Jan 21st, 2023
Paulozzi Joseph

Nobody ever wants to get into an accident. When you get into your car,  you don’t expect to be the victim of a vehicular accident, but unfortunately it happens. Knowing when and why you might need an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you make the best decisions based on your unique situation. In some cases, hiring a lawyer may be the best way to ensure that you receive the most compensation for your injuries or damages. 

Accidents can happen to even the safest of drivers, and can be caused by weather incidents that cause unsafe roadways (ice, snow, rain, etc.), distracted drivers, and other factors out of your control. Distracted driving is most commonly thought of as texting while driving, but talking on the phone, driving while drowsy, looking for something in your car, or even listening to music  while driving down the road are all examples in some instances. Distracted driving can be broken down into three types: visual (things that take your eyes off of the road), cognitive (things that take your mind off of the road), or manual (things that physically take your hands off of the steering wheel). Reckless or aggressive drivers who weave in and out of traffic, travel faster than the speed limit or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also cause auto accidents. In rare instances, drivers can suffer a medical emergency while driving that also can result in property or personal damage. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 2021 as a record year, with the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2005. While nothing can be done to change the tragic loss of life, it is important to remember that the loved ones and family members of those impacted may also be entitled to compensation. Wrongful death lawsuits and representation in instances of accidents caused by under the influence drivers can be some of the toughest situations to be in, with grieving losses or severe injuries that take an emotional and financial toll on the victims and their families. Paulozzi LPA personal injury lawyers will work on your behalf to recover the compensation that your family deserves, easing the stress and financial burden so that your family can focus on properly processing the situation. 

In Ohio, the number of vehicle accidents varies by county, with the highest occurrences in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties, or the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati metro areas. The majority of car accidents occurred between the morning or evening rush hours, on interstates 71 & 75, and were most likely to happen on Fridays. Most vehicle accidents happen between one or more cars, trucks or commercial vehicles, but pedestrians (people who are walking, running, sitting or laying down) can also be impacted by auto accidents or reckless driving. Between 2011-2020, there were 55,775 injuries across the United States, which does not account for any injuries to bicyclists, roller skaters or those traveling without being in a car or categorized as a pedestrian. 

A vehicle crash can be overwhelming, with insurance companies, other parties, and medical institutions all involved and working with their own best interests in mind. Not to mention the constant phone calls that you might receive from less-reputable, less-experienced, and less-successful firms looking to take advantage of you in a vulnerable time. Hiring a personal injury attorney that you can trust, who also specializes in car accidents, can help you to sort through all of the policies and information, while also identifying legal opportunities and explaining more about your options. Here are some tips to help you decide if it’s time to hire an attorney after a car accident. 

Evaluate Your Situation 

The first step is evaluating your situation. Determine whether or not an injury occurred and whether or not any property damage was sustained. If you were injured in the accident, consider whether or not there was negligence involved and who was at fault. Vehicular negligence can be defined as any operation of a vehicle in a reckless or unsafe manner that causes injury to another. Also determine what kind of insurance coverage is available from all involved parties and who is liable for paying any medical bills or other expenses related to the accident. All of these factors can help you determine if you need to hire an attorney.  

Accidents can range from minor fender benders to serious personal injury that requires emergency life saving measures. Some of the most common accidents like rear-end collisions, speed-related accidents and commercial vehicle/semi-truck collisions can all have different levels of severity. A distracted driver and a disabled vehicle that has pulled off the road can also be an opportunity for an auto accident, while slick road conditions can cause property damage if a vehicle ends up in your front yard, coming through your fence or elsewhere on your property. 

Commercial vehicle incidents offer unique situations because an employer is involved. These accidents are those with delivery drivers, semi-truck drivers, and are usually a result of speeding, tired drivers or in-experienced operators. Instances of negligence are common with commercial vehicle accidents, through training, lack of logging hours or improperly maintaining vehicles. The corporations behind the drivers typically have an experienced legal team dedicated to addressing any issues that may come up, and navigating a commercial vehicle incident adds another layer of complexity with both the driver and the corporation determining (or working to avoid) liability. 

If you are a commercial driver, the lawyers at Paulozzi LPA can represent you in any legal proceedings. It’s important to remember who has your best interests in mind, and when protecting assets or paying monetary damages is involved, your employer may not be the best source of protection. Taking the fall for a vehicle that has not been properly maintained, or injuries that were not your fault should not be your responsibility, and having your own lawyer can be a critical component for a favorable outcome.

If you are involved in a crash, it’s important to document as many details as possible (assuming you are able to). Photos of on-site damage, license plates, road conditions, property damage and more can help strengthen your case for compensation. Making notes of what you remember and a timeline of events can also help. A police report and any witness statements should also be taken at the scene of the incident. The team at Paulozzi LPA can help you to understand your own insurance coverage and its limits, while assessing your unique situation and combing through your specific details.

Understand Legal Options 

It’s important to understand your legal options after a car accident before deciding on whether or not you need legal representation. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on how much compensation may be available and explain potential outcomes of filing a lawsuit against another driver or party involved in the accident. We suggest speaking with a personal injury lawyer prior to any insurance representatives, and refraining from too much conversation at the scene to avoid inadvertently saying something that may damage your case or mistakenly admit fault. This can help give you peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled by someone who understands the law, who can help you to navigate tricky insurance policies and someone who can provide helpful guidance throughout the entire process. A licensed attorney will work with your best interests in mind, not the interests of the insurance companies.

