Ask Attorney James J. Gutbrod in Akron, Ohio

Have you been in an auto accident and have questions to which you want the answers? Attorney James J. Gutbrod has put together a list of frequently asked questions that he commonly discusses with clients who have been involved in an auto accident. Please call today for your free consultation to speak with Attorney James J. Gutbrod in Akron, Ohio about your specific circumstances.

Is it illegal to text and drive in Ohio?

Texting while driving laws in Ohio restrict drivers from using handheld devices (phone, laptop, iPad, etc.) to text while their vehicles are in motion or in the flow of traffic, such as when stopped at a red light. Drivers can be fined and penalized for this activity even if it does not cause another traffic violation. To learn more read more here

Is it illegal to talk on your phone while driving in Ohio?

As of this date (10/2019) it is not illegal to talk on your phone or handheld device while driving in Ohio. To learn of other non-illegal actions permitted with a handheld device, such as using navigation, calling 911, and more, read more here

What is distracted driving?

"Distracted driving in Ohio is defined as any activity drivers do that may divert their attention from driving. Thus, all driving distraction increases drivers' odds of getting involved in a car crash." "...passengers, food and music were among the biggest distractors reported by drivers, making up more than half of all distracted drivers and 49% of all fatal crashes resulting from distractions in 2017."

What is the first thing that I should do if I am in an auto accident?

If you are in an auto accident the very first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention if this is needed or in question. Even in a minor accident with little injury to the vehicles people may sustain various types of injuries.

If I was in an auto accident, but feel okay do I need to see a doctor?

Many people do not initially feel pain or discomfort at the scene of an accident but that night or in the following day or days to come can develop significant pain, often in the neck or back. It is also possible to sustain a concussion in the crash and not have immediate symptoms. Pay close attention to how you are feeling and it is always best to be on the safe side and see your doctor.

If I do not need medical attention what are the next things I should do if I am in an auto accident?

•Call the police
•Obtain whatever evidence and information you can such as names and contact information of witnesses, photos of the vehicles, police report, etc.
•Contact an attorney
•If you experience any pain or discomfort in the next few days contact your primary care physician who may well have you go to the hospital for testing.

If there's not much damage to either car do I need to call the police?

In general that is the best policy and what I would recommend.

Is it ever ok to just exchange insurance information in a small car accident and not call the police?

You take a big risk when you do this. Sometimes the "nicest" people can later deny there was an accident and refuse to take any responsibility. I recently had a case like this and when I contacted the at-fault party's insurance they literally said the accident "never happened." Luckily we had enough evidence and alternate proofs to eventually settle this claim, but it made it more difficult.

Why should I contact an attorney if I am in an auto accident?

There are a number of reasons why you are better off having an attorney involved if you or your passenger are hurt in a car crash. An experienced car accident attorney can help guide you through the oftentimes complicated legal maze and will guide you in handling medical bills. Lastly, statistics show higher settlements when an attorney is advocating for the injured party.

Will I get more money if I do not contact an attorney and deal directly with the insurance company myself?

Insurance companies would prefer that you not have an attorney because the statistics show that they pay less money if an attorney is not involved. For example, an insurance company may offer you $4,000 to settle your claim and you might think that is sufficient to cover your medical bills and you wouldn't need to pay an attorney fee. However, statistics show that you will do better if you involve an attorney who has expertise in car accidents and personal injury litigation. Almost always I have been able to negotiate a higher settlement amount, and many times I have been able to negotiate with health care providers to take less money for a given treatment bill, again, putting more money back into the client's portion of the settlement.

Should I accept my insurance company's settlement offer?

Insurance companies are trying to settle the car accident claim for the least amount of money possible. An experienced car accident attorney deals with these types of claims routinely and not only can recognize the best value of your case, but will advocate on your behalf for the best possible settlement.

If I was injured in an auto accident who pays my medical bills?

Navigating the onslaught of medical bills following an injury in a car accident can be overwhelming as well as intimidating. An experienced auto accident attorney can guide you as to how to handle these bills and which ones to pay. At times I will contact the medical provider's billing department to avoid having them send particular bills to collections which could hurt my client's credit rating. Sometimes your car accident attorney will also negotiate a lower bill with the medical provider as well. So for all of these reasons it is best to involve an attorney from the get go.

If I was injured in an auto accident do I have to go to trial for my case?

Many people say, "I'm not the suing type; I don't want to go to trial!" However, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of personal injury cases resulting from all types of motor vehicle accidents result in a settlement, usually without needing to file a lawsuit or take the case to trial. Those auto accident injury cases where it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit are almost always settled out of court and do not go to trial.