Car Accident Lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio
From our Family to Yours.
For anyone that has suffered in a car accident, you know how traumatic and debilitating the experience can be. The road to recovery is often long and difficult, and dealing with the insurance companies makes it much more so. The fact is that a car accident claim is a complex financial and legal process. Getting to successful settlement for your car accident takes experience and dedication – and the family of car accident lawyers at Sawan & Sawan have both. At Sawan & Sawan, our team of skilled Car Accidents Lawyers have a wide breadth of experience with insurance law, policy exclusions, and liability statutes. We can help you navigate the relevant laws and insurance policy provisions to help put the pieces of your life back together. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident in Cleveland, Ohio – Sawan & Sawan is here to help.
What Should You Do After an Accident in Cleveland?
If you are involved in an accident, your whole world is turned upside down. You go from your regular routine to simply responding to many unfamiliar situations. Hurt both physically and emotionally, you have to make decisions affecting not only you, but your family as well. Knowing how to overcome this adversity is essential for getting you back on track. In most states, you are required to file a crash report. Ohio, however, only requires one if someone is injured, there is at least $400.00 worth of damage, and the driver or owner of the vehicle in the accident did not have car insurance or acceptable financial responsibility coverage. Ohio driver’s are required to carry liability automobile insurance coverage to assist in reimbursement of injuries and property damage caused by their negligence. Without this insurance, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in Ohio. Drivers must also purchase the required minimum amount of insurance. If they don’t have enough insurance, they will be legally responsible to pay any proven damages over the insurance limits. Those limits are:
- $25,000 per person injured in any one accident
- $50,000 for all persons injured in any one accident
- $25,000 for property damage of others in one accident
In addition, you may purchase uninsured/underinsured automobile coverage to protect yourself and your family from either an uninsured driver or one who does not have enough insurance. Ohio is an at fault state. As such, if you are in an accident, you would either file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or if they have no insurance, then you would file with your own automobile insurance company. Again you must make sure you have uninsured coverage to make this type of a claim.
Once you file your claim with an automobile insurance company, you will be assigned an adjuster. If liability is contested, sometimes they will ask for a statement. Remember you are under no obligation or requirement to give that statement! In order to evaluate your damages, they will request all medical records, wage loss information, property damage estimate, and any other specific personal loss. They will then make settlement offers. If you are not satisfied with those offers, you can discuss with an insurance supervisor. If you still feel it is unfair, you could file a complaint with the Ohio Department of insurance.They will determine whether the company acted unreasonably or not. Finally, you can always file your complaint in court. It, however, can be costly and risky. Most courts encourage settlement of claims. They will recommend that you negotiate, attend mediation, or resolve the matter with a settlement outside of the court. As to value, there is no set formula used to calculate the extent of personal injury damages. It all depends on how much you have suffered both physically and emotionally, the total of the medical bills and wage loss, and how much damage was sustained by your automobile. You must be aware that in Ohio there are damage caps that have been held constitutional. You can recover for all your economic damages but as to non-economic damages you are limited to $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages. The most common damages someone can recover are for automobile repairs, loss wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
As to the time frame in Ohio, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claims in the appropriate court of law. If you fail to timely file, the court can and will dismiss your case. If this happens, you will be precluded from recovering any proven damages. It is therefore imperative that you follow all deadlines and comply will Ohio law. Finally, as a fault based state, Ohio applies comparative fault. This means that if you are found to be more than fifty percent at fault, you will be unable to recover for your own injuries and damages.
At Home in Cleveland, Ohio
Tips When Making a Car Accident Claim With Insurance
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, the experience is overwhelming even before involving insurance companies. You have to deal with damage to your vehicle at the very least and in serious cases, bodily injury. Unfortunately, once the insurance companies get involved, the process can become even more overwhelming. Insurance companies might claim they are “on your side” but someone in a serious car accident knows all to well that it isn’t always the case. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations and they exist primarily to earn a profit. This usually results in their attempts to minimize the amount of a payout when you need it most. A car accident lawyer can provide you with a lot of tips you should follow once the insurance company gets involved. Some of these are tips such as cooperate but defend against insurance company overreach or make sure you document everything. The insurance company may try to rush you into a settlement but don’t take the bait. Most importantly, you need to make sure you have a car accident attorney in your corner. For more detail about these tips, check out our article on the <four most important tips when making a car insurance claim.>
How Much is Your Accident Claim Worth?
One of the most common questions that we get asked is what a car accident claim is worth. That’s a tough estimate to give our clients because there are so many factors involved in evaluating a case. For starters, there is no guarantee that the case will settle and it might require litigation. That can significantly change the ultimate compensation that is received should the claim be successful. If the case is one that settles, its value is loosely based on the amount of medical bills, wage loss, seriousness of the injury and policy limit of any insurance policy. Having practiced in the area of car accidents for a combined 30 years, however, we know that most of our clients who have been in a car accident still would like to get a general idea of how they can value their claim – even if this is an estimate. Since this is such a common question, we put together a car accident settlement calculator to help give a general range to those of you who have been in an accident. You can check out the car accident settlement calculator <here>.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I'm in a Car Accident?
