Findlay Auto Accident Lawyers
A serious car crash causes both financial and emotional losses. Financially, medical bills pile up when the victim is unable to work. The resulting stress can be overwhelming. Emotionally, car crash victims basically no longer live their lives. Instead of participating in pleasant activities and fulfilling their obligations, they are often stuck in bed. Compensation is available for both financial and emotional losses.
To see you through this time, you need the tough lawyers at Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott. We are both strong advocates and reliable counselors. We fight for your legal and financial rights during both pretrial settlement negotiations and in the courtroom. While the legal process unfolds, we regularly communicate with you and take the time to answer all your questions. So, we obtain positive legal results and build relationships. That is what we are here for.
Your Legal Claim in a Findlay Car Crash Case
All successful car crash claims feature substantial evidence and a sound legal theory. So, your attorney needs both investigatory skills and legal skills.
Findlay vehicle collision investigations usually begin with the police accident report, but this report is sometimes inaccurate. If the victim was unavailable to give a statement at the time, which is often the case, the report only contains one side of the story. So, an attorney must often gather additional evidence, such as:
- Event Data Recorder: EDRs are like the black boxes in commercial jets. They include information like vehicle speed and steering angle at the time of the crash. Because of privacy laws, attorneys usually need a court order to inspect EDRs and download their contents.
- Additional Witnesses: First responders generally interview witnesses who voluntarily come forward at the scene. But for one reason or another, many people are reluctant to talk to police officers. So, an attorney must often go back and re-canvass the area and find additional witnesses.
- Medical Records: Once again because of privacy laws, individuals usually have a hard time obtaining medical bills. But an experienced attorney can cut through the red tape and obtain this critical evidence very quickly.
In car crash claims, the victim/plaintiff must establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
This claim usually involves either negligence, which is a lack of ordinary care, or negligence per se, which is the violation of a safety statute.
Some Possible Insurance Company Defenses
Building a case is a necessary start, but it is only the beginning. A good attorney must also prepare to deal with possible insurance company defenses.
Contributory negligence is one of the most common defenses in car crash cases. This doctrine essentially shifts blame for the accident from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. For example, one driver might have been speeding and the other one might have made an illegal turn.
Ohio is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, even if the victim was 49% responsible for the crash, the victim is still entitled to a proportional share of damages.
At best, contributory negligence usually only reduces the tortfeasor’s liability. Other legal loopholes may eliminate legal responsibility altogether. These defenses include:
- Sudden Emergency: Insurance companies use this defense a lot in pedestrian injury cases. If the tortfeasor reasonably reacted to an unexpected situation, the tortfeasor is not liable for damages.
- Last Clear Chance: In a few cases, the victim had a reasonable opportunity to avoid the crash, perhaps by changing lanes, yet did not do so. If that is true, the tortfeasor may not be liable for damages, even if the emergency responder said the tortfeasor caused the crash.
In these and other defenses, the insurance company usually bears the burden of proof on each element of the defense.
Reach Out to Aggressive Attorneys
Car crash victims may be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Findlay, contact Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott LLC. Home and hospital visits are available.