Even with new vehicle technology and strict traffic laws, reckless drivers injure unsuspecting motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists every day. While there are accident situations that are unavoidable, victims should know that the majority of crashes are preventable and the result of human error. If you’ve been injured in a crash, a Columbus car accident lawyer from Bey & Associates, LLC can help.
After a wreck, you may be wondering how you’re going to cover your medical expenses, take time off work to heal, and manage any pain you’re experiencing. Fortunately, the civil justice system gives accident victims the opportunity to seek compensation for the losses and hold the negligent party accountable for what happened.
Car Accidents in Columbus: Facts and Statistics
The Ohio State Highway Patrol tracks the number of crashes that occur in the state every year. According to the most recent data, there were over 65,000 traffic accidents statewide in 2018. As a result, 17,853 crashes resulted in injuries and nearly 500 were fatal.
In Franklin County, where Columbus resides, officers investigated hundreds of accidents in 2018 in order to determine a cause. Through the investigations, some motorists were cited with speeding, reckless driving, and operating vehicles while intoxicated.
If you’ve been involved in a crash in Columbus and believe another driver is to blame, you can file a car accident claim to seek compensation for your losses. Part of building a successful claim involves determining how and why the accident happened. To do that, it’s important to understand the type of crash you were in.
Common Types of Car Wrecks
Car accidents can happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re going 25 mph through a small neighborhood or traveling down the interstate during rush hour. How the vehicles collide determines the category of accident. Some of the most common types of crashes include the following:
- Rear-End Collision. Rear-end crashes often happen at intersections with traffic lights or stop signs. If a driver is distracted and fails to notice the driver in front of them has slowed or stopped, they risk colliding with the back of the vehicle.
- Side-Impact Accident. Sometimes referred to as T-bone accidents, side-impact crashes happen when one vehicle crashes into the left or right side of another. These are also most common at intersections—especially when a negligent driver disregards the rules of the road or fails to properly abide by traffic signals.
- Head-On Wreck. Head-on accidents are among the deadliest type of car accidents. Often the result of drunk or distracted driving, head-on collisions happen when a vehicle drifts out of its lane into opposing traffic.
- Single Car Accident. Statistically, the majority of car accidents only involve one vehicle. This is why most crashes only result in property damage. Single vehicle wrecks are most common in parking lots.
- Multi-Vehicle Crash. Accidents involving multiple vehicles have the potential to be catastrophic—especially when occurring at high speeds. If a driver loses control of their vehicle on the highway and other drivers are unable to maneuver safely out of the way, serious or even fatal injuries are possible.
- Rollover. Larger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, have a higher center of gravity. This means they are more susceptible to rollover accidents when compared to smaller passenger vehicles. A vehicle can rollover if a driver speeds too sharply around a curve or in the event of inclement weather.
- Hit-and-Run Wreck. When two or more vehicles are involved in a crash, the drivers are required to stay at the scene, evaluate the situation, and share contact information with each other. When a driver flees the scene, anyone who is injured may not receive the medical attention they need in a timely manner.
The type of car accident you are in can affect your physical injuries and financial losses. To ensure your compensation is reasonable, you’ll want to have a comprehensive understanding of your physical injuries, expenses, and other losses related to the accident.
What To Do After a Traffic Accident
It’s normal to feel emotionally overwhelmed after a car accident, especially if you or someone you know has been injured. However, it’s important to remain aware of your surroundings and take the necessary steps to protect yourself, others involved in the crash, and your financial future.
No matter the extent of the accident you’re in, stop your vehicle, assess the situation, and determine if emergency medical services are needed. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to file a police report. It’s important to note that even if you feel okay, you should seek medical attention. Not all car accident injuries are apparent immediately, and you’ll want to make sure everything is properly documented.
If you can, gather evidence at the scene of the accident. This could involve recording what you remember, taking photographs of the vehicular damage and your physical injuries, speaking with potential witnesses, and making note of when and where the accident happened.
After you’ve received medical attention and spoken with the police, it’s time to seek guidance from a car accident attorney. They’ll be aware of your legal rights and options and help you decide if filing a claim is right for you.
Filing a Car Accident Claim in Ohio
While taking legal action for a car accident can seem intimidating, you should take comfort in the fact that there is a process to follow. Your Columbus lawyer will guide you through that process to ensure you have the best chances of recovering fairly.
Investigating a Car Crash
When you bring a potential claim to a lawyer, they will evaluate the experience you went through to determine if there are grounds for legal action. In some instances, like with a drunk driver, negligence is clear. There are other situations, however, where an accident reconstructionist will need to be consulted to determine if negligence occurred and caused the crash.
While the investigation is ongoing, it’s important to keep track of your physical injuries, expenses, and other losses, as your lawyer will need an accurate account of your losses to determine what you’re owed.
Determining Liability After a Wreck
While every situation is different, it’s likely you will start seeking compensation through the opposing driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer will speak to the assigned adjuster and ensure nothing is said that could potentially jeopardize your claim.
To prove negligence, you’ll need to show that the other driver owed you a duty of care and breached that responsibility. For example, drivers are supposed to abide by all traffic laws. If the driver that hit you ran a stop sign, you can use that to show they were negligent. Once negligence has been established, your attorney can focus on valuing your claim by looking at the injuries you sustained and their financial ramifications.
Evaluating the Value of a Car Accident Claim
The value of a car accident is based on economic and noneconomic factors. Economic losses include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic losses are harder to determine as they’re based on more subjective losses—like pain and suffering. In some situations, punitive damages may be available if a driver was found to be deliberately negligent—like if they were drinking and driving. Punitive damages serve to punish the at-fault party and discourage others from acting similarly.
Once your lawyer has an idea of what you are rightfully owed, negotiations can begin. It’s important to note that while the majority of car accidents result in a settlement, this isn’t always the case. A settlement occurs outside of the courtroom when the two parties agree on an amount of compensation. In most cases, both sides also agree to forfeit any further legal action. In the event you can’t reach a reasonable settlement amount, you can file a car accident lawsuit and seek an official verdict from a judge or jury.
Secure Your Future With Bey & Associates, LLC
At Bey & Associates, LLC we understand how a car accident can completely upend your life. It may seem impossible to manage a legal claim while you’re trying to cope with the physical and emotional trauma you were wrongfully put through. That, however, is where we come in. When you work with a Columbus car accident lawyer, they will guide you through the legal process in a way that’s manageable. This way, you’ll be able to focus on your recovery and be on the path to receiving the compensation you need to cover your losses and expenses.
Based on the filing process outlined above, you can see how claims can take time to resolve. How the resolution is reached, whether it be through settlement or lawsuit, will ultimately determine just how long you’re in the midst of a legal battle. Regardless of how long it takes, we’ll be sure to fight diligently on your behalf to ensure full and fair compensation.
If you’re ready to get started with a car accident claim or you’d like more information on your legal rights and options after a crash in Columbus, schedule a consultation with our attorneys today. We’ll review your situation and help you determine how best to proceed to get your life back in order and secure your future.