Columbus Motorcycle Accident Attorney
What You Should Know after a Motorcycle Accident in Columbus, OH
More than 3,000 people were injured, and 166 people died in 2011 in motorcycle accidents in Ohio, according to data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Though resources exist to help motorcyclists learn safe riding techniques, motorcycle riders are at continued risk from inattentive and aggressive drivers with whom they share the road.
You have options for financial recovery if you have been injured in a motorcycle crash in the greater Columbus area. You may be able to recover money from your own insurance company or that of a negligent driver. You likely have many questions about how to file a claim and what you must prove in order to secure compensation. You’ll find a brief outline of some of the most crucial information below.
What You Must Have in Order to File a Negligence Claim
A successful personal injury claim or lawsuit must tie the other driver directly to an act of negligence. To do so, you must prove the four basic components of negligence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care (this “duty” is shared among all drivers who use Columbus’s public roadways).
- The defendant violated the duty of care (such as doing something negligent, like driving while intoxicated or failing to yield the right of way at an intersection).
- The accident was the cause of your injuries (you should be able to prove your injuries are directly tied to the crash and, therefore, the defendant’s actions).
- You suffered damages (this can include medical bills, injuries, lost wages and more).
You will require substantial evidence to prove both negligence and damages. Your evidence may include:
- photos of the accident scene;
- police reports (particularly if the defendant was cited for committing a traffic violation, such as speeding or driving aggressively);
- medical bills;
- witness statements;
- proof of lost income; and
You will lose the right to seek compensation if you fail to act within Ohio’s statute of limitations. Ohio Code 2305.10(A) establishes a time limit of just two years from the date of injury. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible in order to adhere to this timeframe.
How Your Own Actions Impact Your Settlement
Ohio observes a law of modified comparative negligence. This means your actions will impact the value of your potential settlement. You can be partially at-fault for the accident and still recover damages. However, your compensation will be reduced in accordance with the percentage of fault assigned to you. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you lose your right to financial damages.
As such, the defense or insurance company likely will attempt to shift liability to you. They may claim you violated one of Ohio’s motorcycle laws or driving carelessly, such as splitting the lane or riding without a helmet (which is illegal for riders ages 18 years and younger or novice riders). Even if you aren’t required to wear a helmet, not wearing one may increase your comparative fault for the accident and injuries if you suffer a head or neck injury.
A lawyer can help you present evidence that mitigates your own liability. Your focus will be on proving the other driver holds all – or a majority – of the fault.
How Ohio’s Auto Insurance Requirements Impact Your Claim
Ohio is a “fault” state. This means you can file an insurance claim under your own policy if you have the appropriate coverage or pursue damages from an at-fault driver. Ohio’s minimum insurance requirements under Ohio Revised Code Section 4509.51 are:
- Bodily Injury Liability – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident; and
- Property Damage Liability – $25,000 per accident.
You can pursue the above-outlined compensation – or more depending on your damages – from the at-fault driver in your accident. A lawsuit may be necessary to pursue full financial recovery.
I have additional questions about my injury claim. Who should I call?
You may contact our offices to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your rights. Call 866-777-6680.