Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Representing Accident Victims in Ohio
An automobile crash interrupts your life. Nobody plans to get into a car accident, but it happens. Not only is your car damaged or destroyed, but you also must recover from your physical injuries. Then there are the financial stressors: who will pay to repair or replace your car, how will you pay your medical bills. Finally, there are the legal stressors: is the wrongdoer denying they caused the accident, are they uninsured or under-insured, are they trying to claim you caused the accident. It is essential to speak with a Columbus car accident lawyer or auto accident lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm before settling your claim with an insurance company.
Insurance companies are a big business that make billions of dollars a year. Insurance companies pay out as little money as they can get away with to generate their multi-billion dollar annual revenue. In doing so, they do not always consider the long term effects of injuries when settling claims. Our attorneys will fight to make sure your interests are protected.
As Columbus Grows, So Does the Risk of Accidents
Located in central Ohio, Columbus is the Buckeye State’s largest city by a considerable margin. With a population of more than 900,000, Columbus is more than double the size of the state’s second-largest city, and it is more than triple the size of the state’s third-largest city.
In addition to downtown Columbus, much of the city’s population is dispersed throughout neighborhoods located inside (and in some cases outside) of I-270. This includes the city’s largest neighborhoods of:
- Far North
- Greater Hilltop
- North Linden
- Upper Arlington
Other popular Columbus neighborhoods include Bexley, Brewery, Harrison West, Rocky-Fork and Worthington.
Columbus Vehicle Accident Statistics
Unfortunately, Columbus’ large population also means that the city sees more than its fair share of accidents. In fact, of the 1,046 fatal car accidents in Ohio in 2020 (as reported by the Ohio State Highway Patrol), more than 1 in 10 occurred in Columbus and the surrounding areas of Franklin County. The Ohio State Highway Patrol also reports that in Columbus and the rest of Franklin County:
- The majority of fatal car accidents (about 95 percent) occur in urban areas, with only about five percent occurring in rural areas.
- Approximately half of all fatal car accidents involve drivers who are under the influence (referred to as “operating a vehicle while intoxicated” or “OVI” under Ohio law).
- Approximately 1 in 10 fatal collisions in Columbus and the rest of Franklin County involve commercial vehicles.
- Between 15 and 20 percent of all fatal collisions in Columbus and the rest of Franklin County involve motorcycles.
- Overall, fatal vehicle collisions in Columbus and the rest of Franklin County have been on the rise in recent years.
Common Car Accident Injuries in Ohio
While modern cars do an excellent job of keeping us safe, car accidents can still result in injuries ranging from minor to severe. And while some injuries require only minimal medical treatment, others can require months of recovery and even result in permanent disabilities or death. We have handled car accident cases that involve the following injuries:
- Lacerations and contusions
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Internal organ damage
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
In addition to the physical injuries you may suffer, it is also common for car accident victims to suffer emotional and psychological trauma as a result of their accident:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you have suffered any of these injuries resulting from a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A Columbus car accident lawyer can assess your case and help you understand your options.
Your Injuries May Not Be Immediately Apparent
It is not uncommon for people to feel “fine” at the scene of the accident or immediately afterward, only to start experiencing symptoms in the days that follow. Even if you declined medical treatment at the scene, you should get a thorough medical examination if you begin to feel pain, stiffness, or soreness. Your injuries could grow worse over time if left untreated and result in a permanent disability. Some common delayed symptoms include the following:
- Loss of range of motion
- Severe or recurring headaches
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Tingling in your extremities or loss of sensation
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating, clouded thinking, or general confusion
- Severe back or neck pain or stiffness
Of course, you should also see your doctor if you have already received treatment, but your symptoms persist or worsen. Listen to your body. If you have been diagnosed with an injury, you should also speak with a Columbus car accident lawyer to discuss whether you should pursue a compensation claim.
Multiple Companies Could Be Liable for Your Car Accident
After getting injured in a car accident, most people’s first instinct is to file a claim under the other driver’s auto insurance policy. But, while this might be the right thing to do, it also might not. Whether you have a claim under the other driver’s insurance policy depends on whether the other driver caused (or at least partially caused) the accident.
Depending on the circumstances involved, various other companies could be liable for your car accident as well. When seeking to recover your losses, you need to make sure you are seeking to hold the right company (or companies) accountable. Some examples of companies that could be liable for your car accident losses include:
The Other Driver’s Auto Insurance Company
Most car accidents involve driver negligence, and Ohio law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. So, if you have been injured in an accident, there is a good chance that you will be dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. As discussed below, this is typically much more difficult than it should be, so it is important that you have an experienced lawyer on your side.
Your Auto Insurance Company
If the other driver was at fault and either (i) he or she does not have auto insurance, or (ii) his or her auto insurance coverage isn’t enough, you may also need to deal with your own auto insurance company. If you find yourself in one of these situations and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage—which is not mandatory in Ohio—your insurance company will “step into the shoes” of the at-fault driver’s insurer.
The Other Driver’s Employer
If the other driver was working at the time of the accident, you may have a claim against his or her employer. Under Ohio law, employers are vicariously liable for their employees’ negligent acts committed within the scope of their employment. Accidents involving 18-wheelers, work trucks, delivery vans, sales vehicles, and other vehicles used for business purposes will often give rise to these types of claims.
The Owner of the Other Vehicle
If the other driver involved in your accident doesn’t own the vehicle he or she was driving, you could have a claim against the vehicle’s owner (or the owner’s insurance company). Under Ohio law, “[a] vehicle owner may not allow anyone else to drive their motor vehicle without insurance,” and vehicle owners can be held liable for accidents involving their vehicles under various circumstances.
