What are the damages that can be claimed in a personal injury case?

What are the damages that can be claimed in a personal injury case?

In the realm of personal injury claims, the term “damages” signifies the financial compensation that a plaintiff seeks through legal action. These damages aim to alleviate the hardships caused by an injury or harm, aiming to restore the injured individual to their pre-incident condition.

We understand the importance of comprehending the various types of damages available in personal injury cases, especially here in Columbus, Ohio.

Types of Personal Injury Damages

In personal injury cases, there are three primary types of damages:

  1. Special Damages
  2. General Damages
  3. Punitive Damages

While special and general damages are commonly grouped as ‘compensatory damages’, each serves a distinct purpose in addressing the losses incurred by the injured party.

Let’s go over each of these.

A graph showing the types of personal injury damages

What Are ‘Compensatory Damages’?

Compensatory damages are intended to do just what the name says, “compensate” the injured party for the losses they’ve suffered due to the injury.

These damages come in two forms: special and general.

Special damages – encompass measurable economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. These expenses directly correlate with the financial impact of the injury on the plaintiff.

Examples of Special Damages
– Medical Bills: Costs incurred for necessary medical care.
– Rehabilitation Costs: Expenses related to therapy and recovery.
– Lost Earnings: Income lost due to missed work.
– Property Damage: Costs for repairing or replacing damaged property.
– Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Additional costs resulting from the injury.

How Are Special Damages Calculated?
Calculating special damages involves a thorough evaluation of all economic losses stemming from the injury. Detailed records of expenses, including medical bills and lost wages, are essential for an accurate assessment.

General damages – address non-economic losses that are not easily quantifiable, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.

Examples of General Damages
– Pain and Suffering: Physical discomfort endured due to the injury.
– Emotional Distress: Psychological impact caused by the injury.
– Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Impairment of daily activities and hobbies.
– Disfigurement or Physical Impairment: Permanent changes resulting from the injury.

How Are General Damages Calculated?
Calculating general damages involves considering various factors, including the severity and duration of pain and suffering, emotional impact, and impact on daily life.

What Are ‘Punitive Damages’?

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded to punish the defendant for reckless or intentional misconduct. These damages serve to deter similar behavior in the future.

Examples of Punitive Damages
– Gross Negligence: Extreme carelessness resulting in harm.
– Fraud: Intentional deception causing injury.
– Defamation: False information damaging reputation.
– Malicious Conduct: Intentional harm inflicted on the plaintiff.
– Violations of Rights: Egregious disregard for the plaintiff’s rights.

How Are Punitive Damages Calculated?
The calculation of punitive damages considers the severity of misconduct, harm caused, defendant’s financial status, and comparative case law.

A personal injury attorney can get you the full amount of compensation possible.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. Charles Bendig is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of your case. We offer free consultations and personalized guidance to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Reach out to us today to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Your journey toward justice begins with us.

Can You File a Personal Injury Case Against Governmental Entities?

Can You File a Personal Injury Case Against Governmental Entities?

Can You File a Personal Injury Case Against Governmental Entities like the City of Columbus, the Town of Springfield, or COTA?

Accidents resulting in personal injuries can occur unexpectedly, anywhere, and to anyone. Whether you slip and fall in a government-owned facility or in a collision involving a government-operated vehicle, the question arises: can you pursue legal action against the responsible government entity?

In general, yes, you can initiate a personal injury lawsuit against a governmental entity… if you can substantiate that their negligence or misconduct led to your injury.

This article will explore the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against governmental entities.

1. Make sure you have grounds to file.

The first prerequisite is establishing that the governmental entity’s employee was performing duties within the scope of their employment when the injury occurred. For instance, if a municipal employee causes a vehicular accident while operating a city-owned vehicle during work hours, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the municipality for the damages sustained.

2. Consider the statute of limitations.

In most instances, the timeframe for filing a claim against the government is shorter compared to filing against a private entity. It is imperative to submit a notice of claim or intent to sue within a stipulated period, as failure to do so could result in the dismissal of your claim. The initial requirement is to submit a notice of claim or intent within a designated timeframe, typically ranging from 30 days to 6 months, contingent upon the specific agency involved.

