When you file an accident claim or another type of personal injury lawsuit in Ohio, it is important to know more about the types of damages you can be eligible to receive. Most people know that they need to seek financial compensation for losses tied to their physical injuries, such as the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
At the same time, it is important to know about your options for seeking compensation for losses that are difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering. Yet today I want to tell you more about punitive damages, and to explain how a plaintiff ultimately may be able to get punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
First, I want to explain how damages work. Most injured plaintiffs will seek a type of damages known as compensatory damages. This type of damages award can include economic damages and noneconomic damages. For both types, the damages award is designed to compensate you for losses (hence the name compensatory damages).
Economic damages have no cap—you can be eligible to receive the full amount of your losses. Under Ohio law, damages for noneconomic losses are capped at $250,000, or three times the total amount of your economic damages award, unless you have suffered catastrophic injuries. What are punitive damages, then?
Learning More About Punitive Damages
Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) can be paid to a plaintiff, but they are not designed to compensate a plaintiff for losses. Instead, under Ohio’s punitive damages law, punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer for particularly harmful actions (or inaction).
To get punitive damages, a plaintiff needs to make a claim for them. To be eligible, a court must first determine that the plaintiff is eligible for compensatory damages. If so, the court can move onto the question of punitive damages.
A court will only award punitive damages when “the actions or omissions of the defendant demonstrate malice or aggravated or egregious fraud,” or in situations where the defendant knowingly engaged in extremely harmful behavior.
To be clear, a simple negligence case will not result in punitive damages. However, if a defendant engaged in intentional road rage behavior, for example, such as intentionally ramming a car and causing fatal injuries to a child inside the vehicle, punitive damages may be possible.
Call My Office for Help with Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, I know how important it can be to hold that at-fault party liable. At the same time, I also know that it can be difficult to think about filing a lawsuit when you are trying to recover physically and emotionally from your injuries. I have been representing injury victims in Ohio for years, and I will do everything I can to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Even if it is difficult to think about going through the claims process now, it will be worth it when you receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. In some situations, depending upon the specific facts of the case, you could be eligible to receive punitive damages. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me at 877.944.4373 to learn more about how I can help.