During 2015, Americans visited an emergency room 31 million times because of unintentional injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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 act as a “reasonable person” would have in the same or similar circumstances.
When a person’s negligence causes an injury, he or she is said to be “at fault.” Although fault is often conceded by the person who caused the injury, proving fault by gathering and presenting evidence becomes necessary to recovery if the defendant disputes it.
Below are some of the more common kinds of evidence that can be used to prove 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.
Article at a Glance
- Recovering in a personal injury lawsuit in Ohio generally requires proving that the defendant was at fault because he or she failed to act as a “reasonable person” would have, and that failure caused your injuries.
- Many different types of evidence can be used to prove fault, including eyewitness testimony, photographs and surveillance footage, and vehicle maintenance or cell phone records.
- Proving fault often requires collecting, reviewing, and presenting a significant amount of evidence, making the assistance of an experienced attorney critical to success.
Eyewitness accounts are often one of the most powerful tools for proving fault. Having a disinterested 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.
Eyewitness testimony is commonly used for proving fault in a car accident case, a slip-and-fall case, and other accidents that occur in public. If you’re involved in such an accident, you should get the contact information for any eyewitnesses, if possible.
These days, video cameras are virtually everywhere. Several communities throughout Ohio — including Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Englewood, Oakwood, and Toledo — have installed video surveillance cameras, and many private businesses constantly record video both inside and outside of their buildings to deter crime and ensure that they can prosecute shoplifters or burglars.
If you are hurt in an accident in a public place, 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 usually erased on a regular schedule, so it is imperative to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after your accident to avoid the loss of video evidence.
Vehicle Maintenance Records
When proving fault in a car accident case, 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.
Maintenance records can be especially helpful in proving fault in a truck accident case, because trucking companies are required by law to perform routine maintenance and keep a log of those efforts.
Cell Phone Records
Cell phone records also may be used in motor vehicle accidents or other accidents where it may be necessary to show that another person was distracted. For instance, if you are involved in a car accident with another driver and his or her cell phone 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. 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 smartphones become more widely adopted.
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 prove 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 cell phones 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.
Proving Fault in Ohio: Call an Experienced Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Recovering compensation for a personal injury in Ohio is contingent on proving 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.
See also: Personal Injury Medical Records: The Importance of Informing Your Doctor, Injury or Occupational Disease? What Ohio Workers Should Know, How Do Crash Test Dummies Keep Us Safe?