AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER ASSISTING CLIENTS WITH BACK INJURY CLAIMS IN OHIO
Car accidents can result in many different types of injuries, including severe back injuries. For many injury victims, back injuries lead to long-term disabilities that require surgeries, rehabilitation and physical therapy, and many visits to various healthcare providers even years after the initial accident happens. Given that there are numerous kinds of back injuries, these injuries can range greatly in terms of severity. In addition, back injuries often prevent car accident victims from working, which can worsen the financial losses associated with the initial crash.
If you suffered a serious back injury in a car accident in Ohio, you should learn more about filing a claim for financial compensation. An experienced Ohio car accident lawyer can discuss your options with you and can get started on your case today.
LEARNING MORE ABOUT BACK INJURIES IN OHIO CAR CRASHES
What kinds of back injuries result from car crashes? And what to injury victims need to know about the severity of back injuries and options for treatment? According to WebMD, severe back injuries commonly result from a car accident in which “one or more of the structures of the back” is affected. A fact sheet from MedlinePlus and the U.S. National Library of Medicine cites the following as common types of back injuries:
- Herniated disks;
- Fractured vertebrae in the spine; and
- Stress fractures in the back.
A report from Spine Health clarifies that the severity of the back injury may depend upon where it is in the victim’s back. For example, upper back injuries, in particular injuries to the thoracic spine, can be especially debilitating. Such upper back injuries may coincide with neck injuries, including paralyzing injuries to the cervical spine. Even lower back injuries, though, can be debilitating and can require months or even years of treatment. Depending upon the type of back injury you experience, the options for treatment can differ. Frequent treatment options for back injuries include but are not limited to:
- Medication to treat pain;
- Bed rest;
- Physical therapy; and/or
In some instances, preexisting conditions can make lead to a more severe back injury in a car accident. For instance, WebMD indicates that “getting older, having a family history of back pain, sitting for long periods, lifting or pulling heavy objects, and having a degenerative disease such as osteoporosis” can mean that a back injury ends up being much more severe and debilitating than it might be in another person. It is important to keep in mind that preexisting conditions that worsen back injuries in motor vehicle collisions do not impact a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages. To be sure, negligent drivers can be liable for any back injuries caused by a collision, even if the plaintiff had underlying conditions that led to a more severe injury.
TYPES OF DAMAGES IN OHIO CAR ACCIDENT LAWSUITS INVOLVING BACK INJURIES
WHILE PERSONAL INJURIES ARE OFTEN REFERRED TO AS ACCIDENTS, THEY ARE OFTEN THE RESULT OF ANOTHER PERSON’S RECKLESS OR NEGLIGENT CONDUCT.
If you do suffer a back injury in an Ohio car accident, what types of damages might you receive if you file a car accident claim? Under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2315.18), plaintiffs who sustain injuries in motor vehicle crashes can be eligible to seek compensatory damages. Like the name suggests, compensatory damages are aimed at compensating a victim for her losses. These losses can include:
- Economic losses: pecuniary (or financial) harm that can include lost wages or salaries, expenditures for medical care or medical treatment, costs of rehabilitation services or physical therapy, necessary medical products or devices, medication costs, and any other financial spending or loss other than attorneys fees associated with the accident.
- Noneconomic losses: unlike economic losses, non-economic losses tend to be more subjective in nature, and they do not come with a fixed dollar amount in terms of compensation. The statute defines non-economic losses as non-pecuniary (nonfinancial) harm that results from an injury and may include pain and suffering, loss of companionship or care, loss of advice and guidance, disfigurement, and mental anguish.
To be clear, compensatory damages can compensate for both economic and noneconomic losses. Depending upon the specific facts of the case, if your back injury happened because of another driver’s particularly egregious behavior, then you also may be eligible to seek punitive damages. Under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2315.21), when a jury or a court determines that a plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages, then that plaintiff may be able to seek punitive or exemplary damages. While punitive damages can be paid to the plaintiff, they are not designed to compensate the plaintiff for a particular loss. Instead, they are aimed at punishing the defendant for particularly harmful behavior. There is a cap on punitive damages.
CONTRIBUTORY FAULT IN OHIO ACCIDENTS RESULTING IN BACK INJURIES
If a plaintiff also behaves negligently and plays a role in the collision that caused her back injuries, can she still recover damages? Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2315.33) says that a plaintiff’s “contributory fault” will only prevent her from recovering damages if she is 51 percent or more responsible for the crash that caused her injuries.
As long as a plaintiff’s fault is not greater than the fault of the defendant (or the combined fault of multiple defendants), then the plaintiff can recover damages, but they will be reduced by the percentage of her fault. For example, imagine a jury decides a plaintiff is entitled to receive a total of $500,000 after suffering a back injury to compensate her for medical bills as well as for pain and suffering. However, that jury also decides that the plaintiff was 20 percent to blame because she was briefly distracted at the time of the accident in which another driver ran a red light. The plaintiff’s award of $500,000 would be reduced by 20 percent, or $100,000. As such, she would recover a total of $400,000.
If the jury determined the plaintiff’s distracted behavior meant that she was 50 percent to blame, she would still recover. However, as soon as she is 51 percent or more responsible, she cannot recover anything.
WORDS FROM OUR CLIENTS
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