Fatalities on Ohio roads increase in 2019

Ohio car fatalities

In an article dated January 17, 2020, the Daily Court Reporter stated that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced recently that fatalities on Ohio’s roads this year have increased over 2018, making 2019 one of the deadliest years on Ohio roads during this decade.

There have been a total of 1,119 fatalities on Ohio roads this year to date, as compared to 1,068 traffic deaths during the entire year of 2018. Overall, traffic fatalities have increased in five of the past six years.

“Distracted driving involving smartphones in, without a doubt, a major contributing factor to this increase in traffic fatalities, which is why I’ve asked the Ohio State Highway Patrol to increase enforcement of distracted driving violations over the holidays,” said Governor DeWine. “As we launch into one of the busiest travel times of the year, the way we drive will impact how many people are home for the holidays and how many people ring in the new year.”

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, more than 91,000 distracted driving crashes occurred in Ohio from 2013 to today resulting in more that 47,000 injuries. A total of 305 people were killed in distracted driving crashes during the same period.

Because drivers don’t aways admit to distracted driving, the actual number of distracted driving crashes, injuries, and deaths are believed to be significantly higher.

“I’m challenging everyone to put your smartphones away while you drive over the holidays and to make it your New Year’s resolution to drive without distraction every day going forward,” said Governor DeWine. “If you have a passenger, ask them to read or write texts for you, or if you are the passenger, speak up if you see your driver reaching for the phone.”

Parents are also encouraged to take time to talk with their young drivers about driving distractions. Between 2013 and 2018, Ohioans age 16-20 had the highest number of distracted driving crashes, followed by drivers between ages of 21-23.

Ohio law bans the use of any electronic wireless communication devices for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers but is a secondary offense for drivers 18 and above.

In addition to smartphone distractions, distracted driving includes any non-driving activity with the potential to distract a person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Distractions can be visual, taking eyes off of the road; manual, taking hands off of the wheel; or cognitive, taking the mind off of driving. Texting while driving is an example that results in all three types of distraction.

If you have lost someone in a car accident, the Ohio Wrongful Death Lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your case. You do not pay an attorney fee if we do not win your case. If you have questions regarding a potential wrongful death lawsuit, call the Ohio Wrongful Death Lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman to speak with an attorney and schedule a free case evaluation.

What is the Maximum Amount of Compensation in Ohio if Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Maximum amount of compensation available in Ohio

The maximum amount of compensation available after a motor vehicle accident varies considerably in Ohio, depending on the nature of the claim.

First, the court will calculate the Economic Damages caused by the accident. That will usually include medical bills, damage to property and vehicles, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. There is no set limit to the maximum amount of compensation awarded to the injured parties for Economic Damages.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are capped by Ohio law. Non-economic damages are defined as “pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.

Unlike medical bills or vehicle repair bills which have a fixed number that must be repaid, non-economic damages can be hard to monetarily value. So, Ohio statutes cap non-economic damages to $250,000 or three times your economic damages, which is subject to a maximum of $350,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.

This cap is removed, however, in Ohio Revised Code §2315.18(B)(3), for catastrophic cases where the injured party suffers from permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, loss of a bodily organ system or permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for themselves and perform life-sustaining activities. There is no limit to how much can be awarded in such cases.

No matter what kind of car accident you were in, or how badly you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is vital that you get an experienced and aggressive car accident attorneys, Cowan & Hilgeman on your side. We will work tirelessly to get you the maximum amount of compensation available for your specific economic and non-economic injuries. Call (937) 222-2030 today to schedule your FREE consultation.

What happens in Ohio if the other driver did not have auto insurance?

What happens in Ohio if the other driver did not have auto insurance?

We all dread getting into an accident, but with so many uninsured drivers on the road, a bad situation can get so much worse if you get into an accident and the other driver did not have auto insurance. In 2015, it was estimated that 12.4% of all Ohio drivers were uninsured. Thanks to recent improvements in law enforcement detection and strict penalties, that number has fallen from an average of 16% in the early ’90’s.

Ohio does not require uninsured motorist coverage as part of the State minimum insurance coverage, so many people are left footing the bill for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages after getting into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

If you have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you do have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage, your insurance company will pay your claims and then recover those costs from the at-fault driver. It is important to have experienced and aggressive representation during this negotiation, as with any settlement with an insurance company, to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries, property damage, lost wages, etc.

If you DO NOT have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you do not have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage, however, things get more difficult to handle. The at-fault driver is still liable for any and all injuries caused by their negligence, regardless of their insurance status. The personal injury attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman have successfully recovered compensation from uninsured and underinsured motorists countless times, and we will guide you through the process of filing a personal injury suit.

We will work tirelessly to get you reasonable compensation to cover:
Medical bills
Your pain and suffering
Lost wages
Property Damage

If you retain Cowan & Hilgeman as your legal representation, the uninsured driver will have to pay for an attorney to defend them in the lawsuit Cowan & Hilgeman will file on your behalf. If the at-fault driver does not defend themselves against our lawsuit, the court will grant a default judgement in our favor. The uninsured driver will probably lose their license, which they can work to re-earn after entering a payment plan or pay off the balance of their debt.

If the uninsured driver chooses not to work towards repaying the costs of repairing the other driver’s car, medical bills, etc., the judgement holder can ask the court to garnish the defendant’s wages or bank account until the judgement is paid. If the judgement is too large to reasonably be repaid via wage garnishment, the court can force the sale of the at-fault party’s personal assets.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been in a car accident and the other driver did not have auto insurance, do not hesitate to call the experienced and aggressive car accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman Law. Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your free consultation.

