Personal injury cases are the most common form of a lawsuit filed in the United States. In legal terms, a personal injury is any form of physical, mental, or emotional harm caused by an individual or agency.
You can suffer a personal injury if you are the victim of a slip and fall accident at the supermarket due to negligence in managing wet floors or face an unprecedented car accident due to negligent driving of a third party. Personal injuries also comprise harm caused by enterprises such as food joints that fail to maintain their quality leading to food poisoning in customers.
In addition, negligent or incorrect medical treatments can also result in personal injury. This may be confusing to understand, as it may sound similar to criminal cases. You must be wondering why medical malpractice is not considered a criminal case. Well, if the malpractice resulted from unintentional negligence of the practitioner, it is regarded as personal injury, but if the malpractice resulted from a deliberate attempt to inflict injury, it is considered a criminal offense.
Over the years, the legal definition of “personal injury” has become more robust and is now clearly distinguishable from injuries that are inflicted due to criminal activities. Let’s find out what the best Cincinnati personal injury attorneys have to say about it.
When Does Your Personal Injury Incident Become a Legal Case?
It mostly depends on your discretion whether you consider your situation a personal injury. For many, slipping on the wet floor of a supermarket may not be a big deal.
Alternatively, for many, such slips can result in severe injuries resulting from the negligent owner who did not put up a “wet floor” sign when required. This makes it a personal injury case.
So, your neighbor’s dog may have bitten you, and you want to file a lawsuit against your neighbor for personal injury, but the question is, was the neighbor negligent? In this case, was the neighbor just standing as their dog bit you? If your neighbor had tried to stop the dog, your personal injury claim might not be as strong as you would like.
Thus, even though such issues are based on your discretion and understanding of what harmed you and how there are some basic legal aspects that you need to consider before filing a legal lawsuit for personal injury.
The outcome of every personal injury lawsuit depends on this factor. During the lawsuit, the plaintiff (who filed the lawsuit) needs to prove that the defendant (individual or enterprise who caused the personal injury) is guilty of negligence or breach of duty.
It is equally important to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused damages to the plaintiff’s mental, physical, or emotional well-being that can be substantiated with evidence such as valid medical reports.
How to Calculate the Worth of Your Personal Injury Claim?
The personal injury lawsuits that often make the headline have compensation amounts that are almost unbelievable at times. But there are often a lot of factors that play a role in determining the value of your personal injury claim. Here are all the factors that you should take into account while approximating your compensation-
- Medical Bills
All your medical expenses, including therapy, doctor’s fees, tests, and follow-ups. If you did not suffer from physical injuries but mental or emotional pain, you can also add in the days of pain suffered, using the “per diem” method.
- Future Medical Expenses Related to the Injuries
An estimate of the medical expense for the treatment period needs to be continued.
- Property Damage and Repairs
For the repair of damages to your property. Mostly used in vehicle accident cases.
- Lost Wages
If you were unable to work due to your injuries, estimate the earnings you lost in that period.
- Future Lost Wages
If the injuries render you incapable of working in the near future, add the estimate of earnings that you would have had if you could continue to work.
- Multiplier for General Damages
The total estimate can be multiplied by factors such as 2, 4, or 5 depending on the severity of the injuries and the resulting pain and suffering. Choose a suitable multiplier to get the final worth of your personal injury claim.
What Damages Can Be Recovered Through a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Cincinnati, OH?
The following damages can be compensated in personal injury cases, according to Ohio law.
Monetary losses, property damages, damage repairs, medical bills, and lost wages. There is no cap on the compensation amount, but there are some exceptions.
Pain, suffering, social isolation, cost of companionship, disfigurement, future loss of working capability, or wages. There is a limit to the amount of compensation for such damages determined by Ohio law.
Under Ohio law, the plaintiff may only seek punitive damages from the defendant if the defendant’s actions were malicious or intentional. These damages are used to punish the defendant.
How to File a Personal Injury Case in Cincinnati, OH?
The process varies depending on your case and the amount of claim. For personal injury claims lower than $3000, you can file your own claim in the appropriate court according to your location.
For severe cases with multiple damages and a potentially higher claim amount, you should first hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.
It is important to note that most personal injury cases are resolved through informal settlements if both parties agree. In case an informal settlement is reached, the case closes without filing a lawsuit, if not, the following steps are followed.
- Case evaluation: when you hire an attorney, this is the first step in the process
- Gathering evidence: any substantial evidence of the incident and inflicted damages will help strengthen your case.
- Discovery and deposition: both the lawyers (of the plaintiff and the defendant) will exchange witness lists and facts. Both parties will have to answer questions from the lawyers under oath.
- Settlement or Trial: usually, both the lawyers try to settle the case through settlement negotiations, such that it does not go to trial. In case when a settlement is not reached, the case then goes to the trial at the court.
Things to Remember Before Moving Ahead With a Personal Injury Case in Cincinnati, OH
If you find yourself a victim of a personal injury case and would like to file a lawsuit, here are a few things to remember before moving ahead-
Ohio’s Statute of Limitations
According to Ohio law, all personal injury cases need to be filed within two years to be considered by the court. If you file your case after two years, you automatically enable the defendant with a “motion to dismiss,” whereby they can dismiss the lawsuit.
Validity of Your Claim
This is something that will be thoroughly investigated during the trial. If the validity of your claim or the negligence of the defendant is not proven in court, you may end up not receiving any compensation as well as losing all the money you invested in filing the lawsuit.
Thus, to be on the safer side and to take educated steps, it is recommended to contact a Cincinnati injury attorney.