A Bar or Restaurant
In cases involving drunk driving accidents, victims and their families will often have claims against the bars and restaurants that are responsible for overserving inebriated drivers. Specifically, Ohio’s dram shop law holds licensed establishments liable when they provide alcohol to someone who is under the age of 21 or who is noticeably intoxicated.
A Manufacturer, Dealer or Repair Shop
Auto manufacturers and dealerships can be held liable for car accidents (and car accident injuries) that are caused by vehicle defects. This includes issues ranging from defective brakes to defective airbags. Dealerships and repair shops can also be held liable when their mechanics perform negligent work that leads to injuries on the road.
A Government Agency or Contractor
Government agencies and contractors can be held liable when issues with the road lead to car accidents. This includes road defects (i.e., potholes and missing guardrails) as well as dangerous road construction zones. Claims against government agencies are subject to special rules and procedures; so, if your accident involved a road-related issue, you will want to hire a lawyer who is familiar with these types of claims to represent you.
How Your Columbus Car Accident Attorney Will Establish Liability
The critical issue in most car accident cases is proving the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. Negligence is defined as the failure to take due care to prevent accidents and cause injuries to others. Even though it may seem obvious to you that the other driver was at fault, you still have to prove your case, which can be far more complicated than you might think.
An experienced and skilled car accident attorney can help you identify the accident’s cause and establish the other driver was negligent. Common sources of negligence in car accident cases are as follows:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running a stop sign or stoplight
- Unsafe lane changes
Your Columbus accident lawyer can identify the facts that will be relevant to proving the other driver was negligent and understands how the law applies to your case.
Common Issues with Auto Insurance Claims After Car Accidents
Even if you just have an “ordinary” auto insurance claim, recovering your losses after a serious car accident will still prove challenging. Accident victims regularly encounter a variety of issues, and overcoming these issues generally requires experienced legal representation. Here are some examples of the types of issues we regularly handle for our clients:
- Inadequate Policy Limits – While Ohio law requires drivers to carry liability insurance, the minimum policy limits are fairly low. If the other driver’s policy does not fully cover your losses, we can pursue any other sources of financial recovery that may be available.
- Denials of Liability – Auto insurance companies routinely deny liability for car accidents. We get to work quickly to prevent these denials whenever possible, and we use the available evidence to convince insurance companies to reverse course and accept liability necessary.
- Refusals to Consider Relevant Evidence – Oftentimes, insurance companies will simply refuse to consider relevant evidence. If you have evidence of liability or evidence of damages that isn’t being considered, we can work to ensure that you are not unfairly denied just compensation.
- Lowball Settlement Offers – Even when auto insurance companies accept liability, they will often make lowball settlement offers. Our lawyers can help you understand how much you should be willing to accept, and we can negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Bad-Faith Insurance Practices – While some insurance defense tactics are legitimate, in many cases insurance companies’ practices cross the line to bad faith. When auto insurance companies engage in bad-faith insurance practices, not only can they be held liable for claimants’ accident-related losses, but they can potentially be held liable for additional damages.
How Much is Your Car Accident Claim Worth?
You may be surprised by how quickly the insurance company will try to settle your case. Insurance settlement offers are often far less than what your case may be worth. Unfortunately, if you end up with losses that are not covered by your settlement, and at that point, you cannot seek additional compensation.
An experienced Columbus accident lawyer can provide an estimate of what your case may be worth. Generally speaking, your compensation may include the following losses:
- Your medical expenses: especially those that are not covered by your health insurance, such as copays and deductibles
- Your lost wages: whether you are unable to return to work or had to take time off for treatment. If you have suffered a permanent injury, you may also be entitled to future lost wages
- Your pain and suffering: physical pain and mental anguish, as well as the loss of sleep or your inability to pursue hobbies or simply live your daily life as you did before your accident
Your claim is likely worth far more than what the insurance company will voluntarily pay. However, you are entitled to be made whole under the law. As a result, you need a Columbus car accident lawyer who can help you get the compensation you need so you can make a full recovery and put your life back together.
How a Columbus Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
A personal injury lawyer can provide help that goes far beyond the courtroom. Even if your case never goes to trial, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the claim process so you can get the compensation you need. Here are the ways a car accident lawyer from Malek Law Firm can help you with your case:
- Accident investigation. They can review all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your case to prove what happened and why the other driver should be held liable.
- Obtain statements from witnesses. Eyewitnesses can provide some of the most compelling evidence in your case. Your Columbus car accident lawyer can obtain statements that give a clear and convincing recollection of what happened in your accident.
- Assemble the necessary documents. Your lawyer can obtain accident reports and other important documents. They can also help gather and organize your medical bills, doctor’s reports, and proof of lost wages that you will need to prove your claim.
- Handle communications. Your lawyer can handle all verbal and written communications on your behalf. This is especially important when dealing with your insurance company, as they often try to use your own statements against you.
Your lawyer can play a vital role in getting the compensation you deserve so you can focus on your recovery.
Car Accident FAQs
Should I hire a lawyer for my car accident in Ohio?
If you have been injured in a car accident in Ohio, we recommend that you speak with a lawyer. It costs nothing to learn about your rights; and, if you have a claim, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side.
Do Ohio lawyers handle car accident cases on contingency?
Lawyers in Ohio generally handle car accident cases on contingency. At Malek & Malek Law Firm, we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients pay nothing unless we help them recover just compensation.
How long do I have to file a claim for a car accident in Ohio?
Ohio has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims involving car accidents. With that said, it is extremely important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Call the Columbus Car Accident Attorneys at the Malek Law Firm
We have decades of experience in helping car accident victims in the Columbus area get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. To schedule a free consultation with a Columbus car accident lawyer, call us today at 888-444-7440 or contact us online.