What to do if You Get Into a Car Accident

By car insurance industry estimates, you will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. If you got your license at age 16, the odds are quite good that you’ll experience some kind of crash by the time you’re 34, at the latest. Over the course of a typical long, driving lifetime, you should have a total of three to four accidents.

Chances are, these crashes won’t be deadly. There are about 10 million accidents of all kinds each year, from parking lot scrapes to multi-car pileups, according to the National Safety Council. While the odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash are 1 in 103, the chances of sustaining an injury are far more likely. More than 2 million people are injured in car crashes every year.

At Cowan & Hilgeman Law, your safety is our top priority. We have compiled a list of steps you should take if you are one of the more than 2 Million Americans who will be injured in a car accident this year:

1 – Check yourself and your Passengers for Injury

If you or one of your passengers are injured, call 911 or ask a bystander to call for you.

2 – Get to Safety

If you are able to, pull your car over to the side of the road – but don’t risk further injury to yourself or your passengers to do so. If you cannot move your car, leave it where it is and move yourself to the side of the road.

3 – Call 911

Even if you or the other driver thinks the accident is a minor fender bender that does not require police involvement, you should call the police. The responding officers will complete an accident report that may prove important when negotiating your claim with insurance companies. They will document the scene and record any potential witnesses.

4 – Wait for Help

Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and set up a warning triangle or road flares, if you have them.

5 – Exchange Information

Make sure you get the other drivers’ full name, address and telephone number, along with their insurance company contact information and policy number. It is also important to write down the color, make and model of the other car, as well as the license plate number.

You should avoid discussing the accident with the other driver, as even the smallest apology or nervous babble about how you didn’t see them can be used to find you at fault, regardless who was actually to blame for the accident.

6 – Document the Accident

Take as many pictures as possible, without putting yourself in danger from other traffic. Make sure to record the damage to both cars from several different angles, in addition to the cars’ general location in the road, surrounding traffic signals, signs, intersections, etc.

Write down the names and badge numbers of any responding officers, and the names and contact information of witnesses and passengers from both vehicles.

7 – Notify your Insurer

To begin the claims process, you need to notify your insurer as soon as possible. They will ask for a copy of the police report, which you may have to physically obtain from the police department. The insurance adjuster will contact you within a few days to take a sworn statement of facts.

8 – If Anyone Was Injured, Call a Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies are notorious for their dodgy tactics, and will often talk claimants into taking a settlement worth a fraction of what a personal injury Attorney can win for you.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman Law will fight tooth and nail to get you just and fair compensation for your injuries and loss of income.

Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your FREE, no obligation consultation.

What is state minimum auto insurance in Ohio?

No matter where you live in the Buckeye State, you are legally required to carry the state minimum auto insurance to protect you and those around you in the event of a collision.

The minimum car insurance requirement for Ohio drivers is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
  • $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability

Penalties for Failure to Carry Ohio Auto Insurance

Failure to carry state minimum auto insurance in Ohio can result in hefty fines and penalties. A first offense can result in the loss of your driver’s license for 90 days, and 1 year for second offense. After a second offense, your license plates and registration can be revoked and you can be charged reinstatement fees ranging from $75 to $500. In addition, your vehicle can be impounded and sold at auction.

Basic Liability Coverage

If money is tight, you might be tempted to skimp on insurance. Most insurance companies offer Basic Liability Coverage, and while they meet mandatory state minimum auto insurance in Ohio, the minimum required about is often insufficient to cover expensive repairs and ongoing medical bills resulting from a collision. If a claim against you exceeds the value of your insurance coverage, you may find yourself paying out of your own pocket.

Basic Liability Coverage will also not protect you if you get into an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, if your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged by fire, hail, rocks or debris.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a person driving with no or inadequate auto insurance, call the trusted Dayton Personal Injury Attorneys, Cowan & Hilgeman, to schedule your FREE consultation – (937) 222-2030.

What is “Full Coverage” Auto Insurance in Ohio?

Despite the popularity of the term, there is no actual policy called “full coverage auto insurance.” In other words, insurance providers do not offer an auto insurance policy that covers everything.

However, what is considered full coverage auto insurance by some is the combination of comprehensive insurance, collision insurance and liability insurance.

Here are the different types of coverage that make up a reliable “full coverage” policy:

Bodily Injury
Pays for injuries a driver causes to other people, including other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The policy covers medical expenses and lost wages as well as legal and funeral expenses in some cases.

Property Damage
Part of a standard auto insurance policy that covers you, up to the policy limit, for losses that result when you damage or destroy someone else’s personal property. This is required coverage in most states.

Pays for damage caused by hazards other than collision, such as fire, theft, explosion, windstorm, hail, water or contact with an animal. Like Collision coverage, Comprehensive coverage includes a deductible, such as $250 or $500. You pay the deductible when you get the car repaired or replaced. For example, if the cost to replace your stolen car is $10,000 and you have a $500 deductible, your company will pay you $9,500.

Pays for damage to your car caused by an impact with another vehicle or object or a rollover. Collision coverage includes a deductible, such $250 or $500. You are responsible for paying the deductible when you get the damage repaired. For example, if the damage was $1,500 and you have a $250 deductible, your company pays $1,250 toward the repair costs.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
Part of a standard auto insurance policy that provides coverage for injuries you and others suffer when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, or a driver without adequate insurance. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not a required coverage in every state, but it is highly recommended.

Rental Reimbursement
Pays for the cost of a rental car while yours is being fixed.

Covers the cost of removing your car from the scene of an accident or breakdown, to the place of your choosing.