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Liability and Negligence Law in Ohio

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How much do you really know about liability and negligence law in Ohio? In order for someone to be charged with negligence, you must prove the person(s) acted negligently and found to be liable for their actions. Once a judge or jury (depending on the charge), finds the defendant liable and negligent, you are eligible for monetary compensation. There actual process is very involved and you’ll need a lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process.

Foreseeable Harm, Common Law, and Comparative Negligence

In order for a person to be found guilty of common law negligence, the plaintiff needs to prove their case and show that the defendant acted in a manner that led to foreseeable harm. Negligence means that the defendant acted in a manner that led to the bodily or mental harm of another person. For example, two people were racing their cars in a residential area. One driver hit a pedestrian as they walked down the street. This was act of negligent the drivers failed to obey the posted speed limit, drove recklessly and hurt someone.

Foreseeable harm means the drivers knew what they were doing could potentially hurt someone. If the plaintiff is able to prove their injuries were due to this negligent behavior, the defendants would be found guilty of negligence. The plaintiff could then be awarded monetary damages. Comparative negligence is another factor that must be considered. In the example above, there were two negligent drivers and one injured party. If the plaintiff played a role in the accident – for example, they were walking in the road rather than on the sidewalk – their award may be reduced since they may be deemed somewhat responsible for their injuries.

Defenses Against Negligence Claims

One of the primary defenses used when charged with negligence is called ‘assumption of risk, and there are three types.  Additionally, there is a sudden emergency defense, and what is referred to as last clear chance doctrine. The three types of assumptions of risk are; express, primary, and secondary.  Each risk type refers to the degree the plaintiff played in the incident. If they played an express role, they are just as at fault as the defendant. Both can agree to drop the lawsuit because they are equally to blame. Under primary risk, the plaintiff knowingly put themselves in danger, so the defendant isn’t completely at fault. Finally, with secondary risk, the plaintiff might have done something that compromised their own safety. Again, the defendant isn’t the only one to blame. However, all of these charges must be proven.

The next defense, sudden emergency, comes into play when someone is not responsible for their actions due to a medical or other emergency situation. For example, when someone loses control of their car because they pass out behind the wheel, they are not liable. Other emergency situations fall into this as well. Finally, there’s the last chance doctrine. This requires the plaintiff to prove that no matter what they did, the defendant is still to blame for the results.

If you’ve been injured due to negligence, contact me today and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

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