3. Proof of negligence is crucial.

Dealing with governmental entities adds further complexity to the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. For example, COTA operates as a quasi-governmental entity, affording it some level of immunity from lawsuits. However, if you can demonstrate that COTA’s negligent or intentional actions directly contributed to your injury, you may be eligible for compensation.

To summarize, while it is feasible to pursue a personal injury case against the government, the process is intricate. You must adhere to specific procedural requirements, including filing a notice of claim or intent to sue within the prescribed timeframe, establishing that the government employee acted within the scope of their employment, and demonstrating that their negligence or wrongful conduct resulted in your injury.

If you have sustained a personal injury, you need guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the complex claims process and pursue rightful compensation. We have over 40 years of experience pursuing personal injury claims against the government. Don’t wait. Give us a call.

What It Means To Die Intestate

What It Means To Die Intestate

Intestate simply means if you die without a Will.

If you have a close relative die without leaving a will, you’ll be faced with some complexities, but you can get through them if you know the rules.

First, it’s important to know how an estate is distributed in the absence of a will. To start with, many assets aren’t passed by will, such as:

  • Life insurance proceeds.
  • Real estate, bank accounts and assets held in joint tenancy/community property with the right of survivorship.
  • Property held in a living trust.
  • IRAs, 401(k)s and retirement plans — assuming a beneficiary was named.
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts.
  • Stocks or other securities held in a transfer-on-death account.
  • Real estate or vehicles held with a transfer-on-death deed or title document.

Ohio State law provides a list of people eligible to fill the role of executor, of which, the surviving spouse is the first choice. Adult children, typically being next on the list, then followed by other family members. In order to be named an executor, you must be bonded by a private insurance company. Section 2109.09 sets forth the bond requirements of an Ohio Executor.

If you’ve been named as executor, you’ll follow the intestate laws for inheritance rules; spouses and blood relatives inherit, and unmarried partners, friends, and charities get nothing.

More specifically, a surviving spouse will receive the largest share while splitting the inheritance with any children. In the case where there are no children, the spouse often receives all the property.

However, there may be exceptions based on state law. More distant relatives will inherit only if there is no surviving spouse and no children. If no relatives can be found, the state will take the assets.

It’s important to note that all states have rules that bar certain people from inheriting, based on past actions. For example,
– someone who is found guilty of criminally causing the death does not profit from it
– a parent who abandoned a child or committed certain crimes against a child cannot inherit from that child

There are exceptions.

Separated couples: if a couple had separated prior to the death of their spouse, or if divorce proceedings had begun, the issue of whether the surviving member is still considered a surviving spouse may have to go before a court.

Common law marriages: The State of Ohio does not recognize cohabitation and/or domestic partnership as a legal marriage, and there is no longer any confusion about same-sex married couples, as their situation is exactly the same as any other married couple.

Children/Stepchildren/Foster children:
– Legally adopted children will inherit under normal circumstances.
– For stepchildren, it depends on the circumstances of the relationship.
– Foster children normally do not inherit.
– Adoption situations can further complicate things. In the case of underage children requiring a guardian, a judge will make that decision.

The bottom line? Working closely with an estate attorney can help greatly in these situations. Contact Chuck Bendig for a free case review.

How to Choose Your Power of Attorney

How to Choose Your Power of Attorney

Selecting a power of attorney (POA) is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your life and well-being, especially in situations where you may be unable to make decisions for yourself. Whether you’re planning for the future or facing a sudden need, choosing the right person for this role is essential.

Having this legal designation brings peace of mind. However, the decision of who to designate as your power of attorney is not so simple. Here are a few insightful tips on choosing your power of attorney.

Understand the Basics:

  • Know what a power of attorney is: A legal document that grants someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Different types of POAs: Durable, general, limited, medical, financial, and more. Identify which type(s) you need.

Identify Potential Candidates:

  • Consider trusted family members, friends, or professionals who are reliable and have your best interests at heart.
  • Discuss your intentions with potential candidates to gauge their willingness and ability to take on the role.

