It’s been about 10 years since Ohio legislators responded to our country’s campaign for tort reform. The term tort reform refers to a nationwide change in the way the law handles personal injury cases by placing limits, also known as caps, on the kind or amount of damages someone can receive.
Critics of tort reform argue tort reform takes away the victim’s right to compensation, and violates constitutional rights, while proponents think it is necessary to prevent frivolous lawsuits, unwarranted jury verdicts, and increased health care costs.
Ohio law places caps on non-economic damages and punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits.
In personal injury cases, plaintiffs must prove they were injured as a result of someone’s negligence, and that he or she was damaged because of the resulting injury. Some damages are economic in nature and are easy to value – medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc.
However, other damages are not based on economic loss, but are instead based on things like pain and suffering and emotional distress. It isn’t as easy to place a value on those damages, so we have to rely on the subjective opinion of a jury. That is why legislators felt compelled to place a limit on how much someone can receive for non-economic damages.
The damage caps in Ohio are broken down into the following:
- Plaintiff’s damage award is limited to $250,000 or three times the economic damages (whichever is greater). However, it cannot exceed $350,000/plaintiff and $500,000/occurrence.
- For catastrophic injuries, the absolute limit increases to $500,000/plaintiff and $1,000,000/occurrence.
- Punitive damages are limited to two times regular or compensatory damages. (or 10% of the defendant’s net worth if the defendant is an individual or small employer, not to exceed $350,000.)
With these damage caps in place, it can sometimes be difficult to get the compensation you deserve. It is important to call an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you navigate these laws. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you have to call me right away at 1 (800) 556-4769.
Author: Tim Misny | For 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.