The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are 31 million emergency department visits as a result of unintentional injuries every year in the United States. These accidents can occur in a number of different ways, including slip and fall accidents; pedestrian accidents; car, motorcycle, or truck accidents; or accidents involving defective consumer products, but they all share one thing in common — when they are caused by the negligence of another person, victims are generally entitled to recovery for the losses they sustain.
In Ohio, “negligence” occurs when a person fails to use the degree of care that would ordinarily be used by a person in the same or similar circumstances.
When a person or party is deemed to have been negligent in a particular case, they are said to be “at fault.” While fault often is conceded by the party who caused the accident, in some cases, it is necessary for the person injured to gather and present evidence of fault in order to recover.
Below are some of the more common kinds of evidence that can be used to establish fault in an Ohio personal injury case. If you or a loved one have been injured, Plevin & Gallucci’s experienced personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Eyewitness accounts are often one of the most powerful forms of evidence in a personal injury case. Having a non-interested third party explain the way in which an accident occurred can provide a narrative of the event and establish the fact that the other party was not acting with the appropriate degree of care. Examples of cases in which an eyewitness account may be useful include slips and falls, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other accidents that occur in public.
These days, video cameras are virtually everywhere. Several communities throughout Ohio — including Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Englewood, Oakwood, and Toledo — have installed video surveillance cameras while many private businesses constantly record video both inside and outside of their premises in order to deter crime and ensure that they can prosecute shoplifters or burglars.
If you are hurt in an accident in a public place, there is a good chance that you may be able to recover video surveillance footage that can help establish fault. It is important to keep in mind, however, that surveillance footage is regularly erased, so it is imperative to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after your accident in order to avoid the destruction of evidence.
Vehicle Maintenance Records
In cases arising out of motor vehicle accidents, vehicle maintenance records may be used to establish negligence on the part of another driver. If a victim can establish that the driver of the other vehicle did not perform regular maintenance and the failure to do so caused or contributed to an accident, it may be sufficient to establish fault. Additionally, these kinds of records may also be used to show that maintenance was improperly performed, potentially establishing fault on the part of a mechanic or mechanic’s shop.
Cellphone records also may be used in motor vehicle accidents or other accidents where it may be necessary to show that another person may have been distracted. For instance, if you are involved in a car accident with another driver and his or her cellphone records establish that he or she sent or received a text moments before the accident occurred, it could be strong evidence that the other driver was engaged in distracted driving at the time of the wreck.
Ohio Revised Code 4511.204 makes it illegal to use a phone for any purpose in the car if you’re under 18. Adults have fewer restrictions but still can’t text and drive legally. If you do text and drive, you could receive a 60-day license suspension and a $150 fine for just a first offense.
Although the texting-while-driving ban went into effect a few years ago, drivers on Ohio roads are becoming even more distracted year after year as owning smartphones is more the norm. In 2015, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that 13,261 drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something within their vehicles, causing 6,916 injuries and 43 deaths. Texting, emailing, or other use of a phone accounted for 24% of all distracted drivers and 41% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes — an increase of 31% from 2014, the previous year.
Photographs of the scene of an accident or its immediate aftermath are often used to establish fault in personal injury cases. For example, in a slip and fall accident, a photograph of the hazardous condition that caused the accident may be all the evidence needed to show negligence on the part of the property owner.
Victims should keep in mind that photographic evidence of negligence is easier than ever to obtain, as most cellphones and smartphones now come equipped with integrated cameras. As pictures can be of significant help in establishing fault, it is highly advisable for anyone hurt in an accident to take pictures of the scene immediately after an accident has occurred.
Call an Experienced Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
Recovering compensation after an accident in Ohio is contingent upon being able to establish fault. In many cases, doing so requires the collection and analysis of a significant amount of evidence, making the assistance of an attorney extremely important.
To discuss your personal injury case with one of our experienced lawyers at Plevin & Gallucci, call our office today at 1-855-4-PLEVIN (1-855-475-3846) or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our results include verdicts and settlements of $3.2 million for an industrial punch-press accident, $100,000 for a low-speed motor vehicle accident, and more. We also provide expert co-counsel for other attorneys in Ohio.