2323.43 Limitation on compensatory damages that represent economic loss.

(A) In a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim to recover damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property, all of the following apply:

(1) There shall not be any limitation on compensatory damages that represent the economic loss of the person who is awarded the damages in the civil action.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in division (A)(3) of this section, the amount of compensatory damages that represents damages for noneconomic loss that is recoverable in a civil action under this section to recover damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property shall not exceed the greater of two hundred fifty thousand dollars or an amount that is equal to three times the plaintiff's economic loss, as determined by the trier of fact, to a maximum of three hundred fifty thousand dollars for each plaintiff or a maximum of five hundred thousand dollars for each occurrence.

(3) The amount recoverable for noneconomic loss in a civil action under this section may exceed the amount described in division (A)(2) of this section but shall not exceed five hundred thousand dollars for each plaintiff or one million dollars for each occurrence if the noneconomic losses of the plaintiff are for either of the following:

(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.

(B) If a trial is conducted in a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim to recover damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property and a plaintiff prevails with respect to that claim, the court in a nonjury trial shall make findings of fact, and the jury in a jury trial shall return a general verdict accompanied by answers to interrogatories, that shall specify all of the following:

(1) The total compensatory damages recoverable by the plaintiff;

(2) The portion of the total compensatory damages that represents damages for economic loss;

(3) The portion of the total compensatory damages that represents damages for noneconomic loss.

(C)

(1) After the trier of fact in a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim to recover damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property complies with division (B) of this section, the court shall enter a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for compensatory damages for economic loss in the amount determined pursuant to division (B)(2) of this section, and, subject to division (D)(1) of this section, the court shall enter a judgment in favor of the plaintiff for compensatory damages for noneconomic loss. In no event shall a judgment for compensatory damages for noneconomic loss exceed the maximum recoverable amount that represents damages for noneconomic loss as provided in divisions (A)(2) and (3) of this section. Division (A) of this section shall be applied in a jury trial only after the jury has made its factual findings and determination as to the damages.

(2) Prior to the trial in the civil action, any party may seek summary judgment with respect to the nature of the alleged injury or loss to person or property, seeking a determination of the damages as described in division (A)(2) or (3) of this section.

(D)

(1) A court of common pleas has no jurisdiction to enter judgment on an award of compensatory damages for noneconomic loss in excess of the limits set forth in this section.

(2) If the trier of fact is a jury, the court shall not instruct the jury with respect to the limit on compensatory damages for noneconomic loss described in divisions (A)(2) and (3) of this section, and neither counsel for any party nor a witness shall inform the jury or potential jurors of that limit.

(E) Any excess amount of compensatory damages for noneconomic loss that is greater than the applicable amount specified in division (A)(2) or (3) of this section shall not be reallocated to any other tortfeasor beyond the amount of compensatory damages that that tortfeasor would otherwise be responsible for under the laws of this state.

(F)

(1) If pursuant to a contingency fee agreement between an attorney and a plaintiff in a civil action upon a medical claim, dental claim, optometric claim, or chiropractic claim, the amount of the attorney's fees exceed the applicable amount of the limits on compensatory damages for noneconomic loss as provided in division (A)(2) or (3) of this section, the attorney shall make an application in the probate court of the county in which the civil action was commenced or in which the settlement was entered. The application shall contain a statement of facts, including the amount to be allocated to the settlement of the claim, the amount of the settlement or judgment that represents the compensatory damages for economic loss and noneconomic loss, the relevant provision in the contingency fee agreement, and the dollar amount of the attorney's fees under the contingency fee agreement. The application shall include the proposed distribution of the amount of the judgment or settlement.

(2) The attorney shall give written notice of the hearing and a copy of the application to all interested persons who have not waived notice of the hearing. Notwithstanding the waivers and consents of the interested persons, the probate court shall retain jurisdiction over the settlement, allocation, and distribution of the claim.

(3) The application shall state the arrangements, if any, that have been made with respect to the attorney's fees. The attorney's fees shall be subject to the approval of the probate court.

(G) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) Civil actions upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim that are brought against the state in the court of claims, including, but not limited to, those actions in which a state university or college is a defendant and to which division (B)(3) of section 3345.40 of the Revised Code applies;

(2) Civil actions upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim that are brought against political subdivisions of this state and that are commenced under or are subject to Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code. Division (C) of section 2744.05 of the Revised Code applies to recoverable damages in those actions;

(3) Wrongful death actions brought pursuant to Chapter 2125. of the Revised Code.

(H) As used in this section:

(1) "Economic loss" means any of the following types of pecuniary harm:

(a) All wages, salaries, or other compensation lost as a result of an injury, death, or loss to person or property that is a subject of a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim;

(b) All expenditures for medical care or treatment, rehabilitation services, or other care, treatment, services, products, or accommodations as a result of an injury, death, or loss to person or property that is a subject of a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim;

(c) Any other expenditures incurred as a result of an injury, death, or loss to person or property that is a subject of a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim, other than attorney's fees incurred in connection with that action.

(2) "Medical claim, dental claim," "optometric claim," and "chiropractic claim" have the same meanings as in section 2305.113 of the Revised Code.

(3) "Noneconomic loss" means nonpecuniary harm that results from an injury, death, or loss to person or property that is a subject of a civil action upon a medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic claim, 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.

(4) "Trier of fact" means the jury or, in a nonjury action, the court.

Cite as R.C. § 2323.43

History. Effective Date: 04-11-2003