What Makes a Personal Injury ‘Catastrophic’ Under the Laws of Ohio?

What Makes Personal Injury “Catastrophic” Under Ohio Law?

Section 2315.18 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) defines a Catastrophic Breach as one that causes

  • A permanent and significant physical deformity,
  • The loss of a limb or the loss of use of a limb,
  • The loss of an internal organ or eye and / or
  • A permanent injury that permanently prevents the injured person from taking care of themselves and from performing life-sustaining activities without assistance.

Here, “life-sustaining activities” encompass a wide range of measures, such as For example, full-time employment, managing your own finances, or living alone in a house or apartment. The inability to perform life sustaining activities can result from a traumatic brain injury, but it can also result from a combination of physical injuries that do not cause intellectual disability.

While state law does not specifically use the term “catastrophic,” it is important to make a clear legal distinction between the injuries listed and other types of injuries a person could suffer in an accident.

What it means for Ohio law to declare some violations catastrophic

ORC 2315.18 is one of the laws of the state of Ohio that gives victims of accidents caused by the negligence or recklessness of others the right to seek compensation by filing insurance claims or personal injury claims. Compensatory losses cover past and expected medical bills, replace lost wages and future income, and compensate for physical pain and emotional suffering.

Bills and wages are classified as economic losses for the accident victim. Pain and suffering are classified as non-economic losses.

The law sets an upper limit for compensation claims for pain and suffering. This upper limit applies to most personal injury cases. However, ORC 2315.18 also states: “There is no limit to the amount of compensatory damage that is compensation for non-economic loss … for injury or loss of people or property when the non-economic loss is due to a catastrophic injury.

This does not mean that an accident victim can call a random high number fair recovery from a catastrophic injury. Nor does this mean that an Ohio personal injury attorney can guarantee a major award. Each case is based on its own facts, and the outcome depends on too many factors to know what will happen in the course of negotiating with an insurance company or in legal proceedings.

Waiving the non-economic damage limit in the event of catastrophic injuries means that an individual struggling with permanent disability or loss of a body part can seek full accountability with the responsible party. To do this, compelling evidence must be presented that:

  • The person or company named as the defendant caused the accident,
  • The accident directly caused the catastrophic injury, and
  • The breach is of the type considered catastrophic under the provisions of ORC 2315.18.

Working with an experienced personal injury attorney could make it easier to prove these things. Corey Heit of Heit Law, based in Westerville, Ohio, advises and represents accident victims in Columbus and throughout Franklin County. You can schedule a free consultation by calling Corey at (614) 898-5300 or contacting him online.

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