Following a car accident, there are many expenses you may be expected to pay. If you have sustained injuries, you will have to pay for medical treatment. If significant damage has been done to your car, then you might have to pay for repairs, or pay higher premiums to your car insurance company. You should not have to shoulder this financial burden alone. Victims can pursue damages in Toledo car accidents. If you have been involved in a Toledo car accident and wish to pursue damages, get in touch with a car accident attorney who can help.
An individual can collect for medical expenses, economic losses including lost wages and future lost wages, pain, suffering, inconvenience, permanent injuries, and loss of enjoyment of life. There is no magic formula. It is the attorney’s job is to create a logical argument to the jury or to the insurance company regarding a fair amount based on the unique individual circumstances of the injured person. Punitive damages can be awarded for reckless conduct like alcohol, drugs, and the impact that causes the injury.
Economic damages in Toledo car accidents are considered the effects of an accident on an individual such as lost wages, past, and future. The injured person experiences an economic impact by having an injury and not being able to do the same work activities as before the accident. When an individual has a permanent limitation because of their accident, a vocational expert can do a task analysis on the individual and testify as to the limiting effects the injuries have on the person’s employability for the rest of their life.
The attorney provides that information to an economist who can establish a monetary range for the economic impact on the client’s future life. Maybe an individual has the economic ability to make $750,000 over a lifetime. The economist adjusts that number to present value and that is an element of damages the attorney can claim as economic damages under Ohio law.
Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, inconvenience, and permanent injuries such as loss of enjoyment of life. For example, a person’s hobbies are playing tennis, racquetball, biking, and walking their dog and the doctors indicate they now have permanent limitations such as lifting restrictions or walking restrictions because of their injuries. The person can claim that the impact of the permanent restrictions results in the loss of a significant amount of their personal enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are damages in Toledo car accidents that punish an individual for reckless conduct such as driving while intoxicated and causing an accident; driving under the influence of drugs, and driving recklessly that causes substantial injuries.
Damage Caps in Toledo Car Accident Cases
Normally, the cap for damages in Toledo car accidents is $250,000 for non-economic damages like pain and suffering when a person is single and $500,000 if the person is married. There is no cap when there is a catastrophic injury. A catastrophic injury is the loss of the use of body parts.
Case law is unclear whether a catastrophic injury includes a permanent scar. Some cases say that a horrible permanent scar is a question of fact for a jury to consider. Other cases say that the injury must be a loss of a hand or a leg to meet the definition of a catastrophic injury. The issue of whether the cap applies is still in legal dispute in Ohio.
Usually, there is no cap on economic damages, so that is not a problem. For non-economic damages, one way to circumvent caps is to prove there is a catastrophic injury. Often, the attorney tries to get the treating doctor or a non-treating doctor to give an opinion that the injury is a loss equivalent to a permanent bodily function to meet the definition under Ohio law. The attorney may use expert witness testimony to make the injury into a catastrophic injury. That means there is a question of fact for the jury to decide whether the cap does or does not apply.
What Damages Does Insurance Cover?
An auto insurance policy covers compensatory damages including the economic and non-economic damages up to the limits of the policy. The Ohio minimum limits $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. It only covers $25,000 for one person and when five people are injured in the accident the total of $50,000 is the policy limit. It does not cover punitive damages because those are not covered under Ohio auto liability policies.
Necessity of an Attorney
Car accidents can result in serious injuries, with severe consequences. If you have been injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to call an attorney. A qualified lawyer will have experience with seeking damages in Toledo car accidents and can help you do so as well. A lawyer can also help you hold the responsible parties responsible. Contact an attorney who can build your case.