Whether you're driving on a busy street in Cincinnati or in a rural area of Ohio, car accidents can happen everywhere. Being home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ohio attracts many people across the nation. Whether you are a tourist or a resident, you should be aware of Ohio car accident compensation laws. If you have been in a car accident, read on to discover what Ohio laws may affect your car accident case.
Ohio's At-Fault Insurance System
Ohio is an at-fault car insurance state, which means the person who caused the accident is liable for all losses and damages. Therefore, if you got injured in a car accident, you have three options available to you: (1) file an insurance claim under your own insurance policy, (2) file an insurance claim directly with the opponent's insurance company, or (3) pursue a personal injury lawsuit against your opponent.
If you file an insurance claim in Ohio , the monetary limitations in interest and costs are as follows:
Injury or death of one person
Total for injuries or death caused by any single car accident
Coverage for any property damage caused by the accident
Types of Damages Available in Ohio
In personal injury cases, damages refer to compensation awarded to the injured person for loss or injury. Compensatory damages, also called actual damages, are awarded to compensate the injured person for losses caused by the accident. Compensatory damages are divided into two categories: economic or noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to specific economic harm, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and damage to your vehicle. Noneconomic damages refer to damages like pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are awarded to the injured person if the other party caused the accident deliberately or with reckless disregard. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the person responsible for the accident and deter people from committing a similar offense.
When you are calculating specific damages, review FindLaw's Damages Estimate Worksheet to ensure no other types of damages are overlooked in your claim.
Damages Caps in Ohio
Damages caps are laws that limit the amount of damages you can recover in a court case. Many states have their own state laws imposing damages caps on certain types of cases. Here is a list of damages caps stated in the Ohio Revised Code:
- No limit [Section 2315.18(B)(1) ]
- $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages, whichever is greater; subject to maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff [Section 2315.18(B)(2)];
- Exception: there is no cap if the injured person suffered a catastrophic injury, such as permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of the use of a limb, or injury that prevents one from caring for themselves and performing life-sustaining activities [Section 2315.18(B)(3)]
- Not to exceed twice the amount of compensatory damages [Section 2315.21(D)(2)(a) ]
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly passed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact an Ohio personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Modified Comparative Negligence Standard
In Ohio, you can recover damages even if you were partially at fault for your own injuries. The state applies the "modified comparative negligence" rule that allows you to recover damages as long as you were 50 percent or less at fault. However, if you are liable for more than 50 percent of damages, then you won't be able to receive any compensation.
For example, at trial, the jury determines that the amount of damages is $100,000. You were 10 percent at fault, and the other driver was 90 percent at fault. In this situation, you would be able to recover 90 percent of $100,000, which is $90,000.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer for a Free Claim Evaluation
Not all car accidents go to court. A simple issue can be resolved by filing a claim under your insurance policy. However, if the insurance company or any of your opponents claim that you were at fault for the car accident, it may lead to a complex or unfair situation. Get a free claim evaluation from an experienced attorney in Ohio to protect your rights.
Contact a qualified attorney.