The state of Ohio is what is known as a “fault” car accident state, requiring drivers to demonstrate financial responsibility during a crash. This also means that a person who is deemed at fault for causing the car accident is responsible for compensating the victim or victims of that accident. From a practical standpoint, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier covers losses, up to policy limits. If you have suffered injury following a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you can proceed in one of three ways:
You can file a claim with your own insurance company and your insurance company will pursue a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
You can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
You can file a personal injury claim in civil court against the at-fault driver
Those who live in no-fault car insurance states do not have the same range of options as those who in in “fault” states like Ohio have. Drivers in the state of Ohio must show financial responsibility for a potential car accident. They can do this by purchasing a bond, posting collateral, or purchasing liability car insurance. Most drivers will purchase liability car insurance under the minimum requirements of the state which are:
$25,000 for the injury or death of one person in a single-car accident for which the insured is at fault
$50,000 total for all injuries or deaths that result from a single-car accident for which the insured is at fault
$25,000 for any property damage that arises from a single-accident for which the insured is at fault
While you must carry the minimum required amounts under Ohio law, many people will carry more protection since the minimum coverage requirements can be exhausted quickly.
If you have been injured following a car accident in which you were not at fault, it can be extremely beneficial to speak to an experienced car insurance lawyer in Hamilton from Kruger & Hodges to ensure your rights and your future are properly protected.
How is Liability Assigned in an Ohio Car Accident?
While fault in an accident may seem like a simple matter, it can often be much more complex. If you are rear-ended at a stoplight, then fault may be fairly clear cut. In many other situations, fault is not so clear-cut. Drivers may accuse one another of fault to escape liability and it will ultimately be the job of the insurance company, lawyers, or a jury to determine fault. A police report is one way that fault can be established, as the police officer called to the scene of the accident will interview the drivers and any witnesses to the accident—as well as look at evidence like skid marks, etc.—to determine fault.
The police report could contain a statement regarding fault based on the police officer’s professional judgment. That being said, many police reports do not include a determination of fault. Both driver’s insurance companies may investigate the accident because neither company wants to pay the damages. Once you hire a car insurance lawyer in Hamilton, your lawyer may conduct his or her own investigation.
What Are Some Common Issues Your Car Insurance Lawyer in Hamilton Can Help With?
Following your Hamilton car accident, you may be struggling with many different issues. The at-fault driver’s insurance company could have denied your claim, delayed paying you, or offered you a lowball offer. All of these things are extremely distressing. Having an experienced car insurance lawyer in Hamilton can help you with all these issues.
Legal representation is extremely important as insurance companies have much more respect for those that are well-represented. Your attorney can help establish liability through an independent investigation and can ensure that the insurance company is not unfairly stalling or denying your claim. If the insurance company has offered an extremely low settlement offer, your attorney will provide evidence to back up your claim.
Your attorney can even help you obtain the medical treatments you need following your car accident injuries and will ensure lost wages and lost future wages are added to your settlement demand. In the end, your car insurance lawyer in Hamilton from Kruger & Hodges will give you the opportunity to heal from your injuries, while we make sure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries.
What is the Process for Filing a Hamilton Car Accident Insurance Claim?
You will first hire a car insurance lawyer in Hamilton to assist you with your car accident claim. Your attorney will file a demand letter with the insurance company after first determining your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your attorney will not allow the insurance company to engage in bad faith behaviors like stalling your settlement, offering you an extremely lowball settlement, or denying your legitimate claim altogether.
If negotiations are not successful, a trial may be set for your claim—although few car accident claims actually make it to trial. If your claim does go to trial, then a jury or judge will determine whether your claim has merit and will also determine the amount you are entitled to receive for your damages. When a settlement or jury verdict is reached, you should receive your check for damages within about six weeks.
What if an Insurer is Engaging in Bad Faith Practices?
Unfortunately, some insurance companies engage in bad faith practices. These bad faith practices may include the following:
Offering an extremely low offer in response to a claim for damages—if the amount is unreasonable or ridiculous, this is considered an act of bad faith.
Failure to properly investigate your accident and claim for damages—when an injury claim is filed, insurers have a duty to promptly and thoroughly investigate the claim and if they do not do so, this is considered an act of bad faith.
Delaying your claim for an unreasonable amount of time—your insurer may drag out settling your claim by ignoring your phone calls or failing to respond to communications. The goal of these delay tactics is generally to frustrate claimants to determine whether they will stop pursuing their claim.
Misrepresenting the law—when an insurer deliberately misrepresents the coverage of your policy or interprets the policy language in an unfair manner, it has committed an act of bad faith.
How a Car Insurance Lawyer from Hamilton Can Help
The legal team from Kruger & Hodges has years of experience representing car accident victims. Our law firm stands for honesty, community, and doing the best for our clients at every turn. We further pride ourselves on being available to our clients—once you hire Kruger & Hodges, you will never be unable to reach your lawyer. We provide our clients with our personal cell phone numbers and respond to calls in a timely manner. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Kruger & Hodges today. We will work zealously to defend your rights and look out for your health and your future.