Monday, February 11, 2013
How is negligence defined in an Ohio personal injury case?
The courts define negligence as a failure to exercise care as a normally sensible person would. Learn how comparative negligence in Ohio might affect your case.
What is negligence? The courts define negligence in an Ohio personal injury case as the failure to exercise the degree of care that another sensible person would exercise under similar circumstances.
The state of Ohio follows the comparative negligence law, which essentially allows an injured party to seek compensation for injuries even if he or she was partly responsible for the accident. This is a vast improvement from the old contributory negligence law, which stipulated that if an injured party was found to be even 1 percent at fault in an accident, he or she could not collect any compensation.
Defining Negligence: How Negligence is Determined
But how do you determine if somebody is negligent? As mentioned above, it is generally found to be a deviation from behavior or actions considered to be reasonable given a particular situation. Failure to take reasonable care could indicate that the party is negligent.
For example, most reasonable people would realize that weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed is dangerous and could cause an accident. This behavior could be considered negligent. Drivers who engage in this behavior and cause an accident can be found to have acted negligently and held liable for resultant damages.
The plaintiff will have the burden of proof in establishing another’s negligence. So if you are seeking compensation for your accident, you’ll need to demonstrate the other party’s liability for the accident and your resultant injuries and damages. You’ll need to show that the other party:
• had a duty of care;
• acted in a negligent manner; and
• his or her actions caused your injuries.
How Comparative Negligence Works
In a personal injury case, the parties involved will share the costs of the damages proportionate to their degree of fault for the accident. In other words, your settlement amount will be reduced by your degree of fault, as determined by the courts and/or insurance adjuster.
However, parties in Ohio must be no more than 50 percent at fault for the accident in order to collect damages.
For example, if a victim were in a car accident and suffered extensive injuries due to another driver’s negligence, the victim could pursue recompense by filing a personal injury claim.
If the victim was determined to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, his or her settlement amount would be reduced by 20 percent; e.g., a $100,000 damage award would be reduced to $80,000.
Getting Ohio Legal Counsel for Your Case
Because proving liability and minimizing your degree of fault in a personal injury case is vital to a successful resolution. you’ll likely want to speak to a Westerville attorney familiar with personal injury cases to ensure matters are handled appropriately.
At Bressman Law, we make serving clients compassionately and respectfully our priority. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at (614) 538-1116 and receive clarification on any of your legal questions, such as how to define negligence and how comparative negligence affects your case.