What Types of Damages You Can Claim In An Ohio Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you’re looking to file a personal injury claim in Ohio, it’s best to understand not only the monetary damages you can claim, but the criteria you must meet to file the claim to begin with.
Should you ever be in the position where you want to file a personal injury claim, keep the following in mind:
When Filing a Personal Injury Claim Is Possible
An accident victim’s right to demand monetary damages from the person or company that is responsible for inflicting an injury is spelled out in section 2305.10 of the Ohio Revised Code. The law is titled “Bodily injury or injury to personal property,” and it begins by explaining that anyone with claims arising from a traffic accident, a slip or fall, or an intentional act like an assault must file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit within two years of the date on which the injury occurred.
Ohio personal injury law also states that when seeking compensation for damages, “’Harm’ means injury, death or loss to personal property.” In other words, the same rules that apply to personal injury cases also generally apply to wrongful death cases.
Medical malpractice claims must be filed within a year of the date on which the harm occurred or within a year of the date on which the harm was discovered. Since it can take years to clearly identify a missed diagnosis or surgical error as the cause of disability or death, starting the statute of limitations clock from the date of discovery can help a medical malpractice victim.
The statute of limitations for seeking personal injury damages from a company that made or sold a defective or dangerous product can extend to 10 years. Consulting with a knowledgeable Columbus personal injury attorney will help victims know when they need to take legal action.
Who Can File Personal Injury Claims in Ohio
Typically, accident victims take legal action on their own behalf. State and federal laws, as well as the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guarantees the injured person’s right to obtain advice and representation from a Columbus personal injury attorney.
When the accident victim is incapable of completing paperwork or speaking for themselves in court, applicable laws allow legal executors to act for them. For instance, parents can file claims on behalf of children younger than 18 years of age, and family members can file claims for disabled or deceased victims.
What Damages Can Be Claimed In An Ohio Personal Injury Case
People or businesses that cause personal injuries can be held liable for paying compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are further broken down into the categories of compensation for economic losses and noneconomic losses. Punitive damages are only available in certain cases.
Compensation for Economic Losses
These types of damages can be calculated directly. Items that fall into this category include
- Medical bills
- Expenses for therapy and ongoing health care or assistance with the activities of daily living
- Lost wages
- Loss of lifetime earning capacity
- Repair or replacement of property
Ohio does not impose statutory limits, or caps, on the amount of economic damages that can be claimed or awarded.
Compensation for Noneconomic Losses
These types of damages can only be estimated, but they represent real harms inflicted by negligence or recklessness. Some noneconomic losses can only be claimed in wrongful death classes, so consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help clarify what options exist.
As listed in various sections of Ohio state law, plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases can claim compensatory damages for
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of society in no longer being able to maintain relationships or friendships
- Loss of consortium in no longer being able to be intimate with a spouse or life partner
- Loss of companionship in no longer being able to rely on the injured or deceased person just to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present
- Loss of care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education such as a parent or caregiver would provide
Ohio caps noneconomic damage awards in most cases at the greater of $250,000 or three times the economic damages (typically up to $350,000).
In a personal injury case, punitive damages represent noncriminal penalties for recklessly or maliciously causing harm. Generally, only victims of drunk or drugged drivers and victims of defective products can claim punitive damages.
Receiving punitive damages requires going to court for a civil jury trial and proving that the defendant knew they could have prevented the harm but took no action to do so. Under current Ohio law, punitive damages are capped at twice the economic damages.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or died in a preventable accident caused by someone else, you may have grounds for seeking monetary damages. Personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman are available for no-cost, no-pressure consultations.