Ohio Car Accident Lawyers

Ohio Car Accident Lawyers and Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident in Ohio, you will need a lawyer to help you recover damages for your medical bills and compensation for your pain and suffering. Please fill out all of the information requested below and we will refer your case to an attorney in our national network of counsel.
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Ohio Car Accident Law

If you are involved in a car accident and wish to file a claim in an Ohio court against the person you believe responsible for the incident, you should familiarize yourself with the basic laws the State of Ohio employs in determining liability and awarding damages to plaintiffs.

Every individual operating a motor vehicle within Ohio has a duty to exercise reasonable care in the operation of that motor vehicle. The burden of reasonable care makes drivers accountable for acts which they knew would likely result in injury to person or property and for acts which they should have known would likely result in injury to person or property. Ohio state law categorizes a driver's failure to use reasonable care as negligence.

While many states consider violation of a motorist safety statute when determining whether a driver acted negligently, Ohio courts consider violation of the Ohio Motor Vehicle Act negligence per se. This means that when a defendant driver violates a provision of the Ohio Motor Vehicle Act an Ohio court treats this as sufficient evidence to find that the defendant driver acted without using reasonable care. The only time such an imposition of negligence will not occur is when the defendant driver shows that something over which he had no control or an emergency not of his making made it impossible for him to comply with the statute. In such a case, the court considers what a reasonably prudent person would have done under the circumstances immaterial.

A driver in Ohio has the right to assume that other drivers will observe traffic laws and exercise ordinary care in the operation of their automobiles. A driver may also assume that all drivers on the road will proceed in a lawful manner and that, if it becomes necessary to stop, they will stop in a lawful manner and park in a manner the law prescribes. Conduct based on these assumptions, absent any notice that other drivers are likely to ignore the observance of ordinary care, does not constitute negligence. While a driver has certain rights when operating a motor vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Act, the driver has a duty to exercise these rights in a reasonable and careful manner when he becomes aware of a perilous situation. In addition, all drivers have a duty to keep a lookout, not only to the front of vehicle, but to the sides and rear as circumstances may warrant. Failure to do so constitutes legal negligence. Negligence represents the first requirement for a successful lawsuit.

Once you have established the negligence of a party, you must show that their negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injury. "Causation," in a legal sense, can be a complex issue, but suffice it to say that if the negligence of the party resulted in the injury to person or property for which you have sued, causation exists. Thus, in a case where a violation of the Ohio Motor Vehicle Act comprises the basis for negligence, the violation must be the cause of the accident which caused you injury in order for you to recover damages in such a case.

Finally, in order to maintain a suit as the result of an automobile accident, you must prove that you have suffered damages. Damages include economic injury, such as lost income or wages, medical and funeral expenses, lost support and services, and replacement value or repair costs of personal property damaged in the accident. In addition, damages may include non-economic injuries such pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience as a result of bodily injury that result from the accident.

An Ohio court may reduce your damages, if the defendant can establish that actions on your part contributed to the accident. This principle, known as "comparative negligence," holds that a court can reduce your damage award by the percentage for which a jury found you responsible for the accident. For example, if you establish damages in the amount of $10,000, but the jury finds that your negligence constituted twenty percent of the reason the accident occurred, then the court would reduce your damage award by twenty percent, to $8,000. In cases where your negligence constitutes fifty percent or more of the reason the accident occurred, however, Ohio bars your recovery from the defendant completely.


You should note that Ohio law requires a plaintiff to file suit within a specified period of time, depending on the type of claim the plaintiff makes. For claims concerning personal injury, seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, Ohio law specifies a two-year statute of limitation. Regarding claims of property damage, such as damage to the plaintiff's automobile, or other property, Ohio also specifies a two-year statute of limitations. This means that for personal injury and property damage claims, you may only file your suit within two years from the date of the accident. Ohio law prohibits any suit filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations. If you think that you might have a claim against another party as the result of a car accident, you should consult a qualified attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your suit is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.


Ohio law allows you to sue not only the operator of the vehicle but also the employer of the operator of the vehicle, if the operator was acting in his capacity as an employee. In cases where the owner of the vehicle was not the operator, you may also be able to sue the owner in addition to suing the operator. In order to sue the owner, however, you must establish that the owner was a passenger at the time of the accident, or that the operator acted as an agent of the owner during the time in which the accident occurred. Ohio law also holds owners liable if the plaintiff establishes that the owner knew or should have known that the person the owner allowed to operate the vehicle was a reckless, incompetent, or inexperienced driver.


Ohio law mandates a certain minimum automobile liability insurance coverage for all automobiles registered in the state. Depending on the terms of the individual policy, liability insurance typically covers the cost of property damage, including the cost of repair or replacement for any property damaged as the result of an accident. Liability insurance also pays medical bills and lost wages as a result of bodily injuries incurred in an accident.

Ohio law requires that each car driven in the state either have a minimum of insurance coverage or that the owner establish financial responsibility by taking out a bond. For those who choose to purchase insurance, Ohio law requires that each car registered in the state have a minimum of $12,500 in insurance coverage for one person injured in an accident, and a minimum of $25,000 for all persons injured in an accident. In addition, Ohio requires a minimum $7,500 in coverage for property damage. Unlike some other states, Ohio law does not mandates coverage for when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver. Such coverage typically pays medical bills and lost wages for you and your passengers, in a case where you cannot collect these damages from the driver at fault for the accident.

Beyond compulsory insurance, you may wish to purchase additional insurance coverage. As the owner of an automobile, a court may hold you personally liable for any damages in excess of your insurance coverage for any accident your vehicle caused through negligent operation. Purchasing additional coverage could protect your personal assets in case of a suit.

Basic Reparations or Medical Payments Coverage, Collision Coverage, and Comprehensive Coverage are three types of additional, optional insurance coverage. Basic Reparations Coverage covers bodily injury and medical expenses of an at-fault driver who does not have medical insurance. Collision coverage pays for damages incurred by the at-fault driver in accidents involving collision. Finally, Comprehensive Coverage pays for damage to a vehicle not caused by collision, including damages caused by theft, vandalism, flood, fire, and explosion.

Under the Financial Responsibility Law, the owner of a car can forego insurance coverage and instead opt to purchase a financial responsibility (FR) bond that will cover damages resulting from an accident. FR bonds are similar to automobile insurance. They provide bodily injury and property damage liability coverage like insurance does, but they cover only your liability for damages and injuries you cause. They do not cover other people, including those in your household, operating your vehicle. Financial responsibility bonds also do not cover damages to your vehicle or injuries to you or your passengers. They provide only restricted coverage for bodily injury and property damage liability. The FR bond is usually written for at least $32,500 and an authorized insurance company must issue it. Your cost will depend on certain risk factors such as your age and your driving record. An FR bond does not provide coverage for any particular vehicle ­ it covers the person named in the bond and no one else

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