An Overview of the Ohio Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline
Oct 12, 2018
Following a car accident caused by another driver, take these steps to request and secure an Ohio car accident settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Call 911 — Ohio law requires people to alert police and emergency medical personnel whenever a crash with injuries happens on a public road or highway. You would want to do this anyway because the crash report police prepare will prove essential to substantiating insurance claims.
- Seek Medical Care and Keep All Medical Records — When you have a choice regarding whether to go to the hospital, take yourself to the emergency room if you suspect an injury. Then hold on to every piece of paper a doctor, pharmacist, or therapist gives you. Medical information will be as important as the police report when you need to substantiate insurance claims.
- Notify Your Own Insurance Company — Your policy requires you to self-report a crash even when someone else causes the collision. Complying with this provision of your own car insurance policy gives you immediate access to coverage for vehicle repairs or replacement costs. It may also help you get some medical bills paid. In that event, your insurer will seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurer.
- Obtain a Copy of the Police Report — Law enforcement personnel may take weeks or months to reach final conclusions regarding why a car crash happened and which driver acted negligently or recklessly in causing the wreck. Partnering with a Columbus car accident lawyer will help you keep track of how the official report is developing.
- Do Not Miss the Deadline for Filing Claims Against the At-Fault Driver — Ohio imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims from a car accident. The clock on this deadline starts ticking on the day of the crash. Note that the two-year limit applies only to filing your claim. Reaching a car accident settlement often takes several more years.
- Submit an Official Demand Letter — You must follow your notice to the insurance company that you are making car accident claims with a letter that spells out exactly what you are claiming and why, but you will need to share the police report, medical records, and other evidence.
- Go Through Claims Investigations — The at-fault driver’s insurance company will look for reasons to deny your car accident claims. Resist pressure to provide a recorded or signed statement, and consult with your car accident attorney regarding any voluntary disclosures of information to an insurance claims investigator.
- File a Personal Injury Lawsuit if Your Claims Get Denied — Often, suing is the only way to get an insurance company to negotiate a car accident settlement. The company will likely prefer reaching an agreement to having a judge or jury ordered it to pay compensation and damages.
You will notice that aside from the two-year statute of limitations on filing car accident insurance claims, this overview of the Ohio car accident settlement process does not include a schedule. Some cases settle quickly, but others drag on for many years. One of the best reasons to hire and rely on a car accident lawyer is that doing so allows you to live your life while your attorney takes care of the legal details regarding your claims.
Be aware, too, that the car accident settlement process outlined here describes a case where one at-fault driver hits and injures another driver, and the victim survives with physical injuries from which he or she can recover. The insurance claim process will become more complicated when the victim is a child when the crash inflicts traumatic brain injuries, when more than one driver is to blame, or when the victim dies. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to answer specific questions about these types of cases.
You can schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney by contacting the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. Call us at (614) 678-3318 or connect with us online.