The 2005 Ohio Tort Reform Law requires Ohio courts hearing personal injury lawsuits to grant requests for bifurcation of trials when both compensatory and punitive damages are sought. In other words, two trials may be required in some personal injury cases. The constitutionality of the tort reform law was challenged in a case called Havel v. Villa St. Joseph. Ordinarily, the Ohio Supreme Court gets to make the rules and judges get to decide whether to bifurcate a trial. The Ohio Tort Reform Law was basically the legislature telling the judicial branch how to run their courtrooms during personal injury trials. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the bifurcation requirement created the right to demand a bifurcation. The Ohio Supreme Court noted that the General Assembly intended to reform punitive damages law in Ohio in order to restore balance, fairness, and predictability to the civil justice system. The law was designed to prevent juries from considering evidence of misconduct in determining liability and compensatory damages.
Basically, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio Tort Reform Law was here to stay. There are a number of old cases where a company determined the cost of fixing a dangerous product was greater than the cost of losing personal injury and product liability cases, even when the injury would likely be quite severe, or even fatal. When large, unpredictable jury awards helped to put an end to such cost-benefit analysis, it helped make the world a safer place. Essentially, the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio General Assembly, through Ohio Tort Reform, authorized a setback to this concept in the name of predictability.
To learn more, read my other related personal injury posts, where I wrote about medical bills in Ohio personal injury cases, slip and fall personal injury cases in Ohio, negligent entrustment, Ohio traffic accident tips, Ohio personal injury tips, Don’t forget to look at my personal injury page.
Attorney Gigiano is a Medina County personal injury lawyer in Wadsworth. His dedication to his client’s interests has earned high reviews of Daniel Gigiano in numerous websites. His willingness to take on tough cases and work hard has also resulted in articles and links to his work. If you have questions about this or other questions you need answered by an experienced Wooster personal injury attorney near Orrville or an Akron personal injury lawyer near Barberton, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330.