What Happens When You Get Hit By a Driver Who Ran a Red Light in Columbus, Ohio?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), “[m]ore than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.” Many of these crashes involve drivers who ran a red light.
If you got hit by a driver who ran a red light in Columbus, you have clear legal rights under Ohio law. Not only is running a red light against the law, but it also constitutes negligence per se in personal injury cases. This means that you can—and should—hire a lawyer to file a claim under the driver’s auto insurance policy.
What Happens After a Red Light Accident in Columbus, Ohio?
While you have clear legal rights if you got hit by a driver who ran a red light, nothing will happen unless you take action. It is up to you to assert your legal rights—and you must be careful to protect them. With this in mind, here are some important facts you need to know:
1. The Driver’s Traffic Court Case and Your Personal Injury Claim Are Separate
Even if the driver who ran the red light got a ticket, you still need to file a personal injury claim. The driver’s traffic court case and your personal injury claim are completely separate. In Ohio, the penalties for running a red light include fines and driver’s license points. They do not include paying financial compensation to victims. To recover financial compensation, you will need to initiate a civil claim—which means dealing with the auto insurance companies in most cases.
2. There Are Several Ways to Prove the Other Driver Ran a Red Light
Regardless of whether the driver who hit you got a ticket, there are several ways your lawyer may be able to prove that the driver ran a red light. These include obtaining traffic camera footage or other video footage of the accident, obtaining witness statements, and examining the traffic patterns at the intersection, among others. If the driver got a ticket or pled guilty, your lawyer may be able to use this in your case as well.
3. You Must Be Careful to Protect Your Right to Just Compensation
As we mentioned above, you must be careful to protect your right to just compensation. No matter how obvious it is that you have a claim, you can lose your claim if you make mistakes along the way. For example, as you move forward, you will need to avoid mistakes such as:
- Relying on the Criminal Justice System – After a red light accident, the police department and prosecutor’s office are tasked with making sure the at-fault driver is held criminally responsible. They are not responsible for helping you recover your losses. To recover just compensation, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue a civil claim on your behalf.
- Unnecessary Delays – If you wait to seek medical treatment, contact your insurance company or hire a lawyer to investigate the accident, these are all mistakes that could make it much more difficult (if not impossible) to collect just compensation. To make your claim as smooth as possible, you should take action right away.
- Trusting the Insurance Companies – When you file a claim after a red light accident, the insurance companies will handle your claim with their best interests in mind. This means that they will try to use various tactics to pay as little as possible. To avoid falling victim to the insurance companies, you need an experienced advocate on your side.
- Getting Careless of Impatient – When you have a car accident claim, you need to stay focused on protecting your legal rights throughout the process. If you get careless or impatient, you could end up making a bad decision with long-term financial consequences.
- Making Costly Assumptions – Protecting your legal rights after a red light accident requires informed decision-making. If you start making assumptions about what you can expect or what you need to do, you could find yourself burdened with the financial consequences of the at-fault driver’s mistake.
4. You Will Need to Work with Your Lawyer to Calculate Your Losses
Another common mistake car accident victims make is relying on the insurance companies to calculate their losses. If you let the insurance companies decide how much to pay, they will almost certainly pay far less than you deserve.
Instead of relying on the insurance companies, you should hire a lawyer to calculate your losses for you. Your lawyer will work with you, your doctors and other experts to accurately calculate your financial and non-financial costs resulting from the crash. This includes not only your costs to date but your anticipated costs in the future as well.
5. Your Lawyer Will Work to Secure a Fair Settlement on Your Behalf
After calculating your financial and non-financial costs, your lawyer will work to secure a fair settlement on your behalf. While this will most likely mean dealing with auto insurance companies, there are other possibilities as well. For example, if the other driver was working at the time of the accident, his or her employer could be liable. Or, if the stoplight wasn’t working properly, you could have a claim against the government.
In any case, your lawyer will seek a settlement that reflects the value of your claim; and, if your lawyer receives an offer, your lawyer will discuss the offer with you in detail. If the liable party refuses to settle for just compensation, then your lawyer can take your personal injury case to court.
Schedule a Free Consultation About Your Red Light Accident Case in Columbus, Ohio
If you got hit by a driver who ran a red light in Columbus, Ohio, we encourage you to contact us promptly about your case. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can reach you online today.