The Personal Injury Process in Ohio
If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness, a skilled Ohio attorney can help you determine the best method to pursue compensation. This might include a wrongful death claim if a loved one was killed as a result of someone else’s actions. Compensation awarded by wrongful death lawsuits must be for the benefit of the deceased individual’s spouse, children, or parents. The elements involved in the process to obtain compensation in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Accident investigations. One of the first steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit is collecting evidence, which often includes medical records, photos, police reports, witness statements, and videos. This process helps to determine exactly how an accident occurred.
- Personal injury lawsuits. If an accident claim cannot be settled out of court, lawyers can pursue a lawsuit on a person’s behalf and argue in court that a certain amount of compensation is deserved.
- Arbitration/Mediation. Sometimes, a personal injury case is resolved through arbitration or mediation rather than a lawsuit.
- Settlement Negotiations. This process is often challenging because it is often the case that the party responsible for an accident wants to pay less than what they actually owe.
Compensation in Personal Injury Cases
Most damages in personal injury lawsuits are classified as “compensatory” because they are designed to compensate the injured plaintiff for the things that were lost in the accident. Some of the most common types of compensatory damages include:
- Lost wages. Compensation in this category is designed to compensate a person for the impact an accident has on his or her salary and earning potential in the future.
- Medical costs. This category includes compensation for the costs of medical care associated with the accident.
- Pain and suffering. A person might be able to receive compensation for the pain and discomfort caused by the accident.
- Property loss. Damages in this category include motor vehicles, clothing, or any other personal property that is destroyed during an accident.
Additionally, in cases in which the responsible party’s behavior is determined to have been particularly outrageous or reckless, the victim might also be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party for its wrongdoing and to deter others from participating in similar behavior, rather than making the victim whole again.
What Needs to be Proven to Recover Compensation?
Briefly, to recover compensation for an injury sustained during an accident, an accident victim and his or her personal injury attorney need to prove a few things. First, we must prove that you were injured by the negligence of another party. For example, if you were injured in a rear-end car accident, the negligence of the offending driver would be proven by showing that he or she clearly broke a traffic law. However, proving a party’s negligence can be difficult in some cases.
We must also prove that due to the at-fault party’s negligence, you were injured. Lastly, we must show how this injury has caused you damages, or losses. Each injury case is different, and issues can arise at any step in this process that can hurt or enhance a particular case. Keeping organized documentation is the best way to stay on top of any personal injury case, and your personal injury attorney will make sure to guide you in the right direction.
How Much is a Claim Worth?
There is no universal answer to how much a personal injury case is worth. Only after careful analysis of the numerous facts involved with your case will an experienced lawyer be able to estimate the potential dollar value of your personal injury claim. Some of the factors that can influence this figure include the severity of your injuries, insurance coverage, the financial impact, and whether the party that caused the accident took steps to protect your safety.
In many cases, an insurance company that represents the opposing party will make a settlement offer. If the victim does not accept the amount offered by the insurance company, the case will likely proceed to trial. To help navigate this process, it is critical to obtain the representation of a skilled accident lawyer. While there is no one specific amount to expect in compensation following an Ohio personal injury accident, it can help to understand some factors that commonly influence this number.
The Average Amount of Compensation for Ohio Personal Injury Claims
There is no “average” for the amount of compensation that a person can expect to receive after being injured in an accident. Each case is different. As a result, it is difficult to determine what a person will receive in compensation for even the most serious accidents. Some of the factors that influence the amount of compensation a person ultimately receives include the degree of economic losses suffered, the severity of injuries, and how injuries have impacted you and your loved ones.
The Maximum Amount of Compensation in Ohio Personal Injury Accidents
You can only receive in compensation an amount equivalent to the responsible party’s insurance policy. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you will only be able to receive the maximum of the responsible party’s insurance policy. When a business causes a person’s injuries, the victim can often receive more in compensation because companies often have “deeper pockets.” Regardless, Ohio has established certain limitations on the amount of compensation personal injury victims can receive. It is helpful to remember the following rules:
- There is no limit to what a person can receive in economic losses for things like lost wages or medical care.
- Non-economic losses include things like pain and suffering, but are limited to what is more — $250,000 or an amount that is 300% of a person’s economic loss.
- There is an exception to the limitation for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses for damages that compensate for either permanent deformity or disability.
To assess the full amount of damages that a person faces, it is often critical to retain the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
The Role of Punitive Damages in Ohio Personal Injury Cases
Many people our lawyers help are injured as the result of someone else’s negligence. This might include careless behavior, like failing to look both ways at an intersection or to clean up a spill in a grocery store. Some accidents occur, however, because people are intentionally injured. This category includes people who purposefully harm others. Because conduct of this nature is viewed as more reprehensible than others, Ohio law allows victims to ask for punitive damages in these cases. Punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party and deter them an d others from performing similar harmful acts in the future.
While they are not common, Ohio still awards punitive damages. The amount of these damages is capped, however. If a client experiences $100,000 in compensatory damages, they can later receive a maximum of $200,000 in punitive damages.