Damn Right,
We Fight!
Nationally Recognized
& Award-Winning Law Firm

Car Accident Attorney in Cleveland

Working Hard to Represent Victims of Traffic Collisions

Every year, an average of 526 traffic-related fatalities occur on Ohio roadways. In 2022 alone, the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) investigated 56,525 motor vehicle crashes in the Buckeye State – 1,906 of which resulted in severe injuries, in addition to 565 fatalities. As concerning as these numbers may seem, they draw attention to the fact that drivers of any motor vehicle have a duty to operate that vehicle safely. If they breach that duty and their negligence causes an accident, they may be legally liable for resulting damages.

If you or a loved one was injured, speak with HMW Law about your case. When you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver with the help of our motor vehicle accident lawyers in Cleveland, you can seek compensation for the damages you suffered, alleviating some of your burdens.

We provide compassionate legal guidance and personalized attention. When you turn to us, we will respond promptly to your questions and concerns and give the clear, detailed answers you need to understand and navigate your case. Our team can do what it takes to work toward a favorable result on your behalf. For sound legal advice and counsel, call our firm at 216-369-1352 or contact us online.

What’s the Process of Pursuing a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim in Ohio?

The first step to begin your motor vehicle accident case is usually submitting a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. You must be prepared to provide detailed information about the accident and evidence supporting your assertion that the other driver was responsible. Getting a lawyer’s help immediately is essential for effectively submitting your claim. At HMW Law, we know all relevant information to include at the beginning stages of a traffic collision case and can ensure you’ve provided all the necessary information.

Next, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation. In most cases, the goal of their investigation is to try to gather evidence proving that their policyholder was not at fault or that, somehow, you were partially or primarily responsible for the collision. This is because insurance companies are for-profit businesses, so they are not usually interested in awarding generous payouts to injured claimants. They will do everything they can to protect their profits and close out claims for the least amount of money possible – and that becomes clear during the next stage of the claim process.

Next, you, your attorney, and the insurance company will then enter into negotiations regarding compensation. Remember that even if the claims adjuster sounds friendly and compassionate, the insurance company is not on your side and generally tries to protect its bottom line. Therefore, during the initial talks, it may offer a low settlement amount and may even try to pressure you into accepting it.

Before accepting a payout, speak with our Cleveland motor vehicle accident lawyers. We will evaluate your losses and expenses to determine whether the offer is fair. What we typically find is that the first offer is not fair and not enough to cover all your damages. Our car accident lawyers will aggressively work toward just compensation and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

If you are unable to agree on a settlement amount with the insurance company, you may have to file a lawsuit and take your case to court. Your attorney can advise you on whether your case should move on to the litigation stage or not, as this can be a lengthy process. During litigation, a judge or jury will hear the case and decide whether to award compensation. Although most motor vehicle accident matters are settled out of court, our trial-tested attorneys at HMW Law will be prepared to litigate your case.

What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident in Ohio?

If you were involved in a traffic collision, your injuries likely required medical care, which resulted in substantial expenses. Additionally, you might have needed to stay in the hospital for an extended period, meaning you had to miss work and may not have received wages for the time you were out. The unexpected financial strains and emotional tolls arising from a crash can be stressful and frustrating. The harm you suffered can affect many aspects of your life – both financial and emotional. While compensation may not always be enough to return your life to normal, it is the next best remedy to allow you to access the resources you need to get back on your feet.

There are a few different categories of damages that can be recovered in a motor vehicle accident case, including economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible financial losses directly related to the accident and injury, including but not limited to past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and the costs of repairing or replacing damaged property (such as your vehicle).

The impact of an accident usually goes well beyond the many financial losses experienced by the victim. For that reason, accident victims may also seek compensation for their non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In rare cases, a court may also award punitive damages to a plaintiff. Because car accident cases are handled by a civil court, the court cannot punish a defendant with jail time or any other form of criminal punishment for particularly egregious behavior, such as gross negligence. Instead, the court may order the defendant to pay the victim (the plaintiff) additional compensation on top of standard damages. This additional compensation is referred to as punitive damages and is meant to punish the defendant for their actions and prevent similar behavior in the future. Not many cases qualify to receive punitive damages, so consult your attorney to determine what types of damages you may expect for your case.

How Much is My Car Accident Case Worth?

When you are unable to work due to your injuries, your focus may immediately be placed on how you will make ends meet while away from work – especially as you continue to receive an endless stack of medical bills. If that sounds familiar, you are not alone – many car accident victims worry about how much money they may receive for their claim.

