Ohio Negligence Laws
When an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in that situation, and it results in an injury of some sort, it is called "negligence." The basis for most civil lawsuits, negligence laws are established at the state level.
Ohio negligence laws follow the modified comparative negligence approach which reduces damages in proportion to the claimant's degree of fault. However, if a claimant is found to be 51% or more at fault for their damages, they are barred from recovering anything.
This article provides a brief overview of negligence laws in the state of Ohio.
Elements of a Negligence Case
Other than differences in comparative and contributory negligence, there is not too much variance in how negligence cases are tried from one state to the next. Generally, plaintiffs must always prove the existence of the following five elements in order to find the defendant liable for negligence:
- Duty — The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, which means they should have acted (or refrained from acting) in a certain way. For instance, a motorist has a duty to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
- Breach of Duty -- The defendant failed to exercise reasonable care and thus breached his/her duty. For example, a motorist fails to stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
- Cause in Fact — Defendant's negligence "in fact" caused the injury. For example, the plaintiffs would not have been injured if not for the defendant's failure to stop at the crosswalk.
- Proximate Cause -- Could the defendant have foreseen that his/her actions would cause the plaintiff's injuries? For example, a motorist who hits a pedestrian in the crosswalk should have foreseen that someone may have been walking in the crosswalk.
- Damages -- The plaintiff was actually harmed by the defendant and can be compensated.
Ohio Negligence Laws: At a Glance
As you can see, negligence cases can get quite complicated. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning you don't pay until you win your case. Therefore, it's often in your best interests to hire an attorney when filing a negligence claim. See FindLaw's Using a Personal Injury Lawyer section for some helpful tips.
The basic provisions of Ohio's negligence laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Negligence section to learn more.
|Code Section||§ 2307 et seq. of the Ohio Revised Code|
|Modified Comparative Negligence||Contributory negligence is not a bar recovery if negligence was not greater than the combined negligence of persons claimant seeks recovery and all other persons claimant does not seek recovery; damages diminished in proportion to the claimant's fault|
|Contributory Negligence — Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery||-|
|Contribution Among Tortfeasors||Yes except if the defendant(s) committed an intentional tort. § 2307.22 and § 2307.25|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Defenses to Negligence Claims
- Contributory and Comparative Negligence
- Official State Codes -- Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and D.C.
Ohio Negligence Laws: Related Resources
Get Help With Your Claim From an Ohio Attorney
Ohio has a variety of different negligence laws that apply to a variety of injuries. If you have a personal injury matter, you should find a local attorney who understands Ohio's rules on modified comparative negligence and tortfeasor contribution. It's in your best interests to contact an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney near you today.
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