Ohio Personal Injury Laws

Ohio personal injury law attempts to cover all types of injuries one can suffer. Some of the most common areas are automobile accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, and product liability, among others. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation may depend on the type of accident that caused the injury.

You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if another's negligence caused your injury. Any personal injury case depends on liability, damages, and whether or not you can collect from the negligent party or parties. Even if you were partially at fault for your injuries, you may be entitled to recover a portion of your damages. Ohio has adopted the doctrine of modified comparative fault which means one's recoverable damages will be reduced in proportion to his percentage of negligence.

Ohio Car Accidents

In 1980, Ohio became the 35th state to enact a comparative negligence law. Under this law, “negligence” is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care required of a reasonable and prudent person in any given circumstance resulting in injury or damage to another.

Comparative negligence allows for a person to recover damages as reduced by the person’s own percentage of negligence. In Ohio, if a party is more than 50 percent at fault, recovery is not allowed. The law applies most often to automobile accidents, but comparative negligence may also apply to accidents involving a home or business.

If you are in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault, the uninsured motorist provisions of your own policy will apply if you purchased such coverage. This coverage would also apply if you were hit by a "hit and run" driver. This insurance acts just like the insurance the uninsured driver should have had. Underinsured motorist coverage picks up where the liability coverage of the other driver leaves off. If your personal injuries exceed the amount of the other driver's liability insurance, your underinsured motorist insurance covers the excess damages under current law.

Ohio Mandatory Minimum Liability Coverage

The mandatory minimum liability coverage in Ohio is $12,500 per person and $25,000 per accident for personal injury, and $7,500 for property damage. If the person who caused your injury has automobile liability insurance, an insurance adjuster will gather the pertinent records including medical records, medical bills, wage loss verification and the like in an effort to verify your damages. The insurance company may make you an offer to settle the claim. You may find the offer acceptable and once you accept it, the claim process is over. If you do not receive an acceptable offer, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits are generally filed when negotiations fail. If you file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, your attorney will need to prove that the other party was negligent and that the other party's negligence caused injuries that resulted in compensable damages. Be careful when dealing with the other party's insurance company because they may try to rush you into a settlement before you can adequately evaluate the extent of your damages.

Ohio Premises Liability Laws

If you were injured at someone else's home or a commercial establishment, the person or entity responsible for the premises may be found liable. This can cover a variety of situations including slip and falls, dog bites, assaults, among others. The person liable for your damages is the party in control of the property. That party is responsible for the care, maintenance and inspection of the property. For example, an owner may not be the responsible party if he or she has leased the property to another party who actually has control over the premises. The responsible party must pay for damages if the injured party proves that:

  • the condition of the property was dangerous;
  • the owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition; and
  • the owner had a reasonable opportunity to correct or warn of the condition, which was not reasonably open and obvious to the injured party at the time of the accident.

In general, it is the duty of an owner to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of the premises. He must warn a visitor of any dangerous conditions that are known, or should be known to him, if the conditions are not likely to be perceived by the visitor and to repair the conditions within a reasonable time frame. Factors used to determine whether the owner exercised reasonable care in maintaining the property includes:

  • the foreseeability of harm to others;
  • the magnitude of the risks of injury to others if the property is kept in its current condition;
  • the benefit to an individual or to society of maintaining the property in its current condition; and
  • the cost and inconvenience of providing adequate protection.

Ohio Product Liability Laws

Product liability deals with recoveries for personal injury or property damage resulting from the use of a product. Product liability cases may involve dangerous toys, automobile design, seat belt failures, improperly designed household products, industrial machinery, products causing explosions or burns, aviation products, medical devices, prescription or over the counter drugs, among others. A lawsuit can be brought against anyone participating in the chain of manufacture for that product, from the manufacturer, to the designer to the retail store. When a company designs and manufactures a product, they have a responsibility to ensure that anyone exercising reasonable care within the expected parameters of usage expected for the product will not be injured. An action can be based on negligence, breach of implied or express warranty, or strict liability.

Contact an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney

As you can see, a personal injury attorney may be critical to your claim. If you've been injured by the careless actions of another person, you should consider hiring a local attorney as soon as possible after the incident. It's important to speak to a lawyer familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction. Fortunately, you can contact an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney here to evaluate your claim.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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