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What Types of Damages Can I Claim in a Personal Injury Case in Ohio?

Post By Corey Heit

Ohio law permits victims of someone else’s negligence or recklessness to claim two basic types of damages in personal injury cases. These are damages for economic losses and damages for noneconomic losses. In certain circumstances, an individual who suffered personal injuries can also claim punitive damages.

Before getting into an explanation of what constitutes an economic loss and a noneconomic loss, it is important to state that damages for those losses can be claimed in all types of personal injury cases and in cases involving wrongful deaths.

This means that the victim, a surviving family member, or a legal executor can claim damages following an injury or death from

  • A car, truck, or motorcycle crash;
  • A pedestrian accident;
  • A bike or scooter crash;
  • A truck crash;
  • A slip or fall, which is a category that also covers near-drowning, drowning, electric shocks, and electrocutions;
  • A dog bite or animal attack;
  • Medical malpractice;
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse;
  • A medication error;
  • An anesthesia error;
  • A defective or dangerous product; or
  • An assault, which courts and lawyers call an intentional tort.

Defining Economic and Noneconomic Losses

At Heit Law, we focus on vehicle and pedestrian accidents, bus crash cases, and dog bites. When a client hires us, we seek compensation for that person under the general provisions of section 2315.18 of the Ohio Revised Code.

That state statute defines economic and noneconomic losses. First an economic loss includes “all wages, salaries, or other compensation lost as a result of an injury,” as well as “expenditures for medical care or treatment, rehabilitation services, or other care, treatment, services, products, or accommodations as a result of an injury.” Expenses for travel, vehicle repair and replacement, and other activities necessitated by recovering from the accident can also be claimed.

The law then lists noneconomic damages as “pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.”

Most of the terms are not self-explanatory. For instance, “consortium” means “sex with a spouse or life partner.” A disfigurement can be a permanent scar or an amputated limb. The important thing to understand is that each relates to engaging in and enjoying the best parts of life, like physical comfort, emotional security, earning a living, maintaining relationships, sustaining friendships, keeping a family together, and parenting children.

A Note on Punitive Damages

For clients of Heit Law, punitive damages will usually only be available when a drunk or drugged driver caused their injuries. Punitive damages are noncriminal fines assessed by a civil trial jury to penalize reckless behavior and to serve as an example to potentially reckless people. Any award of punitive damages is made separately from and in addition to damages for economic and noneconomic losses.

The actual damages a personal injury victim can claim, as well as the amounts of compensation that can be received, will vary depending on the facts of the case. Consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable Ohio personal injury lawyer is the best way to clarify the matter.

You can speak with Corey Heit of Heit Law in Westerville by calling (614) 898-5300 or connecting with him online. Corey is available to help people in Columbus and across central Ohio. The initial discussion is free.

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