Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Ohio Personal Injury Laws
Faced with a personal injury from an accident you aren’t responsible for? Finding yourself with unplanned time away from work and medical bills piling up can be a stressful situation. Understanding how the laws can help you is the first step in taking care of your future.
If another person causes you bodily harm or damages your property, depending on the circumstances, you may have a personal injury claim on your hands. Personal injury accidents usually impact more than just your physical health. The impact can extend beyond the injury to other aspects of your life, leaving you with mounting bills and other losses.
Ohio Statute of Limitations
Depending on the type of injury you have, Ohio law provides a specific limit on the amount of time you have to pursue your claim, known as a statute of limitations. The clock starts running from when you are injured or should know about your injuries. Some of the statutes of limitations Ohio law imposes are:
- Two years for personal bodily injury
- Two years for property damages
- Two years for injuries from defective products or warning labels
- One year for medical malpractice
- Two years for injuries occurring on someone else’s property
There are a few exceptions to this rule that allow you to bring a claim after the usual statute of limitations. These include when people are in prison or lack mental competence during this time period. Your personal injury attorney can help you determine the amount of time you have and help you bring your claim before time runs out.
Proving Negligence in Ohio
Injury claims often arise from the negligent acts of another person. This duty to act reasonably may be heightened depending on your relationship with the person who hurt you. Negligence claims cover a number of injuries related to auto accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and other scenarios. They require proving four elements:
- The person who injured you owed you a duty of reasonable care
- The person breached this duty and acted unreasonably
- Their unreasonable actions caused your injury
- You suffered damages as a result of their unreasonable actions
When calculating compensation for negligence claims, Ohio uses a comparative negligence approach to account for any negligence on your part that may have contributed to your injuries. The damages are apportioned based on the percentage of your unreasonable conduct, but you may be barred from any compensation if you are over 50% at fault for your injuries.
Say you are speeding down I-71 through Columbus when you are hit by another car and injured. If your speeding is deemed 50% or less the cause of your injuries, then you may receive compensation. However, if your speeding is determined to be over 50%, then you may not be entitled to any damages.
Calculating Damages for Ohio Injury Claims
Attorneys are professionally prohibited from promising you a specific amount of money, but they can help estimate and calculate the damages you have suffered and advocate for the compensation that you deserve. Your attorney can help you determine the types of damages you may recover as well.
Ohio law allows you to recover compensatory damages, which include the economic and noneconomic losses you have suffered from your injuries.
- Economic damages include the actual, monetary losses from your injuries, such as medical bills, property damages repairs, lost wages, rental transportation, ambulance fees, and more. For most injury claims, Ohio law does not limit the amount of economic damages you may receive, but exceptions do exist.
- Noneconomic damages exist for you to recover for your intangible losses like pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of companionship, and future medical expenses or lost wages. Ohio law limits the amount of noneconomic damages you may recover based on the amount of injured parties in the lawsuit or the amount of claims you are bringing. Your attorney can help you determine if you have a case to make for these damages.
Unlike a number of other states, Ohio law may allow you to sue for punitive damages as well, depending on the type of injuries you have suffered. These damages are meant to punish the person who hurt you.
Collateral Source Rule
Ohio law follows the collateral source rule, which prevents you from receiving double payments when you receive compensation from other sources. This includes payments you may receive from disability coverage, health insurance, or auto insurance coverage.
The Personal Injury Legal Process in Ohio
For substantial financial burdens and severe injuries, hiring an attorney from the start of your claim may be the wise path to take. This process involves pretrial discovery, hearings, depositions, and a number of court filing requirements. Claims with extensive damages can be complicated, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help alleviate your stress by guiding you through the court system during this difficult time.
For minor damages under $3,000, you might be able to handle your claim on your own in small claims court. Some car crash injury claims deal primarily with auto insurance companies and are able to settle outside of court without the need to hire an attorney. However, you may not receive a reasonable settlement offer, or complications may arise that leave you with no other option than to pursue litigation.
Since you may be dealing with some heavy financial issues from your injuries, most injury attorneys offer free initial consultations to review your case and discuss their contingency fee with you.
Injury attorneys who work on a contingency fee agreement can get to work on your case right away without charging you any upfront fees. This type of fee agreement determines a percentage of your potential damages the attorney will collect at the end of your representation, averaging from 25-40%, depending on the work involved in securing compensation.