Ohio Personal Injury Overview
Personal injury is a very broad area of law that not only covers accidents and injuries such as auto accidents, pharmaceutical injuries, and slip and fall, but also includes property damage, identity theft, and much more.
Even though the basic principles or personal injury are the same across the country, each state has unique laws and rules that can make or break your case. Ohio is no exception.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is one of the most important aspects of your case, especially in the beginning, when you are still deciding what to do about your injuries. It is the deadline for filing your lawsuit, and the reason why you must act quickly. If you miss this deadline, you give up your right to compensation, forever.
Ohio has a statute of limitations of two years for most types of personal injury. In some types of cases, such as medical malpractice, you have less time. Special circumstance, such as injuries to minors can affect how the time is calculated. To make matters even more complicated, special rules apply if the defendant is a government entity.
An experienced Ohio personal injury attorney can help you determine how long you have to take action on your case.
Damages and caps
The money that may be awarded to you is referred to as damages. Compensatory damages are compensation for your losses. Compensatory damages include economic damages which compensate you for expenses and financial loss, and non-economic damages to compensate for losses such as pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Ohio places caps on non-economic damages. In most cases non-economic damages are limited to $250,000 or three times the economic damages, whichever is greater. In medical malpractice cases the limit is raised to $350,000. If your injuries were catastrophic, such as brain or spinal cord injury, the limits may not apply to you.
Punitive damages are not compensatory. They are designed to punish the party who caused your injury and require that you prove malicious, gross, or egregious conduct on the part of the defendant. The cap on punitive damages in most cases, in Ohio, is twice the compensatory damages. However, if a small business caused your injury the limit is $350,000 or 10% of the business’s net worth, whichever is lower.
If you were partly to blame
Ohio follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This allows you to be eligible for compensation, even your own negligence contributed to your injuries. You must be less than 50% at fault, and your compensation will be reduced by a percentage equal to your share of the responsibility.
When more than one defendant is involved, several liability dictates how you can collect the money awarded to you. Each party is responsible for their share and only their share. If one party fails to pay, you cannot force the other party or parties to cover their share.
If you have been injured or lost a loved on in Ohio, please contact one of our Ohio personal injury lawyers for a free claim evaluation.