Ohio law attempts to award a prevailing plaintiff the amount of money damages that will make him or her "whole" after suffering injuries. However, even when parties agree on liability, the value of a personal injury claim is often subject to much disagreement. The defendant tries to minimize the claim payout, even if it grossly undercompensates the victim for his or her losses.
Further, insurance companies typically use a premade formula to determine the value of your claim, but this practice is overly simple and fails to account for the unique losses you've suffered. Personal injury damage valuation is an art, and it often requires the right blend of creativity and knowledge of Ohio law. However, we thought that a basic overview of personal injury damages in Ohio might be helpful to you, so we created this page.
If you'd like to speak with an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney, contact The Donahey Law Firm for a free consultation.
Understanding Damages: Personal Injury Compensation In Ohio
The type of damages you can obtain in a personal injury or wrongful death claim can vary widely from claim to claim, but there are some main categories of damage types:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic damages are often determined by the financial burden the victim suffers after an accident. Medical bills, lost wages/income, rehabilitation costs and property damages are a few examples. Also, keep in mind that economic damages can cover future costs associated with the accident, such as physical therapy sessions that have not yet occurred.
Non-economic damages include harms that aren't naturally measured in dollars and cents; a common example is pain. Other damages that may be available include "life activities losses" and damages for emotional harms. Noneconomic damages can be awarded to family members of the victim - such as a spouse - who have lost consortium or companionship because of the accident.
Punitive damages are rare in Ohio personal injury claims, as they require some extraordinarily negligent, reckless or malicious behavior by the defendant. In addition to a long list of factors the court will consider, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant had knowledge of a dangerous defect or condition before the accident occurred before an award of punitive, or exemplary, damages is considered.
Putting It Together To Value An Injury Claim
Ohio courts will not award damages that are too speculative. It's hard to truly prove the extent of harm a plaintiff has suffered, so an experienced personal injury attorney will carefully examine the evidence and consult witnesses to help reach compensatory damage figures.
For example, a physician's outlook on the victim's brain injury can have a monumental impact on the damage award. If the doctor expects the victim's brain to fully recover, the damages claim would be much less than for a victim whose brain damage will hinder his or her cognitive functions for the rest of his or her life.
Skilled lawyers partner with a variety of witnesses who are experts in their own fields before determining the value of a client's claim. Be wary of an attorney who gives you a defined predicted money sum before carefully reviewing your case, as it indicates that the lawyer may be looking for a quick settlement of your claim - even though it's probably not in your best interest.
At The Donahey Law Firm, we believe in achieving total compensation for our clients. If you'd like to speak with one of our Ohio personal injury lawyers in a free consultation, call 1-866-918-5886 or contact us online.