Once someone’s degree of fault in an accident reaches 51 percent, damages cannot be recovered against the other party. The injured person must have been half (or less) responsible for the crash. This becomes an important factor when more than one party is liable. Partial fault in an accident can do one of two things. It can prevent someone from seeking compensation for injury-related expenses -- such as medical bills and lost income. Or it can diminish the amount that is available. So even if someone is entitled to damages, the value of the claim will be reduced by the degree of fault assigned.
Let’s say someone was injured in a crash on Interstate 71. The other driver failed to use the turn signal when changing lanes. But it was also found the injured driver didn’t see the vehicle attempting to make a lane change because of a distraction, such as talking on a cellphone.
If both were found to be half at fault and the injured person’s damages totaled $30,000, the only amount that could be recovered is half, or $15,000. That can be a significant amount of money to lose, especially when facing substantial medical bills and a lot of missed time from work.
On the other hand, let’s say someone was injured at the intersection of Detroit and West 65th Street when another vehicle turned left into the driver’s path. Although left-turn accidents typically are the fault of the person who turned, a witness states the injured person had sped up to make it through the light.
In this situation, if the injured person was assigned 10 percent liability and damages totaled $25,000, the amount that would be reduced is $2,500. So the individual still may be entitled to $22,500. This likely is going to be enough to cover the majority of expenses.
It’s clear to see why Ohio comparative negligence laws are such a critical factor in an accident case. State of Ohio negligence laws not only could prevent an injured person from receiving any compensation, but they also may lower the amount that is available significantly.
Because Ohio is as an-fault state, a claim would need to be filed with the responsible party’s insurance company. But if there is a disagreement concerning fault, it may necessitate going to court. Typically, this would be done only if the injuries sustained in the crash were serious.
In these types of circumstances, when someone disagrees with the amount of fault attributed by the State of Ohio negligence laws, it would be helpful to seek legal advice. An attorney could gather necessary evidence to prove the other party’s liability. Legal counsel also can provide an estimate for the amount of compensation for an auto accident that should be sought. You can review the verdicts and settlements that Ryan, LLP have achieved for our clients.