Ohio follows a "fault" system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses stemming from a car accident. This means that the person who was at fault for causing the car accident is responsible for compensating anyone who suffered harm as a result of the crash (although from a practical standpoint it's typically the at-fault driver's insurance carrier that will cover these losses, up to policy limits).
When you've suffered any kind of injury or vehicle damage after a car accident in Ohio, you could have a few options for getting compensation for your losses, including:
Note: In no-fault car insurance states, claimants don't have this same range of options. Ohio drivers don't need to worry about no-fault when it comes to in-state accidents. But Ohio is bordered by three no-fault states (Kentucky, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) so if you end up getting into a car accident across the state line, you may be playing by a different set of rules.
Ohio requires drivers to show financial responsibility for any potential car accident, by:
If you choose to buy liability car insurance, as most Ohio drivers do, the minimum requirements for coverage are:
These are just the minimum amounts required under Ohio law. It's usually a prudent move to carry more protection in Ohio, since the minimum coverage requirements can easily be exhausted, especially after a serious accident resulting in significant car accident injuries and vehicle damage. If you are deemed liable for an accident and other people's damages exceed the limits of your insurance policy, you'll probably be on the financial hook to pay the difference from your own assets.
Your liability coverage will kick in if any family member is driving your vehicle, or if you've given someone else permission to use it. It will likely also cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.
Finally, remember that the liability coverage we discussed here doesn't apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage after a car accident. You'll need different (additional) coverage for that if you're involved in a car accident and no one else's coverage applies to your losses. For example, personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage can be used to pay your car accident medical bills, and collision coverage can pay for repairs to (or replacement of) your damaged vehicle after a car accident.
According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, drivers in the state can choose one of the following alternatives to buying auto insurance, when it comes to complying with the financial responsibility rules:
Yes. You can carry your company-issued insurance card in your vehicle, in case you are asked to present it to an Ohio law enforcement officer during a traffic stop, or you can pull up a digital version of the card (or similar official digital documentation of your policy) on your phone or other device.
In Ohio, if you're caught driving without a liability insurance policy and without other accepted proof of financial responsibility, you can expect to face any of the following penalties, among others:
If you've been involved in a car accident in Ohio, you might be looking for more than just basic information on the car insurance rules in the state. Especially if you've been seriously injured in a crash, it might make sense to discussion your situation, and your options, with an experienced legal professional.
Get more details on when you might need a car accident lawyer, and what to expect from your first meeting with a car accident attorney. If you're ready to connect with an Ohio car accident attorney now, you can use the features right on this page to find one in your area.