4 steps to take following Ohio auto accidents
Understanding what steps to take following a motor vehicle accident in Ohio may help people who are injured to obtain compensatory damages.
Many people in Ohio are of the belief that they will not be involved in a collision because they are safe drivers. This is a dangerous misconception, however, because even the safest of motorists may get into a crash at one point or another. In fact, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported that there were more than 282,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2014 alone. If people are not prepared, the actions they take following a wreck may impact their ability to obtain compensatory damages.
1. Make sure everyone is okay
Whether a motor vehicle crash is minor or severe, the occupants of the vehicles involved may suffer injuries, or death. Therefore, people should check to see if they, or any of their passengers, have been injured. If they are able, it is also advisable to check on the occupants of the other vehicles that were involved. When checking on the other people involved, however, people should avoid saying anything that could potentially be construed as an admission of guilt.
2. Notify law enforcement
After assessing the condition of those involved, people should call the local authorities. Often, a law enforcement officer will be sent to the scene to take a report. This way, an unbiased third party documents the scene. Having such a report may be useful later should people choose to take legal action. It is advisable for drivers to obtain a copy of the accident report from law enforcement for their personal records.
3. Exchange information
Most people are aware that they should exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved following motor vehicle crashes. It is also suggested to get their names and contact information, as well as the details for any passengers who were involved in the collision. US News recommends obtaining the information for people who witnessed the auto accident to provide to law enforcement and their insurance companies. This information may be helpful in case they need to demonstrate liability.
4. Document the scene
Even if law enforcement officers write a report, drivers are advised to also document the accident scene themselves. This includes taking pictures of the scene, the damages to all of the vehicles involved and any visible physical injuries. People may consider writing down their account of what happened to help them keep the details straight in their minds. Such information may prove useful should they decide to file a personal injury claim, or if the insurance company refuses to pay.
Seek legal counsel
Following motor vehicle accidents, insurance companies in Ohio, and elsewhere, may try to pay less than those who were injured are entitled to, or at-fault drivers may refuse to pay. This may make a difficult time more challenging, and could hinder their recovery. Therefore, those who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from obtaining with legal representation. An attorney may explain their rights, and help them understand their options for obtaining financial compensation.