The laws of Ohio allow a personal injury victim to seek multiple forms of compensation from the person or organization that injured them. The rules for seeking monetary damages apply to all types of personal injury cases, such as
- Car and truck accidents
- Motorcycle and scooter accidents
- Pedestrian and bike crashes
- Bus and train wrecks
- Slips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Electric shocks
- Dangerous and defective products
- Assaults, which are also called intentional torts
People who have grounds for filing personal injury lawsuits can seek compensatory damages for economic losses and noneconomic damages. Depending on the circumstances, a victim may also be able to seek punitive damages.
Usually, a person hurt on the job can only recover for their injuries through the Ohio workers’ compensation system. However, if the injuries were caused by a third-party, the injured party may also have a negligence claim against that third-party. Consulting with an attorney who has experience handling workers’ comp claims and personal injury lawsuit will clarify whether pursing both legal options makes sense.
Explaining Compensatory Damages
Economic damages, which are also called compensatory damages, reflect the direct cost of recovering from an injury inflicted by another party’s negligence or recklessness. Items that Ohio law treats as economic damages include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Past and future medical bills for emergency care, surgeries, prescription medications, and therapy;
- Loss of wages and future earning from time missed at work and a persistent disability;
- Out-of-pocket expenses for goods and services related to recovering from the injury; and
- Travel and relocation expenses related to seeking health care or making changes to where and how one lives.
Ohio does not impose a cap on economic damage settlements or jury awards.
Noneconomic damages, which are also called general damages for a personal injury, reflect the toll that an injury takes in terms of:
- Physical pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish and emotional distress, and
- Loss of companionship
Except in cases involving catastrophic injuries, Ohio law imposes a cap on noneconomic damages to an individual that is the greater of $250,000 or three times the total of the economic damages. By statute—section 2315.18 of the Ohio Revised Code, specifically—a catastrophic injury is one that leaves the victim suffering a “permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system” or which “permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.”
Explaining Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are noncriminal monetary penalties assessed against the person or organization that inflicted an injury. They are also called exemplary damages because they are meant to serve as an example of the price to be paid for acting without regard to others’ health, safety, and well-being.
Although punitive damages are not awarded in every case, when they are they are subject to caps as well. In Ohio, punitive damages are capped at twice the value of compensatory damages. If the defendant is an individual or a small employer, however, that cap is limited to 10% of their net worth, up to a maximum of $350,000.
What About Attorneys’ Fees?
Generally, a personal injury lawyer will take a percentage of the final settlement or court award as payment for services. If no recovery is made, there is no attorney fee. Attorneys with Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP, advise and represent plaintiffs in all types of personal injury cases throughout Ohio. We offer free consultations to potential clients, and we work hard to maximize recoveries of specific and general damages for personal injury victims. Call us at (614) 221-4221 or schedule an appointment online to learn what we can do for you.