group take from potential clients are briefly described below. If you got hurt or lost a family member in any type of collision involving a motor vehicle, reach out to let us know if we can be of service. Call (614) 545-9998 or fill out this online contact form to request a no-cost, no obligation consultation.
Hit-and-run accidents leave victims feeling like they have no options for covering medical bills, replacing lost wages, paying for car repairs, and covering the costs of physical rehabilitation or mental/emotional therapy. Enlisting the help of motor vehicle accident attorney can alleviate that concern.
When the person at fault for causing what Ohio statutes and courts call a hit-skip cannot be found, the attorney representing the victim can prepare claims for uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Carrying UM insurance is optional in Ohio, but it is also inexpensive and well worth the few dollars extra in premiums. The victims’ own insurance company pays UM claims, and the filing process is like submitting claims against another driver’s insurance policy.
Another option following a hit-skip crash is seeking underinsured motorist coverage. This is always available when an at-fault driver has low limits for paying injury and property damage claims, but it is especially useful in hit-and-run cases because fear of financial consequence is one of the main reasons people flee accident scenes.
Insurance company representatives often treat claimants — the people who file claims — as both priorities and nuisances. They will pressure an injured victim or the legal executor of a deceased person to make an official recorded statement about the crash and its consequences within days of the incident. Even if that happens, the rep may then go weeks or months without following up.
First, crash victims should always decline requests to provide recorded statements over the phone and without legal representation. Anything told to an insurance company on the record will be used to decide whether to approve or reject a claim. Changing an official statement when more evidence becomes available or when memories blocked out by trauma come back is often impossible.
If the insurance company goes silent, enlisting the help of a plaintiff’s attorney gives the claimant an aggressive ally and champion. Insurance reps will take calls from and meetings with lawyers because they know they may be sued if they do not.
A driver’s auto insurance covers all the people in his or her vehicle. This means that drivers can file injury claims following single-vehicle wrecks, and passengers can file claims against the policy of a parent or friend. Admittedly, collecting on single-vehicle claims can be difficult. Then, in effect suing a relative or friend can create hard feelings. Hiring a Columbus, Ohio, car accident attorney to intercede and deal directly with the insurer can lower tensions and limit the types of interactions that lead to arguments and recriminations.
Few injured accident victims or grieving family members know how to calculate the financial impacts of a serious or fatal vehicle accident. Individuals facing mounting bills, reduced income, and lost companionship can also understandably reach the conclusion that settling early for whatever the insurance company considers “fair” will at least resolve one source of stress.
A knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney will add up current bills, project future expenses, and apply insights from damage awards in similar cases to present the insurance company with a truly reasonable settlement amount. If that gets rejected, the plaintiff’s lawyer will be prepared to go to court on behalf of his or client. While a claim remains unresolved, the attorney will work with the client to identify and access sources of medical care, financial assistance, and emotional support.
Ohio courts enforce a legal principle called comparative negligence. Applied to motor vehicle accidents, this means that the person 51 percent responsible for causing a crash can be found responsible for compensating and paying damages to people who were less at fault. An injured or deceased victim does not have to have acted perfectly to hold a more-negligent or reckless person accountable.
Disputes over comparative negligence often go to court. No one should ever appear before a judge or jury without representation from a skilled attorney.