Ohio State Law Allows for Comparative Negligence When Determining Fault in an Auto Accident
Interviewer: What happens when someone is found to be at fault? Do they take all the blame for the accident, or is there partial fault on both drivers? What does Ohio law say?
Adam: There’s comparative negligence. They compare how negligent each person was and how they contributed to the accident. They can assign that to impact whatever kind of settlement or verdict would come out of it.
Should You Make a Statement to the Other Party’s Insurance Company?
Interviewer: When someone gets into an accident and they exchange information with the other party, I’ve heard that the other party’s insurance company will call on you and maybe try to get you to make a statement or try to talk to you. Is that typical?
Adam: That’s typical. They’ll want a statement and they’ll record it. It depends on what’s said. It could obviously come back to haunt a person but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get past whatever statement was made.
You Are Not Legally Required to Make a Statement to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Interviewer: Do you have to give a statement to the opposing party’s insurance?
Adam: No, and you probably shouldn’t. You should probably let an attorney handle that. It’s just a matter of have they’ve already done it, and if they haven’t, then obviously the injured party is in a little better position as far as what the outcome could be.
Instead of Providing a Statement, It Is Advisable to Refer the Insurance Company to Your Attorney
Interviewer: So people can refuse? If the other insurance calls them and says, “Hey, we’re going to need you to make a statement.” You could say, “No.” or “Talk to my lawyer.”?
Adam: Right. They could just simply refuse to and say, “Talk to my attorney.”
Interviewer: There’s no penalty for doing that, right?
Adam: No. The insurance company is still going to come out if there’s damage to the vehicle. They’re still going to have an adjuster come out, look at the vehicle, and handle the property aspect, and then if there are medical bills and a potential claim for personal injury, that could be dealt with later, separately, by the attorney.
Interviewer: Do most people feel pressured or compelled to talk to the opposing insurance and when they do it, they hurt themselves in the process?
Adam: They don’t necessarily hurt themselves. There would be the potential that something could come out of it. It’s not going to change the fact, for example, if there was damage to the other vehicle because that can still get taken care of just as quickly.