Ohio Car Accident Laws and Resources
From Zanesville to Columbus to Cincinnati and Cleveland, there is much to explore in Ohio on its thousands of miles of roads. You can drive through Canton and visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame, take in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and enjoy the rolling hills in the southern part of the Buckeye State. There are 8 million licensed drivers in this state, and they drive an average of 9700 miles per year. If you plan to drive in Ohio, you should become familiar with its laws and regulations. If you happen to get in an accident, you will know what you need to do to file a claim or even a lawsuit.
Statistics and Notable Accidents
According to the Ohio Department of Motor Safety, these were some of the crash statistics for 2016:
- There were 3 fatal car accidents per day in the state, with 3.1 people killed that year.
- A person was killed in Ohio that year every 8 hours, and they were hurt every 4.6 minutes.
- Drunk drivers were involved in 30% of all fatal accidents in Ohio. Most of the drivers in the accidents were men or boys.
- 66% of car accidents happened during the day; this is likely because more people drive during the day, but night accidents are common as well.
- Car accidents killed 33 children.
The Ohio Department of Motor Safety reported in 2016 that common causes of accidents were DUI, drowsy driving, distracted driving and reckless driving. Distracted driving in Ohio is on the rise as it is in most states. That is why there is a texting and driving ban in the state, but these accidents still continue to rise.
Probable causes behind many fatal accidents in Ohio in 2016 were:
- Failure to control the vehicle
- Unsafe speed
- Failure to yield
- Left of center
- Improper change of lane
Also, holiday periods in Ohio lead to more fatal accidents. The estate reported that more than 12 people died over the following weekends in 2016:
- Labor Day
- Memorial Day
- Fourth of July
Pedestrian deaths have also increased with 139 killed in 2016, which is the highest number that has been seen in the state in the last 10 years. It is believed there is more drunk driving, but distracted driving is certainly causing a higher number of pedestrian fatalities.
A major and tragic car accident story from Ohio this year was the death of Terry Glenn, a former Ohio State football star who also played 12 years in the NFL. He was killed in a one car crash in Irving TX in January 2018. The 43-year-old was killed in a car accident at 1 am near Dallas.
Glenn lived near the city and was driving when the vehicle left the road, hit a barrier and rolled. His fiancée was treated for minor injuries, but Glenn was killed at the scene of the crash. Police determined that the driver may have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
Ohio Car Accident Settlement Calculator:
Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in Ohio? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Injury Settlement Calculator.
Ohio Accident Settlement Taxes
In most personal injury cases in Ohio, the settlement or jury award is not subject to taxation at the federal or state level. The federal tax code states that any amount that has been recovered for a physical injury is not subject to taxation. This includes the amounts paid for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering and other harms and losses.
The thinking is the settlement is not income but is due to a loss. These funds are intended to make you whole. However, there is another rule in place when the person who was injured did not sustain a physical injury but only had emotional injuries. In this situation, the settlement would be taxable. For example, if you were in an accident caused by someone else in a car and you suffered emotional trauma only, this amount would be taxable. But if you suffer emotional trauma because of a broken arm in the same accident, the settlement would not be taxable.
Also, punitive damages are taxable at the federal and Ohio state levels. Punitive damages are more than what you need to make you whole. These damages are supposed to punish the other person and deter similar conduct in the future.
Ohio Negligence Laws
The state of Ohio adopted a law of comparative negligence in 1980. This means the amount of your damage recovery depends upon your own percentage of negligence. If you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot recover damages.
The law is most often used regarding auto insurance claims. When there is a car accident in Ohio, the insurance company will investigate the crash to determine the degree of negligence. The police report is a vital source of information to determine who was to blame, but it is not the only factor. Witnesses at the scene and the opinion of what a ‘reasonable person’ would have done can also establish blame for the accident.
If you are in a serious accident with substantial injuries, it is advisable to retain an experienced personal injury attorney; if another person was partially or more at fault for the accident, it is very important to show that he or she was at least 50% to blame, or you cannot recover damages.
Ohio Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Ohio is two years. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important for you to retain an attorney as early as possible after the accident occurs. Filing a lawsuit for property damage has a statute of limitations of two years, as well.
Auto Insurance Requirements for Ohio
If you drive in Ohio, you are required to have a minimum level of car insurance. The minimum coverage required here is:
- $25,000 in bodily injury for each person in each accident
- $50,000 in bodily injury for every person in each accident
- $25,000 for property damage liability
Other Ohio Driving Laws
If you drive in Ohio, be aware there is a texting ban for all drivers. Also, there is a ban on cell phone use for novice drivers. If you are under the age of 18, there are now stricter rules for driving in Ohio. For example, those under 18 cannot drive between midnight and 6 am, unless a parent/guardian is with the driver. Also, those who have documentation from work, church or school to travel in those hours are exempt from the law.
Drivers under 18 also cannot drive with more than one non-family member in the vehicle, and all passengers are required to wear safety belts.
Ohio Accident Resources
Have you been in a car accident in Ohio? This can be a difficult and stressful experience, but we hope the resources you find below make this situation easier.
- If you are injured in an accident, you need to decide if you want to file a lawsuit or insurance claim. It is important to determine what your case could be worth. Lawsuit Info Center can help.
- For accidents that occurred in Columbus, you should file an accident report through the City of Columbus.
- If you are in an accident in other parts of Ohio, you should file a police report through the Ohio BMV.