After you get hurt in a car accident in Ohio, you might be trying to figure out whether you should file an auto insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit against the responsible driver. You may have heard that you have only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Section 2305.10), and you may be thinking it makes sense to start there. However, you should never reach a decision about how to seek compensation without talking to an experienced Ohio car accident attorney. For most Cleveland-area residents who are injured in motor vehicle crashes, the first step almost always involves filing an auto accident claim. If the insurance company will not offer a reasonable settlement, or insurance limits prevent me from getting you the financial compensation you should have, we can always move forward with a lawsuit. Let me tell you more about the steps you should take.
File an Auto Insurance Claim: First-Party Versus Third-Party Claims
Nearly all accident victims will want to begin the compensation process by filing an auto insurance claim. However, this step is not as straightforward as it might sound. No matter what, you will need to report the accident to your own insurance company. But then, with the help of an aggressivec Cleveland car accident attorney, you will need to decide whether you want to file a first-party or a third-party claim.
Since Ohio is a fault-based state when it comes to auto insurance and accident claims, you can decide whether to file a first-party claim with your own insurance company or a third-party claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. There are benefits and limitations to both types of claim. With a first-party claim, you tend to have a bit more control over the process since you are filing on your timeline and will be seeking compensation from your own insurer. However, if you file a first-party claim, you will need to pay your deductible up front and hope that the insurance company can get that deductible back for you later on through subrogation. With a third-party claim, you file through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This option prevents you from having to pay your own deductible, but the timeline can be longer, and you are more likely to run into insurance limits if anyone else got hurt in the crash. Keep in mind, however, that insurance limits can even come into play if you file a first-party claim.
How Insurance Limits Can Impact Your Claim
What are insurance limits? Under Ohio auto insurance law, drivers need to have certain minimum amounts of insurance. In Ohio, every driver must have the following:
- $25,000 injury liability per person;
- $50,000 injury liability total per accident; and
- $25,000 property damage per accident.
If you file a third-party claim and another injured person also seeks compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, that “per accident” amount could significantly limit your payout. In other words, the insurance company will not pay out more than the amount for which the insured pays premiums.
When an insurance company will not offer a reasonable settlement or insurance limits prevent you from getting what you deserve, then we can move onto filing a lawsuit.
Contact Me to Get Started on Your Car Accident Claim
I know how important it is to hold at-fault drivers accountable in a car accident case. I will do everything in my power to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Contact me at 877.944.4373 today for more information. I’ll Make Them Pay!®