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Does fault matter in Ohio?

After a car accident, it's easy to point fingers: He ran the stop sign; she was texting while driving. But, does fault even matter?

In Ohio, the answer is yes. However, the law takes a realistic view.

What is comparative negligence?

Accidents in Ohio are governed by the principle of comparative negligence. This approach does two things: portions out the blame and divides the costs.

Splitting the blame

The truth of the matter is, fault is not often black and white. In any given accident, there may be numerous factors at play: She was on her phone and he didn't come to a full stop at the stop sign.

After an accident, insurance companies will want to determine how much each party's actions, or negligence, contributed to the accident. If there is anything you could have done to avoid, or mitigate, the accident, you can be found partially at fault.

This can be a contentious process - especially in more serious accidents where damages are high. Determining how much each party is at fault has a direct impact on how much insurance companies pay out, and insurance companies will often fight - hard - to protect their pocketbooks.

Dividing the cost

Once fault has been assigned, any compensation you are to receive for injuries and property damage sustained in the accident are adjusted accordingly.
For example:

  • It's determined your damages are $100,000
  • You were found 30 percent at fault
  • The result: your damages are reduced to $70,000

So, does fault matter in Ohio? Absolutely. The manner in which fault is apportioned will have a direct impact on how much compensation you receive.

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