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Rep. Ingram provides sponsor testimony on legislation to ensure citizens receive compensation for damages resulting from emergency vehicle negligence

May 10, 2022
Catherine D. Ingram News

COLUMBUS– State Rep. Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati) today provided sponsor testimony on House Bill (HB) 472, legislation regarding political subdivision liability for motor vehicle operation. Rep. Ingram first introduced this bill in the 132nd General Assembly in response to an incident in Cincinnati in 2015 where a Cincinnati police officer failed to maintain control in a curve and caused an accident with a parked car whose owner was inside the vehicle and sustained injuries. Current state law allowed Cincinnati to avoid paying any compensation to the victim, leaving the citizen with over $12,000 in damage, medical bills and lost wages. She introduced this bill again in the 133rd GA. Several updates have been made to the legislation to address issues raised by stakeholders. 

“HB 472 is about standing up for innocent victims of accidents caused by negligence,” said Rep. Ingram. “This legislation would bring Ohio in line with most states in terms of municipal liability for accidents. HB 472 would protect municipalities when citizens are involved in unlawful activity, but also provide restitution to citizens whose property was damaged through no fault of their own.”

HB 472 would: 

·  Provide that a political subdivision is not liable in damages for the injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by an employee's negligent operation of a motor vehicle if the plaintiff, at the time of the alleged negligence, was attempting to flee from a law enforcement officer so as to avoid apprehension for a criminal offense;

· Repeal existing law's provisions specifying the qualified defenses to a political subdivision's liability for the negligent operation of a motor vehicle by a member of a municipal corporation's police or firefighting agency or member of a political subdivision's emergency medical service while responding to an emergency;

·  Require that any compensatory damages recoverable against a political subdivision be  reduced by the percentage of contributory fault attributable to the plaintiff or other parties subject to the laws on joint and several liability, contributory fault and apportionment of liability.

HB 472 now awaits further hearings in the House Civil Justice Committee.