We cannot give a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much any car crash victim can expect to receive in an insurance settlement. Too many factors that are unique to each case determine how much we can request for our Columbus, Ohio, personal injury client. And cases involving neck and back injuries are particularly complicated.
Securing a settlement for a car accident that inflicts back and neck injury in Ohio requires convincing the at-fault driver’s insurance company that
If we can collect, organize, and present convincing evidence for all that, we must then determine what constitute a fair and just settlement. Car accident victims in Ohio have the right to ask for economic damages, noneconomic damages and, in certain cases, punitive damages.
Economic damages include crash-related expenses for emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgeries, physical and occupational therapy, lost wages, and loss of future earnings capacity. Put simply, economic damages are the amounts that can be calculated by doing things like adding up bills and multiplying days of unpaid leave by the amount an accident victim would have earned for working on those days.
Noneconomic damages for car crashes are typically called “pain and suffering.” Putting an exact number on physical pain and emotional suffering is never easy, especially when the pain from, say, a herniated spinal disc can last a lifetime and make enjoying any aspect of life difficult.
Punitive damages are a final type of damages that can be claimed when the at-fault driver was drunk or high on drugs. A civil jury awards these in order to penalize the drunk or drugged driver for recklessly endangering the injured victim’s life and well-being.
The amounts of economic and noneconomic damages we seek for a particular car accident client depend on the following factors:
We will ask for higher amounts of noneconomic damages when our client’s neck and back injuries leave the person unable to enjoy activities they did before getting hit and hurt. For instance, an avid bowler who can no longer hit the lanes following the car accident deserves significant noneconomic damages. So does a crash victim who can no longer bend down to hug their child without experiencing significant discomfort.
Ohio law caps awards for noneconomic damages at the greater of $250,000 or three times the economic damage award. Fortunately, no cap applies to economic damages. When punitive damages are available, they are capped at double the total of economic and noneconomic damages.
As a final note, we feel we must acknowledge that some insurance settlements will be limited by the amount of coverage an at-fault driver carries. If, for instance, the person who cause the wreck has the minimum liability coverage for bodily injuries of $25,000, we will need to either accept that for our client or look for additional coverage. We can often tap underinsured motorist provisions of our own client’s insurance policy. In cases involving tractor-trailers or other commercial trucks, we can also explore the possibility of filing claims against more than one policy covering the at-fault driver and vehicle.
As personal injury attorneys based in Columbus and available to take cases all across Ohio, the legal team at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman welcome opportunities to secure back and neck injury settlements for car accident victims. We offer free consultations to potential clients, so reach out to us online or call us at (614) 678-3318 to schedule an appointment.