To successfully bring a claim for negligence in Ohio, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff, that the duty was breached, that the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of injury to the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Ohio law (R.C. §§ 2315.32-2315.36) allows a plaintiff to recover for personal injury caused by the negligent actions of another as long as the plaintiff was 50% or less at fault for the injury. If this is the case, the plaintiff’s damage award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff, if any. For example, where a plaintiff was awarded $100,000 in damages but also determined to be 20% at fault for their own injury, the plaintiff’s damages award would then be reduced to $80,000 to account for the plaintiff’s assigned percentage of fault.
If the plaintiff is found to have been 51% or more at fault, the plaintiff may be barred from recovery.
Joint & Several Liability
R.C. §§ 2307.22 states that where it is determined that two or more people proximately caused the same injury and further determined that more than 50% of the tortious conduct was attributable to one defendant, that defendant will be held jointly and severally liable for all compensatory damages that represent economic loss. Thus, the plaintiff may recover the full amount of economic damages awarded solely from the defendant found to be more than 50% at fault.
Where it is determined that a defendant’s level of fault was less than 50%, several liability will apply, meaning that each defendant is only responsible for their share of fault.
If one defendant has paid more than their proportional share of liability, that defendant has the right to seek contribution against any other joint defendant who has not paid its proportional share.
Compensatory damages are awarded by a trier of fact to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
Compensatory damages include reasonable expenses necessary for medical care; hospitalization and treatment; economic loss from loss of income (both past and future); pain and suffering; disability; disfigurement; and mental anguish.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff.
In Ohio, if punitive damages are requested by a party in a jury trial, the trial may be bifurcated so that the jury considers compensatory damages in one stage, and punitive damages in a second stage.
For a punitive damage award to be granted, it must be determined that the actions or omissions of the defendant demonstrated malice or aggravated or egregious fraud. If punitive damages are awarded, the amount of the award may not exceed two times the amount of compensatory damages awarded.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Ohio. Should you have a question/concern specific to Ohio law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio.