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When To Get an Attorney Involved After an Ohio Car Accident

Offered by Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC

A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and protect your rights

After a bad car accident, a lot of injured crash victims are out of work, in pain, and not sure what to do next. Unaware of how to negotiate for more, they accept whatever lowball settlements the insurance companies offer. Accident victims who don’t get full compensation often find themselves, and their families, in deep debt due to medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the accident.

Victims can reduce this risk and avoid financial ruin by consulting an experienced Ohio car accident attorney. Remember that most car, truck, and motorcycle accident lawyers evaluate crash cases and help victims weigh their legal options for free, so there’s no downside to doing so.

When you’re hurt, contact an attorney right away

The best time to contact a lawyer after an injury-causing car accident is as soon as possible.

A lawyer will want to get started investigating a case right away. Evidence dries up: witnesses’ memories fade, video footage is overwritten, and physical evidence is washed away by weather. Delaying too long before contacting a lawyer could weaken your case and thus lower your recovery.

An experienced Ohio car accident attorney can help in many ways. A lawyer protects accident victims’ rights, explains legal options, and handles negotiations for maximum compensation.

Car crash victims an Ohio lawyer can help

In Ohio, some of the most common car accident types include rear-end crashes, head-on collisions, sideswipes and T-bones, rollovers, and multi-vehicle pileups. Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OVI also known as DUI or drunk driving), speeding, or distracted driving are factors in many of the most serious and fatal accidents. 

Some areas of Ohio see more accidents than others. Franklin County is the most populated county in the state and, therefore, many area roadways have seen multiple crashes. Streets and highways where many accidents are known to occur include:

  • I-71, Franklin County
  • Harrisburg Pike, Columbus
  • W Broad Street (US-40), Prairie Township
  • Brown Road, Columbus and Grove City
  • E and W Mound streets, Columbus
  • Frank Road, Franklin Township
  • Cleveland Avenue, Clinton Township

That said, a crash can happen anywhere, and the consequences can last a lifetime. That’s why it’s important to know your rights.

Reasons to hire an Ohio car accident attorney

After an injury-causing car accident, victims often wonder if their case needs a lawyer. The short answer is “yes.”  With their knowledge of the law and insurance policies plus years of experience in negotiating claims, a reputable Ohio car accident lawyer will generally be able to get victims more money than they could negotiate on their own – indeed, the insurance industry’s own data says that people who hire a lawyer recover more than those who don’t. Here are some more reasons injured car accident victims should have an attorney handle their claim.

Delayed symptoms. Sometimes, after a car accident, people are seriously hurt and don’t even know it. For a variety of reasons, people can be walking around with damaged internal organs and bleeding, whiplash, or brain injuries and not even realize it right away. Some injuries can take days or even weeks to start causing noticeable pain. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to see a doctor, but it’s also important to talk to a lawyer. Delayed symptoms create opportunities for insurance companies to downplay or deny claims, and a lawyer can protect your rights in this situation.

Claim value. Insurance companies are out to protect their bottom lines. Adjusters are looking for any excuse to reduce or reject legitimate claims from seriously injured people. A qualified car accident attorney knows how to calculate the past, current, and long-term costs of accident-related care and lost wages. They can also help put a dollar figure on less tangible losses like pain and suffering or reduced mobility and enjoyment. 

Investigate. Car accident attorneys investigate crashes in detail.  This often includes steps like picking up copies of Ohio car accident reports, finding and interviewing witnesses, collecting surveillance and security camera footage, and examining physical wreckage, among other things. They use the evidence they dig up to strengthen the claim.

Identify all liable parties. Sometimes there are more people liable for a bad accident than just the at-fault driver. Other people or groups that may be responsible for crash damages may include:

  • Defective auto manufacturers
  • The at-fault driver’s employer, if the crash involved a company-owned vehicle or the driver was on the clock when the crash happened
  • Vehicle owner (if different from the driver)

Car accident attorneys know how to find all the parties liable in a crash and hold them responsible for their contributions to their clients’ injuries.

Protect victim rights. Sometimes, liable parties and their insurance companies try to blame the victim for the crash. An experienced Ohio attorney can protect an injured person against such allegations, shut down dirty tricks, and make those involved take the case seriously.

Negotiate for maximum compensation. Time and again studies show that people who have a lawyer handle their claim get more compensation than people who go it alone. Get an attorney with experience and a record of case results. An experienced Ohio car accident attorney can cut through obstacles to compensation and get victims the money they deserve. If the insurance companies won’t make a substantial offer, the attorney can file a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf.

What does it cost to hire an Ohio car accident lawyer?

People have all kinds of reasons for not calling an attorney after a crash. One of the biggest reasons people forgo calling an attorney is they think it will cost them a fortune. Too few people know that Ohio car accident attorneys represent injury claims at no out-of-pocket expense to victims.

This is because car crash lawyers typically work on contingency. Through this type of payment structure, the attorney receives a percentage of the final settlement or verdict. There is no down payment or hourly rate for attorney fees when a lawyer is working on contingency. If they get a settlement or verdict for the client, then the fee is a percentage of the recovery. Otherwise, the client doesn’t owe the lawyer anything at all.

Always consult a lawyer first

After a bad accident, insurance companies often try to push victims into accepting lowball settlement offers. Typically, these offers barely cover past and current accident-related medical expenses. That’s not enough.

Accident victims almost always require compensation for future medical care. This may take the form of surgeries, physical therapy, disability equipment, medication, and other medical procedures. They should also be compensated for losses like lost wages and diminished earning potential and, if applicable, pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life due to accident injury limitations.

Remember, you only get one shot at compensation for your losses: once your case settles, that’s it. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, you need someone to fight on your side. Find an experienced Ohio car accident attorney in your area today.

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