Chiropractors After a Car Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, maybe you’ve experienced how difficult it is to determine the scope of any injuries you might have suffered. Sometimes the injuries don’t truly become fully noticeable until some time has passed. Given how expensive healthcare can be, when you feel pain after a car accident, you might be hesitant to go to a hospital or specialist. Instead, many of our clients feel that going to a chiropractor is a better idea to see if what they perceive as a minor injury can be resolved. While it may seem like a chiropractor is a less expensive alternative, that’s rarely the case. Chiropractic bills can snowball out of control and become major obstacles when attempting to settle your car accident claim. Even with the hefty price tag of chiropractic treatment, many times it does not resolve the problem and our clients end up pursuing treatment through a hospital or their primary care physician and this only adds to the cost of treatment. For more about chiropractic treatment, check out our article on chiropractors and car accidents.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Ohio
Uninsured and Underinsured Car Insurance
We can’t stress enough the importance of making sure you understand your car insurance coverage and have certain coverages in place. We’ve seen countless accidents, some with serious injuries, where the person who caused the accident didn’t have insurance. This is where underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage comes in. Essentially, this is a facet of your own insurance policy that is going to step in and provide compensation when the person who hit you in a car accident doesn’t have any or enough to cover your injuries. You should never leave insurance coverage up to chance. Always, always, always make sure that you have underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage as a part of your insurance policy. For more information, here’s an article on uninsured and underinsured car insurance. Click here to learn more about emotional and mental distress after a car accident.
How Much is My Car Accident Worth?
Gap Insurance For Your Automobile
Most people learn the hard way that vehicles start to depreciate immediately upon leaving the car lot. The value of your vehicle is almost never the value of the loan that you are obligated to pay. Often times, the full loan amount on a car loan can exceed the value of the car by significant magnitudes. If your car happens to be totaled, the car insurance company is usually only going to pay the amount of a “total loss” which is never the full amount of your loan. Unfortunately, the loan company will still come after you for the full amount! This creates a gap between what your car was worth at the time it was totaled and the amount still outstanding on your loan. That’s why you should always make sure your car insurance includes gap insurance. Gap insurance will provide you additional compensation to cover the “gap” between the value of your car when totaled and whatever is left on the loan so you don’t have to cover the difference. Check out our article on gap insurance to learn more.
Medical Bills After an Accident in Ohio
If you or a loved one are injured in an automobile accident, one of the initial questions asked is how do I get my medical bills paid? The at fault person is responsible for the payment of your medical bills. Unfortunately, through their automobile insurance company, they are only required to pay one time for your medical bills. That occurs only when the case settles and there is a signed release. Some injuries may need extended medical treatment. You may get frustrated as the automobile insurance company for the at-fault party will not pay any of those medical bills until the case settles. The medical bills mount, health care medical providers demand payment, and in some situations the balances are sent to collection. There are, however, ways to avoid this.
The best way to avoid this situation is to use your health insurance company to pay the medical bills as they become due. These payments will then be paid back at the time of settlement. This reimbursement is known as “subrogation” and exists in all health insurance contracts. The balances can be compromised with your health insurance company resulting in more of the settlement proceeds being kept by you. In addition, your own automobile insurance policy may also reimburse the medical bills. Buying “medical payments coverage” in your automobile insurance policy covers your medical bills up to the policy limits. The medical bills must be related to the automobile accident. Again, most insurance policies will require that these balances be paid back from the settlement proceeds. These payments should be used to pay any deductibles incurred after payment by your health insurance company.
If you have no insurance, many health care providers will wait until settlement or jury verdict to be reimbursed. A “letter of protection” or a signed contract may be required. It is therefore very important that you notify the health care medical providers if you have no available insurance. This will stop all collection activities and give you time to reimburse them out of your settlement. Remember you are responsible for those medical bills irrespective of the accident. Due to these complexities, you should see an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to understand all your options and protect your rights.
Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a truck accident in Cleveland, Ohio, personal injury law states that it is your responsibility to prove that the truck driver caused the accident – as well as your injuries. In some cases, this can be much difficult than it initially seems. In serious trucking accident injuries, it is often your word against the truck drivers. Since the stakes are so high, it’s common for at-fault truck drivers to attempt to minimize their role or act out of self-preservation. Making things even more complicated, the cause of the truck accident is sometime due to a third party – such as the carrier failing to complete routine maintenance or a defective part from the truck manufacturer. In these circumstances, you may need to gather evidence from a distant – and often unhelpful – third party. Because of these complexities, it is always best to consult with a qualified Cleveland truck accident lawyer.
After suffering injuries in a trucking accident, the most typical claim against an insurance company or a truck driver is one that is based in negligence. Negligence is a legal term that is roughly synonymous with carelessness. A negligence claim has four distinct and important parts to it that must all be proven to recover. These parts are:
- The Truck Driver (or trucking company, manufacturer, etc.) owed you a duty of care;
- That party breached that duty of care by failing to act a a reasonably prudent person would under the same or similar circumstances; and
- The other party’s breach of it’s duty caused your injuries;
- You suffered actual injuries that you can be compensated for.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan
Contact an Attorney today to discuss your case.
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