Can my car insurance company raise my rates if I did not cause the accident?

ccident claim

 

Personal injury clients involved in motor vehicle accidents commonly ask me if their auto insurance company will raise their premiums if they make a claim even if they did not cause the accident.

Under Ohio law, assuming you did not cause the accident, auto insurance companies cannot raise the premiums or rates of their insured if it is the first accident within the policy period or the insured is bringing a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorists benefits.

Ohio Revised Code §3937.22 states:

No insurer shall increase the cost of a private passenger automobile insurance policy based on the insured’s involvement in a single motor vehicle accident during the policy period when both of the following apply:

(A) The insured’s action is not a proximate cause of any loss, damage, injury, or death arising out of the accident;
(B) The insured has not been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or pleaded no contest to, a violation of law as a result of the accident.

Ohio Revised Code §3937.23 states:

No insurer shall increase the cost of a private passenger automobile insurance policy based on the insured’s involvement in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, when both of the following apply:

(A) The insured’s action is not a proximate cause of any loss, damage, injury, or death arising out of the accident;
(B) The insured has not been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or pleaded no contest to, a violation of law as a result of the accident.

It is typical that those injured in car accidents and motor vehicle accidents access medical payments coverage under the own auto insurance and bring uninsured/underinsured motorists claims for additional benefits. Generally, as stated above, an individual injured in a car accident or motor vehicle accident should not worry about increased insurance premiums.

Medical Payments Coverage generally pays for medical costs after you are hurt in a car accident, regardless of who is found at fault for the accident. Additionally, medical payments insurance may help pay for:

  • Funeral expenses;
  • Injuries sustained by your passengers; and
  • Injuries you sustain as a pedestrian or bicyclist after a car hits you.
  • Benefits and restrictions of medical payments coverage will differ between car insurance companies.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage protects those injured in car accidents and motor vehicle accidents from drivers that do not have auto insurance or do not have auto insurance sufficient to pay for all of the damages incurred by the injured party. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage covers the following:

  • Past and Future Medical Expenses;
  • Past Lost Earnings and Future Lost of Earning Capacity;
  • Out of Pocket Expenses;
  • Past and Future Physical Pain and Suffering;
  • Past and Future Mental Pain and Suffering; and
  • Past and Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life.

The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are committed to the aggressive pursuit of compensation and fully explain the claim process throughout the entire case.

We offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your case.

Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Get More for My Settlement?

The answer is YES, if you hire the right attorney.

Countless clients have hired the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman after receiving low-ball offers from insurance companies and our attorneys have gone on to recover 6 times, 12 times and even 50 times the original offer. While past cases do not guarantee future results, the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are committed to aggressively pursuing your compensation.

 

Not every personal injury lawyer can obtain the results you may want or need. When evaluating personal injury lawyers, you must consider the following to ensure your claim is being properly presented and framed so that you receive maximum compensation:

Aggressive Pursuit of Compensation

Your lawyer should create a plan of attack to maximize the compensation available under your claim and make sure there is evidence to force the insurance company to pay what you deserve. Insurance companies and defense lawyers will not consider claims that lack sufficient evidence to support the demand for compensation. A skilled and aggressive personal injury lawyer will make sure every aspect of your claim is maximized.

Track Record of Success

Insurance companies know which personal injury lawyers accept low-ball offers and which lawyers will go to court to obtain maximum compensation for their clients. You do not want a personal injury lawyer or law firm that does not go to court or litigate their own claims. There are several of these law firms in Dayton and throughout Ohio. During your initial consultation with the lawyer, be sure to ask if he or she is the lawyer that will represent you if your case goes to court. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are recognized as some of the top personal injury lawyers in Ohio.

Client Reviews and Testimonials

Developments in technology and the ability to quickly and securely share information has allowed former clients to leave reviews and testimonials about their experience with a lawyer and/or law firm. Client reviews and testimonials are a great insight into the outcome obtained for the client. While each case is different and presents unique facts and circumstances, client reviews will give you an indication of what you can expect from the lawyer regarding skill, communication and genuine concern for the client’s interest.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are aggressive in their creation of a plan to maximize your claim under Ohio law, which includes compensation for three types of damages: special damages; general damages; and punitive damages.

