Cleveland Car Accident Attorneys
Fighting for Justice for Victims of Automobile Accidents in Ohio
Car accidents are an unfortunate and tragic part of American life. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 37,461 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, and the most recent estimated annual cost of automobile crashes is $242 billion.
Calling these incidents “accidents” seems to imply that no-one was at fault, or that the incident just occurred. Most “accidents” are the result of bad decision-making on someone’s part, possibly by more than one party.
The possibility of multiple sources of negligence contributing to an incident where people and/or property were harmed can make auto accident cases complicated. If you've been harmed by the negligence of another driver in Cleveland, contact The Becker Law Firm today for a free consultation!
When To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
As a general guideline, it’s best to contact a lawyer after a car accident as soon as you can to discuss your case. There are a couple reasons for this, the first being the statute of limitations which limits how long you have to file a case to two years.
If you try to file a claim outside of this two-year period, you will most likely be unable to do so. There are some exceptions to this law, however, that change the amount of time you have to file a claim so it’s important to talk about the specifics of your case with an attorney.
Beyond the statute of limitations, which applies to all personal injury claims, car accident injuries are different than other injuries covered by personal injury law in that they are very often soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are injuries that affect the tendons, ligaments and muscles of the body. These types of injuries typically progressively get worse over a few days or even weeks after the injury occurred. These types of injuries can be quite serious, limiting people’s mobility for prolonged periods of time.
However, because these injuries do not reveal themselves right away, many injury victims sign a compensation agreement with an insurance company before discussing their case with an attorney only to discover later that their injuries are worse than they initially believed. Most in these situations are not able to recover any additional compensation to cover their additional costs. If you have suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, talk to our Cleveland car accident attorney for help today!
Responsibilities of Drivers
Drivers are expected to meet basic standards of care when operating a motor vehicle. Among the duties expected of drivers are:
- Maintaining a reasonable speed that is appropriate to the conditions of traffic, the road, visibility, and traffic.
- Staying vigilant for other vehicles, pedestrians, and potential hazards.
- Keeping the car under control.
- Maintaining the car in safe operating order.
- Following motor vehicle law.
- Drivers may violate these standards of care may include:
- Violating traffic laws
- Failing to follow traffic signals
- Failing to maintain the vehicle in safe operating order
- Driving aggressively
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while distracted by activities like texting
When a driver violates motor vehicle law while involved in an auto accident, they will be presumed negligent by a court. Instead of being presumed “innocent,” the onus will be on the driver to demonstrate that they were not negligent.
Other Negligent Parties in Auto Accident Cases
Beyond the involved drivers, the negligence of other parties may also contribute to auto accidents. Possible other negligent parties may include:
- Trucking Companies: If it employs unqualified drivers, fails to conduct background checks and/or drug and alcohol tests, fails to follow the laws governing their industry, or fails to maintain their trucks in safe operating order.
- Vehicle or Vehicle-Parts Manufacturers: If it designs/employs defective parts or assembles them incorrectly, or if it fails to recall defective or potentially dangerous parts in a timely manner.
- Government Entities: If it designs dangerous roads or traffic signals or allows them to become dangerous through lack of maintenance or failure to clear ice or snow.
Comparative Negligence in Ohio Auto Accidents
Ohio operates under the doctrine of comparative negligence. When the negligence of multiple drivers contributes to an accident, the proportion that a driver’s is responsible for the cost of the accident is generally equal to the proportion his or her negligence contributed to the accident.
If a single party is more than 50 percent negligent – which is to say more than 50 percent at fault for an accident – that person may not recover damages from the other parties to the accident. If a person’s negligence is less that 50 percent, they may recover damages from the other parties. The amount a party may recover is reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage that party was negligent.
For example, if a court determines that one Party A was 40 percent negligent in an accident and Party B was 60 percent negligent, Party B would be prohibited from recovering damages from Party A, and Party A would be entitled to recover 60 percent of total damages from the accident from Party B.
The determination of percentages of negligence can quickly become complicated. For victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries or families who have lost loved ones to wrongful deaths through auto accidents, the stakes of these calculations are very high.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Ohio from Our Firm!
Victims of auto accidents need qualified, experienced legal representation to protect their interests. The Cleveland car accident lawyers at The Becker Law Firm are here to support you during this difficult time and provide the dedicated representation you deserve.
$8.5 Million Personal Injury
“Michael Becker helped us secure our daughter’s future needs. We will always be grateful for the impact he has had on our family.” - Kris Harmon, mother of Perri
“Mike represented us as if he was fighting for his own family member. I knew that my son was getting the best representation in Northeast Ohio.” - Knyesha Washington
“David handled our case professionally and really cared about my daughter and her outcome.” - Client
If you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury or has suffered a wrongful death due to an automobile accident, please contact us today.
You can use the contact form on this page or call us at (440) 252-4399 to schedule a free initial consultation today. The Becker Law Firm accepts cases on a contingency basis, meaning you will not be charged unless we win your case.