At the simplest level, every personal injury case involving a car accident has two basic issues — liability and damages. A car accident case offers a good example of how the civil justice system works. If you are injured due to an accident caused by the negligence of another motorist, then you may be entitled to recover damages in the form of financial compensation. The financial compensation is meant to compensate an injured person for their physical injuries and other damages resulting from the motor vehicle collision. Damages are typically awarded by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Liability: Liability can be established by proving someone did something wrong or failed to act how a reasonable person would have acted. For example, a reasonable person would slow down if they saw people crossing the road at an intersection. Most car accidents are not caused with intent, like intentional road rage. When a person acts negligently, they do not intend to cause an accident or hurt someone else. Examples of negligence include distracted driving, rear-ending another motorist, speeding, or running a red light.
- Damages: If an accident caused you to be injured, permanently disabled, or unable to work, damages may be awarded to the victim. Economic damages are measurable damages, like a $10,000 hospital bill, 20 future physical therapy visits, or two months of lost wages. Typically, medical bills make up the majority of economic damages. Non-economic damages are not measurable and pay the victim for non-monetary losses, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Insurance: It is possible to file a lawsuit against someone that doesn’t have insurance, but if they do not have assets, recovering actual money may be impossible. Without an insurance policy, a case may not be worth the investment because it is likely that nothing will be recovered. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your own policy may compensate you should you be injured by someone that doesn’t have insurance. An attorney can help you determine if an insurance policy will apply to your potential case.
The best way to determine if you have a case is to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer. Determining whether you are entitled to recover damages can be complicated. A lawyer can review the facts of your accident and help you understand if you may be able to recover money in a personal injury lawsuit.
To learn more about your rights following an Ohio traffic accident, call or email GBM Law to schedule a free case review or download our FAQ about car accident injuries.