Defenses to Car Accident Claims in Columbus
Car accidents in Ohio are governed by tort law, meaning you must file a claim with the negligent, or careless, driver’s insurance company if you have been hurt. Insurance companies are big businesses and their priority is not your safety and well-being. Instead, it is to protect their profits and their bottom line as much as possible. To do this, insurers raise many defenses to deny, delay, or reduce the damages they are responsible to pay. Below, our Columbus car accident lawyer outlines the most common defenses raised in these claims.
Perhaps the most common defense raised by insurance companies is that the victim was partly or wholly at fault for the crash. They may argue that you were speeding, distracted, or that you otherwise violated traffic laws and that those actions contributed to the accident. In Ohio, you are barred from receiving any compensation if you were more than 50 percent at fault. It is critical to work with a lawyer who can disprove this defense so your damages are not placed at risk.
Assumption of Risk
‘Assumption of risk’ is an older term that essentially means you knew of certain dangers but you proceeded anyway. For example, a bridge may currently have work being done on it. There may be barriers and ‘Do Not Proceed’ warning signs in place. If you ignored those warnings and proceeded anyway and got into an accident, the insurer may argue that you assumed the risk. In this case, it would be difficult to receive compensation.
Insurance companies often ask accident victims to sign a medical release. They do this so they can comb through your medical records looking for pre-existing conditions. For example, if you injured your back at work years ago, the insurer may say that it was that accident that caused your injury and not the car crash. It is important to know that when an accident exacerbates a pre-existing condition, you are still entitled to claim damages for that loss. A pre-existing condition on its own does not disqualify you from obtaining compensation.
The Statute of Limitations
You only have a certain amount of time to file a car accident claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Ohio, the statute of limitations on car accident claims is two years from the date of the crash. If you do not file your claim in court before the statute of limitations expires, you will forfeit any legal right to claim compensation. It is critical that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to ensure your claim is developed and then filed on time.
Our Car Accident Lawyer in Dublin Can Fight Back Against These Defenses
The above defenses are frustrating to hear when you are injured and know that someone else is liable for it. At Oliver Law Office, our Dublin car accident lawyer can fight back against the defenses raised by the insurer so you obtain the maximum compensation that is justly yours. Call or text us now at 614-220-9100 or connect with us online to schedule a review of your case and to learn more.