Ohio Caps The Amount of Damages That Can Be Awarded For Personal Injuries

Like many other states, Ohio has statutory caps on the damages a person can receive for injuries due to someone’s negligence. Most of these caps were passed in 2005 through Senate Bill 80.

Damages from personal injuries, such as those suffered in a truck/car accident or medical malpractice action, can be separated into two basic categories. The first is economic damages, those which can be easily quantifiable (medical bills from the accident, lost wages, future estimated medical bills, prescriptions, medical equipment, etc.). The second is non economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of ability to perform daily activities, etc.).

Ohio limits the amount of non-economic damages to either $250,000.00 or three times economic damages, which ever is larger, subject to a maximum of $350,000.00 per plaintiff and a maximum of $500,000.00 per occurrence.

If the injuries are “catastrophic” or result in permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, loss of a bodily organ or permanent physical injury that prevents self care, then the caps are raised to $500,000.00 per plaintiff and $1 million per occurrence.

There is no cap for injuries that result in death. Ohio also limits punitive damages to twice the compensatory damages in tort cases. Punitive damages may be claimed in cases where the person who caused the accident acted recklessly or intentionally in causing the injuries, or in actions claiming bad faith on the part of the injured party’s insurance company in uninsured/underinsured motorist claims.

In certain circumstances an injured person’s family may be entitled to compensation for the losses that they suffer. Certain losses include the loss of companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training or education, and mental anguish.

If the injury is caused by medical negligence, the caps are $500,000 per person, $1,000,000 per occurrence for pain and suffering even if the injury is catastrophic. There is no exception as in other forms of tort law.

I find it odd that if you suffer a catastrophic injury from a car accident, amusement park ride, falling at a store, etc, your pain and suffering is not capped, but if a doctor cripples a child the most that child can get is $500,000 for a lifetime of physical pain and emotional suffering. This is outrageous and if the public really knew this they would be outraged. It is only when you or someone you love is crippled by a doctor’s carelessness that you truly understand the effects of tort reform. If you saw the look of horror on the parent’s faces when I have to tell them what the state legislature did to their crippled child’s right to be compensated for pain and suffering for a doctor’s medical negligence, you would be sickened. I guess the medical establishment has a good lobby group in Columbus.

For more information about this subject go to www.Chesterlaw.com and request a copy of my free Book entitled The Insider’s Guide to Handling Ohio Accident Claims. You can also order my free DVD entitled What you should know about motor vehicle injury claims. Both the free Book and free DVD describe in more detail what you need to know to protect your rights NOW.