Assess Trustworthiness:

  • Trust is paramount. Choose someone with a track record of honesty, responsibility, and integrity.
  • Ensure your candidate can separate their interests from yours and make decisions in your best interest.

Legal Competence:

  • Your chosen power of attorney should have a good understanding of the legal responsibilities and obligations associated with the role.
  • They should be capable of managing your affairs, whether financial, medical, or other.

Communication Skills:

  • Effective communication is crucial. Your POA must be able to understand your wishes and convey them clearly to others.
  • Regular and open communication between you and your attorney is essential for a successful partnership.

Proximity and Availability:

  • Ideally, your power of attorney should be geographically close and readily available in case of emergencies.
  • Consider their existing commitments and availability to ensure they can fulfill the role when needed.

Backup Plans:

  • It’s wise to appoint an alternative or successor attorney in case your primary choice becomes unable or unwilling to act.
  • Ensure your chosen backup has the same qualities and meets the same criteria as your primary attorney.

Seek Legal Advice:

  • Consult with an attorney to draft the power of attorney document properly.
  • Make sure the document complies with your state’s laws and includes specific powers and limitations.

Regular Reviews:

  • Periodically review and update your power of attorney, especially when circumstances or relationships change.
  • Confirm that your chosen attorney is still willing and able to take on the role.

Inform Loved Ones:

  • Let your family and close friends know about your decision and the identity of your chosen power of attorney.
  • Sharing this information can prevent disputes or confusion in the future.

Selecting a power of attorney is a significant decision that should be made carefully. It’s a role that requires trust, competence, and effective communication. By following the guidelines provided in this blog, you can ensure that your chosen power of attorney is well-prepared to make important decisions on your behalf when the need arises. Remember, a well-chosen power of attorney can offer peace of mind during challenging times.

This is your decision and only your decision. When you’re ready to assign a power of attorney or to begin your estate planning process, give us a call and we’ll start the process for you.

Call Chuck Bendig (614) 878-7777

Making home safer for elderly loved ones.

Making home safer for elderly loved ones.

With loved ones living longer and needing more care, many families struggle with the best way to help an aging relative. Completing a home modification geared towards accessibility and safety can help your loved one maintain independence and enjoy aging in place in familiar surroundings.

While it may seem like an expensive undertaking, there are a plethora of organizations and grants to help cover what Medicare doesn’t.

Contacting Ohio’s Agency on Aging can be helpful, as well as community development departments or local government programs.

Check out grants from organizations such as Rebuilding Together, which is a national nonprofit organization that helps with home modifications to promote safety and independence.

Here are some remodeling suggestions:


  • Install brighter bulbs everywhere. New LED bulbs also reduce power consumption while making it easier to see.


  • Expand doorways to accommodate walkers, wheelchairs or mobility scooters, which don’t always fit through standard-sized doorways.
  • Adding a wheelchair ramp should be one of the first things on your list, as it eliminates the need to climb stairs to enter the home.
  • Consider replacing doorknobs with lever handles that are easier to grip and don’t require a twisting motion.
  • If your loved one is restricted by a wheelchair, they can’t reach the peephole to see who is knocking. Consider installing a camera for the door(s). There are many to choose from (Google Nest , Ring, Amazon, etc) and it is not essential to use a smartphone. There are easy to use and easy to see displays for the counter or end table.
  • Make sure there is a sturdy rug to prevent slip/fall from wet shoes.


  • Unless you move your loved one’s bedroom downstairs and eliminate any need to access the second floor of the house, you will need a stairway lift or at least, carpeted stairs or non-slip treads.
  • If a chair lift isn’t yet needed, be sure there are strong railings at every staircase.


  • Remove throw rugs, as they can easily become trip hazards.
  • Replacing flooring with a slip-resistant material such as vinyl, linoleum, bamboo or cork can give good traction while being more forgiving than tile or hardwood if they fall.
  • The 3M company makes traction strips with adhesive backing – just peel and stick. They are available for the interior, exterior, and bathtub/shower applications. You can find them in local hardware stores, Home Depot/Lowes, or Amazon.


