What Can I Be Awarded for a Personal Injury?
Let’s tackle this one FAQ-style.
What counts as a personal injury that merits an insurance settlement or court award?
Legally, any physical harm you suffer due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else or an organization can be considered a personal injury. The Cleveland personal injury lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman provide much more detailed answers here and here.
What can I ask for in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit?
Personal injury victims can seek
- Compensatory damages
- Nonmonetary damages
- Punitive damages
Keep scrolling to learn more about each type of compensation and damage award.
Who pays those settlements and awards for personal injuries?
Insurance companies generally cut the actual checks to injured people and the families of deceased victims. Individuals and corporations can be made to pay out of their own pockets. Either type of claim or lawsuit can be complicated, so seeking advice and representation from a personal injury attorney is generally a good idea.
What do compensatory damages cover?
Compensatory damages represent monetary costs incurred by suffering a personal injury. The most significant of these are
- Medical expenses that include emergency room treatment, hospital care, doctor visits, and medications
- Disability costs such as physical and mental therapy, loss of a limb, in-home care, and medical equipment
- Wages lost from both missing work while recovering and not being able to earn as much after the injury
- Property repair and replacement, especially car repairs following a traffic accident
While wrongful deaths differ slightly from personal injuries, it is worth noting that all funeral expenses can be compensable (i.e., payable by the person or organization that caused the death). Recoverable funeral expenses can include burial costs and travel for relatives.
Can I get compensated for the full amount of all injury-related expenses?
Yes. Ohio law places no caps on compensatory damages for personal injuries and wrongful deaths. Working with a personal injury attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, to calculate the current total amount and lifelong financial burden of medical expenses, disabilities, lost wages, and property repairs is essential to ensuring you do not get lowballed with an insurance settlement or court award.
Do injury victims always receive all the compensatory damages they claim?
No. First, receiving any compensation at all depends on having an insurance company validate your claim or on convincing a judge or jury that someone else’s actions harmed you. Substantiating an insurance claim or lawsuit with strong evidence is a must, and something an experienced and dedicated Cleveland personal injury lawyer can help you do.
Second, you may not get all your injury-related expenses covered if you are found to be partly at fault for hurting yourself. Ohio courts observe a legal standard called comparative negligence. Some people refer to this as contributory negligence. Whichever term is used, applying the rule reduces a personal injury settlement or award because the victim was acting somewhat negligently.
An example of comparative negligence would be not wearing reflective clothing while walking your dog at night and getting hit by a car. The driver might be found 90 percent responsible, and you 10 percent. Those findings would reduce total compensation of $100,000 to $90,000.
What are non-monetary damages?
The major kinds of non-monetary damages can be recovered following a personal injury are:
- Pain and suffering, which encompasses physical discomfort, emotional distress, and mental disturbances
- Loss of consortium (i.e., family relations, including sex with a spouse)
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of society
- Loss of care
- Loss of assistance
- Loss of attention
- Loss of protection
- Loss of advice
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of counsel
- Loss of instruction
- Loss of training
- Loss of education
The distinction here is that no exact dollar value can be affixed to a problem like no longer being able to fully enjoy life and care for friends and family following a personal injury.
Is there a limit in Ohio on non-monetary damages?
Unfortunately, yes. State law caps payments for non monetary damages at $250,000 for almost all kinds of personal injuries. That cap can rise to $350,000 in extreme cases.
What do punitive damages represent?
Just like the name implies, punitive damages represent a financial punishment for causing a personal injury while acting with reckless disregard for others’ health and safety. For instance, injuries caused by drunk drivers can bring punitive damages because an intoxicated person who drives shows little respect for other people.
Importantly, punitive damages get assessed separately from any criminal fines and restitution.
Does Ohio Law put a cap on punitive damages?
Again, sadly, yes. The most a personal injury victim can collect in punitive damages is double the amount of compensatory damages.
What if I have more questions about my possible personal injury case?
Click here or call (800) 678-3318 to request a free consultation with an Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman personal injury attorney. We have offices across Ohio.