Types of Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits in Ohio
Under Ohio law, personal injury victims can claim compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or organization that caused the injury. Common types of personal injury cases include:
- Car accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slips and falls
- Premises liability
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Defective products
- Electric shock
Types of Damages
Personal injury victims may suffer from severe and life-threatening injuries including brain damage, amputated limbs, and spinal cord injuries. Their claim for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit may include the following:
- Medical Expenses– These may include compensation for hospital bills, medicine costs, doctor visits, treatment cost, rehabilitation cost, and future treatment cost.
- Lost Wages- If the injury keeps the victim out of work, he or she may be entitled to claim compensation for lost wages.
- Property Damages- These include damages to the victim’s property including cars, books, cell phones, and laptops.
- Pain and Suffering Damages- These may include compensation for emotional suffering and prolonged pain from the injuries suffered.
- Loss of Consortium- The nature of the injuries may affect the victim’s ability to be intimate with his or her spouse. The victim may be able to claim compensation for the same.
- Disfigurement- The victim may be able to claim damages for any disfigurements suffered due to the accident.
- Punitive Damages- These act as a deterrent for society and are awarded in cases of gross negligence. They are intended for punishment rather than compensation.
It is important to note that a victim may not be able to claim damages for an injury that existed prior to the accident. The victim must prove that the other person’s negligence caused the injuries or aggravated his or her existing injuries.
Limits on Damages in Ohio
There is a statutory limit on damages awarded in some personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Victims may be able to recover their actual losses when it comes to economic damages including medical expenses. However, for non-economic damages including pain and suffering or mental anguish in cases of non-catastrophic personal injury, Ohio law limits the amount recoverable at $250,000, or three-times of the economic damages, whichever is higher. Further, the amount for three-times of the economic damages cannot exceed $350,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. In cases of catastrophic personal injury, the victim may be able to recover non-economic damages up to $500,000 per person and $1 million per accident. Punitive damages, if awarded, arelimited to twice the value of compensatory damages.
Insurance Policy Limits
Personal injury cases often involve claims against insurance policies or insurance companies. Insurance policies may also have some limits on the amount they pay out per person or per accident. Hence, the victim may only be able to recover a certain maximum amount from an insurance policy.
Determination of Liability
In personal injury lawsuits, the victim must establish negligence on part of the defendant. For proving the defendant’s negligence, the victim must prove that the victim was owed a duty of care; that there was a breach of this duty by the defendant; that the said breach caused the accident; and that the accident caused injuries to the victim.
Further, it is important to note that Ohio follows a ‘modified comparative negligence’ system in personal injury claims. This means that the courts ascertain damages based on the percentage of negligence attributed to each party. If the victim himself is, in some way, responsible for the accident, the compensation awarded to him or her may be reduced. If a party’s fault is found to be more than 50%, they may not be awarded any compensation at all.
Liability in Dog Bite/Attack Cases
In cases of dog bites, some states follow the ‘one bite’ rule which means that dog owners are not liable for the first time their dog injures someone if they did not have any reason to believe that the dog was dangerous. However, under Ohio law, dog owners are strictly liable for a personal injury caused by his or her dog regardless of the dog’s previous conduct.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims runs for two years. This means that a personal injury claim can only be brought to court within two years from the date of the accident. However, there may be certain exceptions to this law.