  • Adjust the temperature of the hot water heater to prevent burns. On the water heater, there is a knob with temperature markings – keep it beneath 120° F.
  • Install grab bars to help prevent falls.
  • Add textured, non-slip strips in the bathtub and shower.
  • A waterproof seat or chair in the shower can also be a big help.
  • High-profile toilets make sitting and standing easier – again install grab bars.
  • If your loved one is in a wheelchair or uses a walker, consider a pedestal or wall-mounted sink that a mobility device can fit beneath.
  • Consider replacing the sink mirror with one that tilts downward.
    ADA Standards for accessible design


  • Adjust kitchen countertops if a wheelchair is needed so they are able to access them to prepare food.
  • Remove obstructions and trip-hazards (e.g., trash cans, bar stools, etc).
  • Move the contents of the top shelves down to lower shelves to reduce the reach.

It’s important to keep in mind, Medicare or private insurance usually covers medical equipment that’s installed in the home and there are home improvement grants to help with expenses, depending on your income and where you live. You can find more information on the Department of Health and Human Services’ ElderCare.gov website.

Encourage your loved one to update or complete their estate plans. There are really 5 basic estate planning documents:

  1. Will
  2. Durable Power of Attorney
  3. Healthcare Power of Attorney
  4. Living Will
  5. Revocable Trust

It is a great gift to have everything in order when they pass. It can keep your family strong and minimize taxes. Their savings and possessions can help the people that they love.

It starts with a conversation. Call estate planning attorney Chuck Bendig @ 614.878.7777 or visit our website for answers to frequently asked questions and details.

What happens to her if something happens to you?

What happens to her if something happens to you?

It sounds simple; You just want to give your assets to the people you love in a way that provides for those that can’t provide for themselves and avoids fighting so the family stays strong.

Should I download a Will template or should I meet with a lawyer?

Family structures have gotten pretty complex in the last few decades. With many couples electing to not marry and live together with or without having children, with divorce rates over 60%, and remarriages extending core families, there are lots of horror stories stemming from Wills that weren’t written properly. Loopholes and estate plan ambiguity can provoke your loved ones to contest your Will and file lawsuits to claim what is “rightfully theirs”. Ohio inheritance laws update frequently. Uncle Sam may (but not often) want a piece, how can you minimize the tax? An estate lawyer can be extremely helpful.

What is actually yours to give?

If you’re married, divorced with children, or have contracts (i.e. prenuptial agreements and/or certain trusts), you may have restrictions.

What should your Will include?

Here are a few basics:

Beneficiaries are people you choose to receive real property or personal property in the form of cash or assets. It’s common to name your spouse, children, friends, charities, or other family members.

Executor is the individual who will carry out what’s written in your Will. You can choose whomever you like, but most people choose a responsible friend or family member. If you don’t name an executor, often this job falls into the hands of an administrator who has to pay for a bond.

Parental guardian: If you are caring for young children, it’s important to name the person(s) you want to raise your children should you pass away. Since this is a major life endeavor for the person or people you name, list a few individuals in case one or two of them are not in a position to take on this role at the time of your death.

What should be left out of your Will?

Conditional gifts: You are not allowed to leave conditional gifts, such as bequeathing money to a beneficiary on the condition that they get married, get divorced or make some other life change. Although it may make for a good movie plot, in real life, it’s just not legal.

Final arrangements instructions: Your Will is typically not read until after the funeral, so your requests may not be carried out.

Allocate property to pets: Pets cannot legally inherit any assets. This kind of thing happens more often than you would think! Create a Pet Trust and leave assets in the care of a Trustee for the benefit of your pets.

Should I include a personal note?

You can attach a personal note to your Will as a way to say goodbye to loved ones. It’s a good way to personalize a somewhat sterile document. Some people leave a video.

Your Will may not be the only part of an estate plan. Various trusts can be of enormous help and may have advantages over a Will. You also can leave assets to transfer at death outside of Probate Court. The most important thing is to make sure your Will is as clear as possible so that your wishes are fulfilled correctly.

Contact Estate Planning Attorney Chuck Bendig to get started.