Personal injury lawsuits are quite common, as far as lawsuits go, but they can also be somewhat complicated to the untrained eye. After all, you need to know the general structure of such a lawsuit, how the court proceedings will go, and what laws your state has regarding lawsuits. To help you build a better lawsuit, here is a specific overview of how damage caps work in personal injury lawsuits in Ohio:
When it comes to how much money you can ask for, some states will heavily restrict your options, while others will pretty much give you free reign. Most states fall somewhere in between the two. Unfortunately for you, Ohio falls near the former end of the spectrum.
First of all, you shouldn't worry because your economic damages are not restricted at all. In most cases, economic damages refer to financial losses on your part, such as medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings, or auto repair bills.
If you suffered in a way that can be objectively translated to an exact amount of money, and you can blame it on the defendant in your lawsuit, then you can sue for it, essentially without restrictions.
Before diving right in, you should know that non-economic damages usually refer to categories that can't necessarily be translated directly into a financial value. For instance, your pain and suffering may be great, but 10 different people might give you 10 different numbers when it comes to putting a price on fair compensation for that psychological damage.
To get started, non-economic damages are limited to whichever is greater between $250,000 and 3 times your economic damages. This reaches a hard cap at $350,000, which is the maximum amount of non-economic damages allowed in a lawsuit regarding a non-catastrophic injury. In essence, your cap will always be between $250,000 and $350,000, as stated in section B2.
This only applies to non-catastrophic injuries though, which means that there is no cap when the injury was catastrophic, which basically means that the injury prevents you from working in the future. While this most commonly refers to amputations and paralysis, you should talk to a lawyer about whether or not your specific case might qualify.
Finally, punitive damages are restricted as well, as listed in section D. If you are pursuing punitive damages, then you are capped at capped at twice the size of your compensatory damages. If you are suing an individual or a small company, then your cap may be lowered to 10% of the defendant's net worth, up to a maximum of $350,000.
However, punitive damages are pretty rare since they require that you prove gross negligence in court. Punitive damages are literally meant to punish the other party, so the restrictions on their usage does more to shield plaintiffs from overzealous and malicious lawsuits than it does to impede your road to rightful compensation.
For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area.