There are 6 million car accidents every year in the U.S. Each one of those affects real people and their families. Whether it’s injuries and costly medical bills, lost wages, emotional damage, or even death, the results of an auto accident can be life-changing and traumatic
Ohio uses a comparative fault theory, or a “shared fault” system, in cases like yours. In essence, you can pursue compensation if you were injured, but the amount of damages that you can recover are reduced depending on your level of fault.
For example, If you went to trial and were awarded a $100,000 claim, you may not get all $100,000 of it depending on your level of fault. If you’re found 25% at fault for the accident, you would be able to collect only 75% of the reward, or $75,000.
In Ohio, only a minority fault party can collect. That means, if you are found to be at 51% fault or more, you are prohibited from recovering any compensation at all. That number, 51% becomes the goal of the insurance companies fighting against you in these cases. Let it be our job to stop them from hitting that number.
Economic compensatory damages are intended to compensate for any medical bills or lost wages as the result of an accident. These types of damages are simple to calculate with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Noneconomic and punitive damages can be trickier. They can be awarded in addition to any economic compensatory damages if the court or jury sees fit. An experienced attorney can help you understand how to approach these claims in your case.
Several years ago, Ohio changed some laws regarding damage claim limits. They put a cap on the amount of noneconomic and punitive damages a jury can award.
Noneconomic damages are things like pain and suffering claims. For these types of claims, you can only recover the $250,000 or three times your economic damages (whichever is greater). The maximum for an is $350,000 per person involved in an accident and $500,000 per accident.
There is a possible exception to these limits. Those limits don’t apply when an accident victim suffers:
- A permanent and substantial physical deformity (e.g., loss of a limb)
- A permanent physical injury that prevents them from caring for themselves
Punitive damages are awarded as punishment for, and deterrence from, intention or reckless behavior.
These types of damages are capped in Ohio, as well. Punitive damages are capped at twice the value of any compensatory damages. Though, there are further limits including capping these damages at 10% of a person or small employer’s net worth (up to $350,000).
To get a better understanding of how punitive damages might factor into your case, talk to an attorney that specializes in personal injury cases and auto accidents like yours.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the window of time after an accident or injury in which you can take legal action. When that time passes, you lose the right to pursue any claim or lawsuit.
Here in Ohio, that window is 2 years in nearly all cases. That means that you have 2 years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are a few factors that can increase or decrease that window. To know exactly how these statutes of limitations laws affect your case and whether any factors may change your window of time, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney that is familiar with your state as soon as possible.
Consult an Attorney
Any time you or a loved one is involved in an accident, the first priority must be that you get medical help for any injuries. After you have been cared for, it is important that you reach out to an attorney.
Not only should you seek legal advice about a potential claim, but you have to be prepared to protect yourself from legal harm if the police or the other party involved in the accident decides to take legal action against you.
Speaking to an attorney that understands your state’s laws and has experience with personal injury and auto accident cases can help protect your rights and make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of in the difficult times after an accident.
How We Can Help
When you call our office at Spivak and Sakellariou, you’ll get a free consultation.
During that conversation, we’ll review the facts of your case, get to know you and your family, and determine how we can best help to protect you and your rights.
Every case is different, just as every family is different. We will tailor a service that best matches your needs, your goals, and your unique circumstances. When we have a complete understanding of your situation, we can help you understand if you are in a position to make a claim or file a suit.
Give us a call today so we can help you navigate the complicated waters this accident has put you and your family in.