Accident victims with a life-altering catastrophic injury often require long-term and costly medical care in addition to the overwhelming emotional and physical challenges.
Proving this type of injury is a critical step in getting the compensation and assistance these injured victims need. Below, we talk about what a catastrophic injury is in Ohio, and how that is established in a court of law, as well as some of the types of damages that may be available for victims.
If you suffered a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, we invite you to contact our experienced lawyers at O’Connor Acciani & Levy today for a free consultation. There is no obligation for you to hire us, but we can help you understand your potential legal options for recovering damages.
What Is A Serious Catastrophic Injury In Ohio?
When an injury results in significant and life-changing physical or mental harm on an individual, it is considered catastrophic. This includes injuries that cause permanent and substantial:
- Physical deformity
- Loss of use of a limb
- Loss of bodily organ system
Other conditions that may qualify as catastrophic injuries are those that result in permanent physical functional injury that prevents the victim from being able to care for himself or herself and perform life-sustaining activities.
Some examples of injuries that may fit Ohio’s definition of catastrophic include:
- Spinal cord injuries and other severe neck or back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Amputation of a limb
- Loss of a major organ
- Substantial burns
- Birth injuries
Does Ohio Have Limits On The Damages You Can Pursue?
In Ohio, you may be able to recover certain economic and non-economic damages to help cover medical costs and other financial losses you may incur after a serious accident. Economic damages are not capped and include things like lost wages and medical bills.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of mental and/or physical health
- Damaged bodily functions
While there are no limits on economic damages, there is a cap on non-economic damages of $250,000 or three times the amount of the non-economic loss, whichever amount is greater.
However, according to Ohio Revised Code 2315.18(B)(2), if you can prove your injuries are catastrophic, these caps do not apply.
How To Prove Liability For A Catastrophic Injury In Ohio
Your attorney must prove you have a catastrophic injury and establish the four elements of negligence to be able to recover compensation for your damages.
Duty Of Care
You must prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care. This means that the individual had a responsibility to act reasonably to help avoid causing you physical harm. In a car accident, reasonable behavior would include following traffic laws or not driving drunk or otherwise impaired.
Breach Of Duty
The next element to proving another person’s negligence in an accident is proving that he or she breached that duty of care. For example, by running a red traffic light or driving recklessly.
It is not enough to prove a person acted unreasonably, you must also prove that his or her careless behavior was the cause of your accident, and you must be able to provide evidence to establish that link.
The final element in establishing an act of negligence is proving that you suffered emotional, physical or financial harm as a result of any injuries caused by the accident. In a catastrophic injury claim, you must present physical evidence to help prove the full extent of your damages. This may include:
- Medical records or bills
- X-rays or other results of medical tests
- Pain journal
- The testimony of your attending physicians or other medical experts
- Records from your employer
Did You Suffer A Catastrophic Injury? Contact Our Law Offices Today
If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligent actions, our Cincinnati personal injury lawyers may be able to help.
Contact us now to schedule your free and confidential consultation. There is no obligation, but if we represent you, there are no upfront charges for you to pay. We do not get paid unless we are successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf.