Nestled peacefully along the pristine Lake Erie, Toledo, Ohio is a historic town made up of hard-working members of industry, healthcare workers, and public sector employees – to name a few. And you can be sure that if any of these hard-workers get into an accident, they can rely on a Toledo car accident attorney from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to help them get the money they need to cover their damages.
Proving negligence after an accident
The law office of Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, housed in the bustling Granite Circle area, boasts a combined 300 years’ worth of legal experienced across its diverse staff. Our Ohio car accident lawyers work closely with folks through the process of establishing negligence and obtaining rightful compensation from the party responsible for injuries and property damage.
Under Ohio law, a plaintiff (injured party) must meet four distinct elements in a successful negligence action:
- Duty: The party presumably responsible for the accident owed a duty of care and caution to the victim at the time the accident took place.
- Breach: The at-fault party breached this duty in some way by committing an act (or failing to commit an act).
- Causation: The breach caused the resulting accident.
- Damages: The plaintiff sustained harm in some way, either financially, physically, or via property damage.
After a car accident, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable given the circumstances at hand. While these cases are heavily fact-driven and sometimes hard to prove, some cases of negligence are a bit more obvious than others.
For example, driving while intoxicated is always a negligent act, while accusations of distracted driving may be a bit more difficult to prove. Other examples of negligence could include speeding, ignoring posted traffic regulations, or talking on the phone and driving.
What should I do after an accident?
In the aftermath of a serious auto accident, safety is your preeminent concern. Once you have ensured the safety of all involved parties, there are several steps to follow to help preserve evidence and ultimately maximize recovery:
1) Contact police: Immediately following an auto accident, contact the Toledo Police Department as quickly as possible. Not only will the police help ensure the safety of all accident participants after the wreck, but trained law enforcement personnel will create a detailed police report setting forth the precise factors involved in the crash.
If the police issued any citations or suspected driver intoxication, officers will include these facts in the report. Ultimately, the police report will tell the story of the accident, which will be helpful in encouraging a settlement or jury verdict.
Even though the police report will have the necessary information, it is important to get all the information you can from the at-fault party. This includes full name, address, phone number, policy information, and make and model of the at-fault driver’s car. Also be sure to take pictures of the scene.
2) Seek medical care: If you did not receive medical care at the scene, be sure to have a doctor check you out as soon as possible. Do this even if you feel totally fine. Injuries may not show their symptoms for days after the accident, after which time it may be too late.
If you need to find a doctor, you can check out Health Grades, WebMD’s Physician Directory, or Promedica’s “Find a Doctor” page. Each page has a client ratings and reviews to help you choose a medical professional who will best suit you.
3) Report the accident: In all cases, both parties must report the accident to their respective insurers. If you do not report the accident, your insurer may drop you or refuse to cover the accident due to policy violations.
If you intend to file a claim, be sure to notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible, but be careful about what you say to the insurer (addressed below). This is also a good time to seek the advice of an experienced Toledo car accident attorney.
What should I do next to help my case?
1) Follow doctor’s orders: This is the single most important thing you can do to maximize recovery – in every way possible. Sometimes, injuries are not apparent for weeks or months following a crash, and strict adherence to rehabilitation schedules is a must.
Moreover, insurance companies could question the sincerity of an accident victim who fails to abide by the doctor’s recommendations in terms of treatment, and this perception could dramatically impact a settlement offer.
2) Obtain and preserve all documents: Be sure to acquire all documents you may need and keep them safe. Be sure to keep adequate records of visits to the doctor, physical therapist, or mental health counselor, as well as any expenses incurred concerning property damage, including vehicle repairs or the purchase of a new automobile.
If you have not yet found a repair shop, you can check out AAA’s auto repair shops, the Better Business Bureau’s list of accredited Toledo auto repair shops, or the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence’s list of Blue Seal Shops. (Note: You may have to choose an approved repair shop; be sure to find out before repairing your vehicle.)
Also, make sure you obtain the accident report, which you can request online or in person at the Central District Station (525 N. Erie Street).
3) Watch what you say to insurance adjusters: Insurance companies employ adjusters to get people to admit they were at fault or that their injuries are not that bad, even if they are. Adjusters will use anything you say against you, even innocent statements such as “I’m sorry” or “I’m okay.” Also, never agree to a recorded statement without first speaking with an attorney.
4) Stay off social media: Many people do not know that a single post could ruin their entire car accident claim. You must remember that an adjuster can most likely see anything you post, even if you set your profile to private, and can use anything you post against you.
For example, if you claim that your car accident caused whiplash so bad that you can barely turn your head but you then post pictures at an amusement park, the adjuster can claim you are lying about the severity of your injuries. Also, be sure that your friends and family do not tag you in anything that might affect your case. Again, seeking the advice of an experienced Toledo car accident attorney is key in the recovery of your case.
How a Toledo car accident attorney can help
An Ohio auto accident lawyer can help with every step of the claims process, from reporting the claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance to negotiating a settlement. If your case does not settle and must go to trial, the Toledo car accident attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault will advocate on your behalf before a judge or jury at the Toledo Municipal Court.
We work tirelessly on behalf of our auto accident victims. As a fixture within the city of Toledo since 1955, we understand what our clients need to redress both the financial and emotional impact of their injuries.
When you are ready to get started on your claim or lawsuit, you can expect a low-stress consultation with one of the many Ohio auto accident lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault From there, we will advise you on the likelihood of recovery, as well as help manage your expectations of the legal processes involved in an auto accident recovery.
To get started, contact us today at 419-843-6663.