Special Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party is entitled to the following types of economic (special) damages:

  1. Past Medical Expenses
  2. Future Medical Expenses
  3. Past Loss of Earnings
  4. Future Loss of Earnings or Earning Capacity
  5. Out of Pocket Expenses

General Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party is entitled to the following types of non-economic (general) damages:

  1. Past Physical Pain and Suffering
  2. Future Physical Pain and Suffering
  3. Past Mental Pain and Suffering
  4. Future Mental Pain and Suffering
  5. Past Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  6. Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party may be entitled to punitive damages if the injured party can prove that the defendant’s actions showed “malice or aggravated or egregious fraud” or the defendant knowingly “authorized, participated in, or ratified actions” that were malicious or egregious. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant for his actions and to deter others from committing a similar offense.

Many times, unrepresented claimants and inexperienced attorneys that do not limit their practice to personal injury claims will leave valuable compensation on the table because the injured victim’s claim is not properly presented to the insurance company. Each and every personal injury claim requires an exhaustive review of the damages listed above so that the injured party receives the compensation he or she deserves. A small mistake can cost the injured victim lots of compensation.

The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman will help maximize the value of your claim and fully explain the claim process throughout the entire case. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if they win your case.

Thanksgiving Travel Leads to High Volume of Car Accidents

The car accident lawyers and motor vehicle accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman urge everyone on the road this Thanksgiving holiday to exercise caution when behind the wheel, obey the speed limit and make plans to have a designated driver when drinking alcohol.

AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year.

 

The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.

While unfortunate, it’s not surprising that increased drivers on the road leads to more car accidents and injuries. In fact, there are publications that report death rates spike over the Thanksgiving holiday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is again warning drivers to stay safe on Thanksgiving. And for good reason — no holiday leads to more deadly accidents.

According to the most recent data available from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there were 764 crashes involving a fatality during Thanksgiving 2012 and nearly 50,000 non-fatal car accidents, too. (About 400 of them involved motorists.) In comparison, there were 654 crashes involving a fatality during Christmas that year. The American Red Cross recently published safety and travel tips to help during the Thanksgiving holiday, including the following:

  • Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
  • Pack an emergency preparedness kit and supplies in the trunk.
  • Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
  • Check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
  • Be well rested and alert.
  • Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive impaired.
  • Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull of the road as far as possible.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

What to do at the scene of a car accident

A car accident can be frightening and lead to devastating injuries. Physical and emotional injuries, medical bills and lost wages are only some of the immediate concerns.

Here is a list of the five most important things to do immediately after an accident:

 

 

1. Health.

It is important that you quickly identify if you or any of your passengers were injured in the accident. However, injuries may not always be obvious or immediately apparent. It has been reported through numerous studies that adrenaline can often mask immediate injuries at the scene of an accident. While it may seem obvious to call 9-1-1 if there are critical or debilitating injuries, you should identify any physical abnormality and report it.

 

2. Safety.

Accidents often take place in areas of high motor vehicle congestion, traffic or dangerous roadways which have blind spots, excessive speed limits or unusual intersections and stops. While you should not move your motor vehicle until the police get to the accident scene, be certain you are not placing yourself in danger by staying in your vehicle or standing directly outside your vehicle. You can wait for the police and emergency medical personnel from a safe location.

 

3. Police.

It is important to call law enforcement immediately after the accident. In fact, law enforcement in Ohio investigated over 53,000 car accidents last year. Many law enforcement officers are trained in accident reconstruction and will create an accurate police report which will likely be used to help prove your claim. It is typical that the at-fault party will dispute the facts of the accident and its insurance company will try to deny the claim. In fact, Esurance advises its insured to deny fault even if they caused the accident. Law enforcement will interview the parties involved in the accident, locate potential witnesses, help determine how the accident occurred and assign fault to the other party. Even if it is obvious which party caused the accident, it is always best to contact the police to make a report.

 

4. Locate Witnesses.

While law enforcement will typically try to take statements of witnesses that hang around the accident scene, you should try to get the name and telephone numbers of potential witnesses before they leave the scene or before law enforcement gets to the scene. These witnesses may be crucial to determine who caused the accident. There are many auto insurers that recommend their insured get witness statements, too.

 

5. Medical Treatment.

If you feel any physical abnormality, pain or discomfort, you should seek medical treatment at the scene of the accident. As mentioned above, adrenaline after the accident may mask initial injuries, but you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. Proper and timely documentation of your injuries is important to presenting a claim to the insurance company. Delays in treatment, failure to properly disclose all of your injuries and failure to follow medical advice will negatively impact payment of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Documentation of injuries is crucial to any successful personal injury claim.

 

The motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have handled hundreds of auto accident claims and will walk you through the entire claim process – guaranteeing that your rights are protected and benefits maximized. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients and will fight for the compensation you deserve. If we do not recover compensation on your behalf, you do not pay an attorney fee.

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