In many car accidents, it is quite clear who is at fault, so the driver’s insurance company takes responsibility and starts paying the other party’s medical bills and / or damages. But sometimes accidents happen and for various reasons it is impossible to determine who is at fault.
This article gives you a real example of a customer where the fault of an accident could not be determined and how Ohio car insurance worked through the process. In the state of Ohio, this example is quite typical of the process.
First the accident ….
Our customer (let’s call her Mary) backed out of a parking lot in a restaurant parking lot. She was almost out of space and getting ready to straighten the wheel, when out of the corner of her eye she noticed a vehicle reversing down the lane. The vehicle did not stop and collided with Mary̵7;s vehicle.
The two drivers exchanged contact and insurance information.
As the incident occurred on private property, no police were called. Law enforcement usually refrains from taking accident reports that occur on private property, and many have a policy where they simply will not do so. After the exchange of information, witnesses were asked to give a statement, but no one appeared. Both parties filed and filed claims with their respective insurance companies.
How fault and liability are determined in a car accident in Ohio …
But first we need to define a CRITICAL term so that the rest of this article makes sense. The majority of insurance liability claims are paid on the basis of the concept of negligence. “Negligence” is defined as the failure to observe the degree of care required by a reasonable and prudent person in a given circumstance leading to harm or injury to another. As a general rule – negligent = wrong (and thus legally responsible). Not negligent = not wrong (and not legally responsible).
Back to the accident
Each person was contacted by their respective insurance companies to make a statement. They were also asked by the other insurance company to give a statement (this is the standard procedure for all accidents). Each said that the other was guilty. In case of conflicting stories, and no evidence to prove otherwise, each insurance company denied liability.
The end result of this claim is that each insured had to seek coverage from their own company to pay for any medical expenses or damage to her vehicle. One note: collision is the coverage that would repair or replace the damaged vehicle, subject to deductible. Medical payments coverage can be used to pay medical bills.
Does this smell? Of course it does. But an insurance company is only required to pay when their insured is negligent (ie legally liable) for bodily injury or property damage to someone else or something else. Not negligent = no error = no payment.
So your only solution is to use your own policy to fix your car and / or pay your medical bills. So what happens if you do not have collision protection? Then you would have to pay to repair your car out of pocket. And no medical payments? Then your health insurance would take over. In the absence of health insurance, you would pay out of pocket.
How Ohio’s law of comparative negligence helps establish fault and liability in a car accident
Ohio has a comparative law of negligence. Comparative negligence makes it possible for a person to recover damages that have decreased by the person’s own share of negligence. In Ohio, if a party has more than 50 percent wrong, recycling is not allowed. In this example, since errors could not be determined, each person was considered equally wrong. With two parties corresponding to 50% responsible – another reason why each person’s insurance only takes care of that person.
What you need to learn from this example
If you are involved in a car accident where there is no clear indicator of who is at fault, there is a good chance that your own car insurance must come to the rescue. So you need to make sure you have the best car insurance in Ohio you can. This means high limits of liability and deductibles you are comfortable with. Because if you have to use it, you want it to be there to pay your medical bills and repair your vehicle. These types of accidents happen more often than you might think.