There are many different online “personal injury calculator” tools that promise to give you the exact dollar amount you can recover for your accident in exchange for answering a few simple questions. These tools often prove to be inaccurate and value your case much lower than it is really worth, and sometimes may even give you an exaggerated estimate. The truth is that each car accident case is unique, and the amount of compensation you receive depends on several factors, such as the extent of your injuries and the nature of the accident.

In general, the more severe or life-altering your injuries were and the more significant the damages you sustained (such as medical bills, pain, and suffering), the higher your claim value may be. For example, a person who suffered a spinal cord injury and became permanently paralyzed after a car crash is more likely to receive a higher payout than someone who suffered a few broken bones and is expected to make a full recovery. At HMW Law, our attorneys can conduct a thorough analysis of your case and provide you with a more accurate estimate of how much you may be able to recover for your accident.

Does Ohio Follow Contributory Negligence or Comparative Negligence Rules?

In cases where more than one person is at fault for an accident, each state may have different laws to address whether the plaintiff gets to recover compensation and, if so, whether the plaintiff’s percentage of involvement affects their final award amount. In some states, the doctrine of pure contributory negligence applies, while other states follow a form of comparative negligence doctrine.

Pure contributory negligence means a plaintiff cannot be at fault for their own damages, not even by 1%. If that is the case, the plaintiff is barred from recovering any compensation. Besides the District of Columbia, only four other states follow the pure contributory negligence law: Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. The rest of the states follow a form of comparative negligence, which tends to be more favorable to plaintiffs.

Comparative negligence allows plaintiffs to recover some compensation for their accident, even if they are partially at fault for it. Some states follow a pure comparative negligence law, which allows plaintiffs to recover damages even if they were 99% at fault. Other states are a bit more strict and follow a modified comparative negligence rule, which also allows partially at-fault plaintiffs to recover damages, as long as their percentage of fault is not 50% or 51% or higher.

In both cases, the plaintiff’s percentage of fault reduces the amount of damages they may be able to recover. For example, if a plaintiff is 25%, their final award will be reduced by 25%. Ohio is a modified comparative negligence state with a 51% bar, meaning that plaintiffs may seek recovery if they are not 51% at fault or more. In other words, if a plaintiff is 60% at fault for their own injuries, they would be barred from seeking damages compensation in Ohio.

This is important to understand, as in many cases, the insurance company will go the extra mile to prove that you are also at fault for your own injuries. The higher your percentage of fault, the less they have to pay you in a settlement. This is when the work of a skilled car accident attorney can genuinely make a difference in your case, as your attorney will be able to help you build your case in a way that minimizes the percentage of liability assigned to you.

How Long Can I Wait to File a Car Accident Claim in Ohio?

If you are at home or in the hospital and recovering from your injuries, you may not feel ready to deal with the tasks necessary to file your claim and seek recovery for your damages. However, waiting too long to take action is rarely a good idea, and there are many reasons for that.

First, similarly to other states, Ohio has a legal deadline for filing personal injury claims, such as car accidents. This legal deadline is called a statute of limitations, which is a law that limits how much time a plaintiff can wait before taking legal action and seeking damages compensation for an accident caused by someone else. In Ohio, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years, counting from the date when the accident took place. If you allow the two-year deadline to expire before filing a claim, your claim may be dismissed, and you may not be able to recover compensation for your accident, even if it was caused by someone else.

Second, the at-fault driver’s insurance company – or even your own insurance company – may have its own deadlines to receive claims after an accident, which often may leave you with even less time to take action. The same applies to claims involving a government entity, which have much shorter deadlines than the two-year statute of limitations.

Finally, the quality and availability of the evidence needed for your case tend to deteriorate the longer you wait. Memories fade, videos and photos are lost or erased, material evidence is destroyed, and witnesses may no longer be reachable. The sooner you act, the better your chances are of recovering quality evidence to support your claim. In short, two years may seem like sufficient time, but it is hardly ever a good idea to wait for so long. That is why you will want to contact a skilled Cleveland car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and maximize your chances of a successful outcome.

Why Should I Hire HMW Law for my Car Accident Case?

When you are injured, your priority should be to recover and spend time with your loved ones. Let HMW Law fight for your rights as a car accident victim and deal with all the steps needed to recover compensation on your behalf. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and prepared to defend your best interests before the insurance company and take your case to trial if necessary. Because we work with a contingency fee structure, you can get legal representation for your case right away without any upfront costs, and if we don’t win, you owe us nothing.

Discuss your case with our Cleveland car accident attorneys in Cleveland. We are well-versed in personal injury law and can let you know what legal recourse you have. Our team can work aggressively toward obtaining just results. Schedule your free initial consultation by contacting us at 216-369-1352.