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What Is A Catastrophic Injury?

It’s been one of the toughest periods of our lives. The pandemic, the economy, the rapidly changing world brought difficult challenges we’ve never had to face before. None of that matters much to you, however, because you’ve been seriously injured. And the injury was caused, you think, by medical malpractice. Your focus naturally is on what to do about it. Here is some information to help you understand your options.

Ohio’s Medical Malpractice Rules on Damages

As you consider your options, you need to understand a bit about Ohio law on damages in medical malpractice cases. In Ohio medical malpractice cases, there are two types of damages to which you might be entitled: economic damages and non-economic damages. These damages are to help you respond to the multiple effects the medical malpractice injury has had on your life, both temporarily and permanently.

Economic damages include loss of wages and future earning capacity, past and future medical bills, costs for necessary medical equipment and caregivers. Non-economic damages are for physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, damaged or lost bodily functions, etc.

There is no limit or “cap” on the amount of “economic damages” that may be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, as a result of harsh “tort reform” laws passed in 2003, there is a hard cap on the amount of “non-economic” damages that may be recovered in a medical malpractice case. Unless you have suffered a “catastrophic injury,” the cap is $250,000 or three times the amount of the economic loss, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of $350,000 per individual or $500,000 per occurrence.

Now let’s discuss “catastrophic” injuries.

Is Your Injury Catastrophic?

According to Ohio law ( ), a catastrophic injury is: (a) Permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system; or (b) Permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life sustaining activities.

To put this in non-legal language, a catastrophic injury is an injury so serious that the victim has been left with significant, permanent damage. In fact, as described below, many cases of catastrophic injuries are caused by physical harm to the brain or spinal cord that often have a severe short- and long-term impact on a person’s ability to function.

Types Of Catastrophic Injuries

Generally, there are three types of catastrophic injuries in Ohio:

Physical injuries : amputation, severe burns, organ damage or removal, and orthopedic limb injury and deformity.

Spinal cord or peripheral nerve injuries : damage to the spinal cord or peripheral nerves, resulting in permanent mobility issues for survivors, as in paralysis in one or more limbs.

Cognitive injuries : arising from brain damage, affecting a person’s ability to work, speak, remember, and reason. These often are the most costly of catastrophic injuries.

Basically, catastrophic injuries can be described as injuries that result in permanent physical functional injury, preventing victims from being able to care for themselves, or to perform life-sustaining activities.

Importantly, these catastrophic injuries typically affect not just the victims but their families as well. Caring for people with mobility or cognitive limitations is emotionally taxing, and it sometimes forces working spouses to either quit their jobs to become full-time caregivers or to hire a caretaker, often at great cost. Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries many times result in limited futures for the victims.

Damages From a Catastrophic Medical Malpractice Injury

Even if your medical malpractice catastrophic injury is proven in an Ohio court, the amount of non-economic damages you may recover is still capped! While the cap is slightly higher, you are still limited to damages of $500,000 per individual and $1,000,000 per occurrence.

If you had suffered the very same catastrophic injuries as a result of a car accident, slip and fall, or some other non-medical situation, there would be NO CAP on the non-economic damages you could recover. Why are victims of a medical mistake treated differently under Ohio law than victims of a driving mistake? It is unfair and violates the Ohio constitution, but the Ohio Supreme Court has yet to address this specific issue.

The Eisen Law Firm – Catastrophic Medical Malpractice Injury Lawyers

Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex legal matters. For you to obtain the compensation you deserve, you will want to enlist an experienced medical malpractice attorney. With more than 40 years of experience handling malpractice cases, The Eisen Law Firm is adept at exposing harmful mistakes by doctors and holding them accountable to the victims who suffer dearly from those mistakes. Our skilled trial attorneys are ready to evaluate your situation thoroughly, explain the legal options available to you, and work tirelessly to get you as much compensation as possible from those medical professionals who have caused you such tragedy. Find out more about how The Eisen Law Firm can assist you by calling (216) 687-0900 or by contacting us online today.