Lost Wages and Emotional Distress After a Car Accident

Can you sue for lost wages and emotional distress after a car accident? The short answer is yes, you can recover for wage loss and emotional damages after car accidents. The law in Ohio strives to make an injured party “whole” after they have been involved in a car accident. However, the word “whole” takes on a different meaning depending on the situation. The categories of damages under Ohio Law are compensatory, non-economic and punitive. Let’s take a look at how these damages work in the context of an injury accident.

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Compensatory Damages For Car Accidents

The first, and often, largest type of damages is what is called Compensatory damages. These are damages that are intended to compensate a victim of a car accident for the economic loss they have incurred. According to Ohio Revised Code 2315.18, economic loss means:

  • All wages, salaries, or other compensation lost as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action;
  • All expenditures for medical care or treatment, rehabilitation services, or other care, treatment, services, products, or accommodations as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action;
  • Any other expenditures incurred as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action, other than attorney’s fees incurred in connection with that action.

As such, Ohio law – under ORC section 2315.18(2)a – permits a victim of a car accident to recover all wages, salaries or other compensation lost as a result of the car accident. However, it is critical to obtain the appropriate proof of this loss – which usually involves your Attorney working directly with you employer to provide verification of the loss.

It’s worth noting that the law in Ohio does not contain any limitation on the amount of compensation one may receive for this type of loss after a car accident injury. As outlined below, Non-Economic damages in Ohio are not treated the same.


Non-Economic Damages for Car Accidents

Having handled countless car accident matters, the lawyers at Sawan & Sawan know that the damage caused by a car accident carries well beyond the physical injuries. Long after broken bones have healed, our clients often report fear of getting in a car, trouble sleeping or heightened anxiety. There can be loss of a relationship with loved ones due to a serious injury – called loss of consortium. Our clients also often report significant pain and suffering after an injury causing accident. Ohio Law recognizes this reality, and permits for non-economic damages to protect injured parties in these circumstances. Under Ohio Revised Code 2315.(2)a, Non-Economic damages are defined as:

Non-pecuniary harm that results from an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action, including, but not limited to, pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.

However, please be aware that non-economic damages are subject to a variety of limitations and caps in Ohio. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer is vital to determine how these limitations may impact your claim


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Punitive Damages For Car Accidents

In rare circumstances, punitive damages may be available to deter certain particularly egregious behavior involving a car accident claim. In order for an injured party to succeed on a request for punitive damages, the Plaintiff must prove that:

The actions or omissions of that defendant demonstrate malice or aggravated or egregious fraud, or that defendant as principal or master knowingly authorized, participated in, or ratified actions or omissions of an agent or servant that so demonstrate.

While exceedingly rare, there are circumstances that warrant such an award. In order to determine if your specific situation might lead to such an award, it is best to speak with a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Christopher A. Sawan


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