Types of Accident Injuries

Not all accidents result in personal injuries, but when they do, here are some of the most common types. Head/neck injuries, whiplash, broken or fractured bones, cuts, scrapes and bruises, burns, and more can require medical intervention, surgery, or an overhaul of your lifestyle. In severe cases of brain injury, paralysis or even instances where amputations are required, additional support may be required through home health care or the modification of your dwelling to make it accessible. Occupational or rehabilitation therapy may also be required, which could also affect your ability to work an existing job, or find future employment. Long term or on-going medical care is another important part not to be overlooked. Many insurance companies will try to provide a “low-ball” reimbursement for the existing injury now, in hopes of avoiding additional reimbursement for long-term coverage. In instances of whiplash, spinal injuries or herniated discs that may require medical intervention for the rest of your life, an experienced lawyer can negotiate these critical, forward-thinking details to help minimize daily pain, increase quality of life and capacity for enjoyment.

Sources of Compensation 

Lost wages and financial hardships can be a recoverable source of compensation for those injured in an accident. Again, understanding the liability coverage that is available is a perfect job for your legal team. Assuming the at-fault driver carries insurance, property damage, vehicle damage and medical costs may be able to be recovered. Ohio law requires licensed drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 for property damage, and $50,000 for the death of two or more people. Each car or vehicle accident is different, and instances of full or partial compensation can be negotiated with the insurance companies. 

While carrying insurance is technically required by law, the Insurance Information Institute estimates almost 13% of drivers are uninsured. Even if you are involved in a situation with an uninsured driver,  you still have options. If you carry uninsured or underinsured coverage on your own policy, filing a claim with your own insurance puts the burden on your insurance company to reclaim their own funds for damages that they have paid out to you. If you do not carry this coverage, you can still opt to file a personal injury suit against the uninsured driver, however uninsured drivers do not always have funds to pay damages. 

Whether this is your first time in an accident, or you’ve gone through this before, hiring a professional attorney has many benefits compared to attempting to negotiate things yourself. You should be focused on your recovery and healing from injuries, not the paperwork, record keeping and on-going meetings required with all parties to keep your claim relevant. In instances where your injuries require a hospital stay or time away from your daily life, an attorney can step in to work on your case without losing valuable time. And, if this is a commercial accident, you don’t want to try going up against a corporate legal team on your own. 

Know Your Rights 

In addition to understanding your legal options, it’s also important to know what rights are afforded by law when dealing with insurance companies after an accident. Insurance companies often try to minimize their losses by offering minimal settlements that are far less than what should actually be offered under state law guidelines. A good personal injury attorney will know how much compensation should be available and will fight for every penny so that victims or their families receive what they deserve following an incident. 

Even an insurance company with a great reputation, and a long-term relationship with you may make the claims process unnecessarily difficult. Many vehicle and medical insurance companies will try to drag out the claims process, hoping that you will give up in exhaustion, or that you will miss one minor detail that will enable them to automatically deny your claim. They may try to deny coverage for something included with your policy, refuse to pay without conducting their own lengthy investigation leaving you holding an enormous bill while waiting to be reimbursed, or otherwise try to avoid their obligation and responsibilities as your insurance provider. Fortunately, an experienced lawyer understands the tricks of insurance companies and knows what to look out for. 

The team at Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers is experienced in representing all types of motor vehicle accident injuries throughout Ohio, and has recovered millions of dollars for our clients or their loved ones. With our “No Fee Until We Win” guarantee, we will never ask you to pay any expenses while we are working on your case, we will advance everything. If there is no recovery, you pay us absolutely nothing – no fee, no expenses. Our car accident and personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, and are even willing to make house calls for our clients’ convenience. Our firm believes that you deserve full compensation, and shouldn’t settle for less.

Our representation track record in the Ohio legal system speaks for itself, with $2.36 million awarded to the victim in a PTSD car vs. truck accident, $1.3 million award to the victim in a neck/back injury motorcycle accident, $1.25 million award to an auto accident victim with a traumatic brain injury, and $2.25 million award in a truck vs. car accident with multiple serious injuries. 

No one ever wants to go through the traumatic experience of being in a car accident, but if it does happen, it’s important that people know their rights and understand when legal representation may be needed in order to get fair compensation from insurance companies or other parties involved in the incident. Evaluating your situation, understanding your legal options, and knowing your rights can all help give you clarity on whether or not it is necessary for you to hire a lawyer after being involved in an automobile crash. Doing so could mean receiving more money than what is initially offered by insurance companies—which could make all the difference for victims trying to get back on their feet again after such an ordeal!

Get in Touch

If you are even considering compensation for a vehicular accident and wondering what might be available to you, or maybe you’ve tried to negotiate yourself and found yourself overwhelmed with phone calls, medical bills and the entire process, now is the time to contact Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers at contactus@lawohio.com, or by calling 888-710-0040. We are available during the day, during evenings, and on weekends. 

Whether you’ve suffered minor or severe injuries, property damage, financial hardship or loss of wages, our team is ready to assess your unique situation and represent you with low trial fees and a complimentary consultation. Our offices are conveniently located throughout the entire Ohio area, allowing us to easily service Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Toledo and western Ohio, Mantua and eastern Ohio, Columbus and central Ohio, Cincinnati and southern Ohio, Fairview Park and Lorain, Elyria and Medina. 

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