The two main types of damages that are available to Ohio personal injury victims are compensatory damages (consisting of the subcategories of economic damages and noneconomic damages) and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages compensate the victim for the actual injury sustained. Think of compensatory damages as literally “making up for” the injury. There are two subcategories of compensatory damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. In other words, both economic damages and noneconomic damages fall under the broader umbrella of compensatory damages.
Economic damages compensate accident victims for the quantifiable monetary losses that they suffer as a result of an injury such as medical bills, lost wages, the cost of household or nursing help, and other “easy to add up” losses. For example, if a plaintiff has $35,000.00 in medical bills, $10,000.00 in lost wages, and $5,000.00 nursing help, the plaintiff has a total of $50,000.00 in economic damages. There is no cap on the amount of economic damages available to injury victims in Ohio.
Noneconomic damages compensate the accident victim for non-quantifiable losses such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. These losses may include compensation for disfigurement, living with a permanent injury, loss of opportunity, and loss of consortium. For example, if a plaintiff has to live the rest of his or her life with permanent facial scarring, a jury may find that such an injury to the face is “worth” $100,000.00 in noneconomic damages, even though there is no definite way to quantify the loss. Depending on the type of injuries involved, there may be Ohio damages caps on the amount of noneconomic damages available to injury victims in Ohio.
Finally, there are punitive damages. As the name implies, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct. Although punitive damages are not available in all cases, they may be awarded in instances of gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct. For example, if the defendant was drinking and driving or texting and driving before he caused a motor vehicle accident, the injured plaintiff may be entitled to collect punitive damages from the defendant.
If you have questions about any of the legal issues raised in this blog, contact Dodosh Law Offices, LLC at (440) 298-2344. Or, you can fill out a contact form and Attorney Dodosh will get in touch with you.