If you get hurt in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should be thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial compensation. Understanding the way financial compensation works in an accident lawsuit is not always so straightforward, however. I often work with injury victims who have sustained numerous kinds of losses, like costs associated with hospital bills and lost wages, but also losses that cannot be easily quantified like pain or suffering. When it comes to damages like pain and suffering, or the loss of enjoyment of life, how can Ohio law put a price tag on such losses?
I want to tell you more about the kinds of damages you may be able to expect in your accident claim based on Ohio law.
Compensatory Damages: Economic and Noneconomic Losses
The most common type of damages a plaintiff will seek in an accident claim is compensatory damages. As the name might suggest to you, compensatory damages are designed to compensate an injury victim for his or her losses. But even compensatory damages are broken down into two separate categories — economic losses and noneconomic losses. Both are types of damages that you can seek in your accident claim. How does Ohio law define each of them?
Under the Ohio Rev. Code § 2315.18, economic losses are defined as any kind of pecuniary harm, which can include any of the following as a result of the accident and injury:
- Lost wages;
- Lost salary;
- Other lost workplace compensation;
- Medical care and treatment costs;
- Rehabilitative services;
- Other care, treatment, services, products, or accommodations needed; and/or
- Any other expenditure (money a person actually spent or will spend) as a result of the injury aside from attorney’s fees.
Noneconomic losses, differently, are defined under the statute as “non-pecuniary harm that results from an injury or loss to person or property,” and noneconomic losses may include but are not limited to the following:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of society;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of care;
- Loss of assistance;
- Loss of attention;
- Loss of protection;
- Loss of advice;
- Loss of guidance or counsel;
- Loss of instruction, training, or education;
- Mental anguish; and
- Any other intangible loss.
Limits or Caps on Noneconomic Damages in Ohio
While there is no limit on the amount of economic damages a plaintiff can receive, Ohio law does cap noneconomic damages in almost all personal injury cases. In a medical malpractice case, Ohio law caps noneconomic damages at $250,000 or three times the amount of a plaintiff’s economic damages award—whichever is greater, but the total cannot exceed $350,000 for a single plaintiff. In some cases, such as those involving more than one plaintiff or catastrophic injury, the damages cap may be increased.
While medical malpractice caps are relatively common, Ohio law also imposes a cap on many awards of noneconomic damages in accident lawsuits. Those caps are the same as the ones I have listed above. However, if we can show that you sustained catastrophic injuries or permanent injury, it may be possible to lift the cap.
Contact Me to File an Accident Claim
Depending on the facts of your case, you also may be eligible to seek punitive damages. I can tell you more about the types of damages you may be eligible to receive and can discuss strategies for getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact me at 877.944.4373. I’ll Make Them Pay!®