Injuries to Passengers Sustained in Single-Car Accidents May be Compensable in Columbus

On April 13, 2015, a vehicle struck a tree on Moss Hollow Road in Chillicothe, Ohio. The car was driven by Cedrick Lansing, who was injured in the accident, as well as his three passengers, Gary K. Ison, Dakota L. Ratliff, and Devon Ratliff. Gary Ison and Devon Ratliff were flown to hospitals in Columbus for their injuries, while Cedrick Lansing and Dakota Ratliff were taken by ambulance to Adena Medical Center.

The Chillicothe Gazette is reporting that the accident remains under investigation by the patrol. The passengers’ injuries may be compensable in Ohio (see legal commentary below).

Source: Chillicothe Gazette

See more at: http://www.chillicothegazette.com/story/news/local/2015/04/14/four-injured-car-accident-moss-hollow-road/25740179/

Legal Analysis on Passengers’ Injuries in Single-Car Accidents in Ohio

You may be wondering if you can recover for injuries sustained in a single-car accident as a passenger. The law is pretty clear that under most circumstances, the driver can be held liable for injuries caused to his passengers by his negligence. The greater question, though, is whether an insurance company will compensate you for your injuries. Ultimately, it will come down to the actual policy language so there is not a good, universally applicable answer.

Typically, the driver’s insurance company will apply and will cover the injured passengers. There are only a few exceptions to this. For instance, many policies have an exclusion for the driver’s household members. Another common defense is assumption of risk, which can apply in instances where the passenger knows that the driver is intoxicated, yet voluntarily gets in the car anyway.

Sometimes the driver will have inadequate coverage or be uninsured entirely. If so, passenger’s may be able to recover from their own auto insurance companies if they have uninsured motorist coverage on their own auto insurance policies. Depending on the specific policy language, such policies can apply even if the passengers’ own vehicles are not involved in the accident in any way. For example, in Willet v. Geico General Insurance Co., 2006-Ohio-3957, Steven Willet was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Jonathon Buckler. Mr. Buckler crashed the vehicle in a single-car accident and it was determined that, at the time of the accident, Mr. Buckler had no auto insurance in effect. Steven Willet did not survive the accident and his father brought suit against his own insurance company to recover for damages. The Court found that Geico’s uninsured motorist policy language was broad enough that Mr. Willet could recover under the policy.

Legal Commentary on the Above Accident

It is likely from the currently available facts that the accident was caused by Mr. Lansing’s negligence. Therefore, it is likely that all three passengers will be able to recover from Mr. Lansing’s auto insurance policy. In addition, if any of the three passengers had their own auto insurance policy with an underinsured motorist policy, he or she may be able to additionally recover from their own insurance company as well.

About the Author

Alex Freitag is an Ohio personal injury lawyer. He offers a free consultation. To get his help call (614) 438-2672. Find out what it feels like to get help from a lawyer that cares.

Alex Freitag
Anthony Castelli Attorney
100 E. Campus View Boulevard, Suite #250
Columbus, Ohio, 43235
(614) 438-2672
http://columbuscaraccident.attorneys.us/

Accidents Resulting from Stop Sign Traffic Violations May be Compensable in Columbus

On March 27, 2015, an accident occurred at the corner of Ohio 231 and Township Road 43 in Wyandot County when a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Ernest J. Tynor collided with a Chevrolet Camero driven by Tyler S. Friel. Mr. Tynor had two passengers in his vehicle as well: James E. Jones and Patricia A. Teynor. Both drivers and passengers were initially taken by Sycamore EMS to Wyandot Memorial Hospital in Upper Sandusky. James E. Jones was subsequently taken to The Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus where died from his injuries the following Monday.

The Telegraph-Forum reported that Mr. Friel was driving eastbound on Township Road 43 and apparently failed to observe the stop sign at Ohio 231. He pulled out into the path of Mr. Teynor’s vehicle, which was driving northbound on Ohio 231. The passenger’s death may be compensable (see legal commentary below).

Source: Telegraph-Forum

See more at: http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com/story/news/local/2015/04/02/galion-man-dies-crash/70825048/

Legal Analysis on Stop Sign Violations in Ohio

You may be wondering if you can recover for injuries sustained in an accident in which a driver ran a stop sign or came out into traffic. The law is pretty clear. Under the legal doctrine of Negligence per se, a Court will, under many circumstances, consider an action negligent if the violation of a traffic statute caused the injuries. In this instance, the driver’s failure to stop at a stop sign may have been a violation of Ohio Revised Code 4511.43. There are two common reasons that an insurance company may try to deny your stop sign violation claim in Ohio.

The first reason is a legal excuse. In Smiddy ADMR v. The Wedding Party, Inc. et al., 30 Ohio St. 3d 35 (citing Bush v. Harvey Transfer Co., 146 Ohio St. 657), the Supreme Court of Ohio has stated that a legal excuse “must be something which makes it impossible to comply with the safety legislative enactment, something over which the driver has no control, an emergency not of the driver’s making causing failure to obey the statute, or an excuse or exception specifically provided in the enactment itself.”

A second common defense to Negligence per se that may apply to the driver is contributory negligence. This occurs when they believe that the injured person contributed to the cause of his or her injuries. An example from the above accident might be if the other driver were speeding. This defense may or may not interfere with your right of recovery depending on the specific facts around your injury.

Legal Commentary on the Above Accident

There is not enough information in the article to definitively know whether Mr. Friel is responsible for the accident, but it appears likely from the information given that he was negligent per se. It is likely that Ernest Tynor, James Jones, and Patricia Teynor would all be able to recover for their injuries, and Mr. Jones’ estate would additionally be entitled to compensation based on a claim for wrongful death.

About the Author

Alex Freitag is an Ohio personal injury lawyer. He offers a free consultation. To get his help call (614) 438-2672 or 1-800-447-6548. Find out what it feels like to get help from a lawyer that cares.

Alex Freitag
Anthony Castelli Attorney
100 E. Campus View Boulevard, Suite #250
Columbus, Ohio, 43235
(614) 438-2672
http://columbuscaraccident.attorneys.us/

 

Distracted Driving in Ohio

Ohio is behind most of the country when it comes to laws aimed at protecting citizens from the dangers of distracted driving. Until August, 2012, we did not have restrictions on cell phone use and texting while driving. Even now, the law only applies to texting and in most cases you cannot actually be pulled over for texting while driving, but can receive a ticket for it if you are pulled over for something else. However, if you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, Columbus car accident attorney Anthony Castelli can help you collect the compensation you need and deserve.

Distracted Driving Dangers

Studies have shown that drivers who are on the phone are just as impaired as drunk drivers. That includes hands-free phone use. Unfortunately, we are a long way away from the day when distracted driving carries the same social stigma or criminal consequences of drunk driving.

Common Distractions

Cell phone use and texting are far from the only distractions which cause accidents. Other common distractions include:

  • Personal grooming
  • Eating and drinking
  • Reaching for items on the floorboard or in the back seat
  • Adjusting the stereo
  • Attending to children
  • Using GPS
  • Rubbernecking

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident in Ohio because of a distracted driver, please call Columbus car accident attorney Anthony Castelli at 1-800-447-6549 or submit an online questionnaire. Mr. Castelli has experience representing victims of distracted drivers throughout Ohio and he will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.