If you have an accident with a truck in Ohio and are partly at fault, you may still receive compensation for your injuries. Ohio follows a modified contributory fault law that allows you to receive partial compensation if you are less than 50 percent at fault.
How Ohio’s Contributory Fault Law Works
In Ohio, we use the phrase “contributory fault,” per Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33. You may also hear people use “contributory negligence,” “comparative fault,” and “comparative negligence” in the same context.
Contributory fault is when the defendant (the other driver) may claim that something the plaintiff (you) did caused or contributed to the accident. In many instances, this shared blame may reduce the compensation you receive.
So, after an accident, the state assigns a percentage of liability to each party. If you are 25 percent at fault for an accident, your compensation may reduce by 25 percent. With a settlement of $100,000, your actual compensation would decrease to $75,000.
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Avoid Admitting Fault After a Truck Accident
After getting in a truck accident, you must take specific steps to protect yourself, beginning at the accident scene. On-site law enforcement personnel may determine fault in some accidents, but not always. Avoid admitting fault at the scene or discussing the accident with anyone afterward.
During an investigation, law enforcement, insurance companies, and legal representatives may examine the evidence to determine the percentage of fault assigned to each driver. Other things you should do to protect yourself include:
- Staying at the accident scene unless and until the police give you the OK, or you need to go to the hospital via ambulance.
- Accepting medical treatment. If not available at the scene, go to an emergency room or urgent care as soon as possible.
Who to Contact After a Truck Accident
Always contact the local law enforcement agency from the scene of an accident. Dialing 911 using a cell phone doesn’t always place you with the right agency, so be prepared to give your exact location. This allows the dispatcher to ensure you are speaking with the correct department. If you are on the vast highway system in Ohio, dialing #677 is the quickest way to notify the police of your accident.
Once you have settled down a bit from the adrenaline rush of the accident, contact your insurance company. You can do this after you get home. If you cannot call, you can designate a representative to make a courtesy call on your behalf.
What NOT to Say Following a Truck Crash
When speaking with police on the scene, stick to short, factual statements. Do not speculate about who or what caused the accident. Refrain from giving details unless requested. Remember that any statement you make might be used against you by the other party’s insurance company to assign fault.
When you speak with your insurance company, it may help to make a few notes about the accident before calling. It can help keep what happened fresh in your memory and ensure you cover all the essential points.
Communicating with the insurance companies can be tricky, though. In that case, you may want to retain legal representation. A truck accident lawyer can speak to the adjuster on your behalf while you tend to your injuries.
What Makes Truck Accidents Different than Car Accidents?
Accidents between passenger cars and big trucks almost always cause more severe injuries and even deaths. Still, large trucks have to follow the same rules as cars. However, they have additional regulations on the federal level that are in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Truck accidents also have the potential for other liable parties. Suppose the truck that hit you had faulty brakes. The accident could have stemmed from improper maintenance, poor vehicle inspection procedures, or defective components. So, even though you may blame the driver, the maintenance technician, the company QA inspector, or the parts manufacturer could have played a role in causing the crash.
An attorney can help assign blame accordingly and work to ensure you receive fair compensation. In Ohio, injured motorists may collect economic and non-economic damages from truck accidents. In cases of fatalities, you may also seek damages in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
When You Need a Truck Accident Attorney, Bressman Law Is Here for You
After a truck accident, seeking legal counsel is a prudent step. With a free case evaluation, the car accident team at Bressman Law can discuss your case without obligation. We know Ohio laws and are familiar with the severity of truck accidents.
Our team can fight for your compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages. Trust us to provide warm, supportive, and helpful service while getting the job done. Reach out to us to get started today.