Posted: August 23, 2012
There was a great development for personal injury law as one of our 50 states used their own Constitution to overturn caps on non economic damages in malpractice claims. Although I am an Ohio attorney and this decision from the Missouri Supreme Court is not precedent in Ohio, it does have value for personal injury victims everywhere.
Apparently the lock step reaction to cut down the amount those responsible for harming others are required to pay has been halted. Instead of the Chamber of Commerce and big business and insurance interests being bowed down to, the sanctity of the individual and the sanctity of the jury trial were recognized in Missouri in the recent decision. And this bodes well for the rest of the country. Missouri followed states such as Florida and others that have constitutions that state , "The right to a jury trial shall be inviolate."
In Ohio we have a cap on non economic damages. Ohio limits non economic damages to $250,000.00 - $350,000.00. However there is a way around this is some cases. There shall not be a cap on damages if the evidence shows:
(a) Permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system;
(b) Permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.
Nor is there a cap on damages in a fatal accident claim. Medical malpractice has it's own built in cap separate and apart from all other negligence claims.
Although the Ohio statute was held constitutional so had the statute in Missouri. What will cause this to change. Normally it is the make up of the Ohio Supreme Court. Although a Supreme Court Justice is voted in by the public their political affiliation is not listed at the ballot box. So find out the political affiliation of the Judges. It is normally the case that the Democratic justices do not go along with caps on damages. Right now there are 6 Republican justices and one Democratic.
by Anthony Castelli Attorney accident and injury law Cincinnati, Ohio 513-621-2345