Wrongful Death

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Wrongful Death

The sudden loss of a loved one due to the carelessness of another is the worst tragedy imaginable. The trauma and grief can be overwhelming. A lawsuit cannot bring your loved one back or repair the damage done. But it can ensure that the responsible party pays and that neither you nor your loved ones have to pay for expenses caused by this unspeakable tragedy.

You may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim in Ohio if a loved one was lost in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.  Even if there is a criminal prosecution related to your loved one’s death, you still have the right to file a civil action separate from those criminal charges.

Some circumstances that give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit are:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Criminal activity
  • Toxic torts

Damages available in wrongful death cases include compensation for funeral and other final expenses, medical expenses, the loss of the victim’s income, the loss of the victim’s health insurance or other benefits like pension, and the loss of inheritance someone would have otherwise received from that person. A loved one may also be entitled to compensation for mental anguish, the loss of the loved one’s contributions and services in the home, and the loss of the loved one’s companionship and society.

In certain egregious circumstances, punitive damages may be available as well. These damages are rare and are designed to punish the person that caused the harm and to prevent them from behaving that way in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

In most states, a wrongful death lawsuit has to be filed by a representative of the eligible survivors who suffered from the victim’s death. These survivors are called “real parties in interest.” In all states, spouses, children, and the parents of unmarried children may act as representatives to sue the negligent party. In some states, other people – like putative spouses, financial dependents, and grandparents – can also recover damages. Consult an attorney in your state to see if you’re eligible to bring a suit against a responsible party for a loved one’s death.

Plaintiffs in wrongful death suits can pursue both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages may include medical and funeral expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, loss of support and income, and lost prospect of inheritance. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering of both the victim and survivors. In a few states, punitive damages may be ordered where there was egregious misconduct by the defendant, but it is uncommon. Consult an attorney to learn about the statues in your state.

The time it will take to settle your claim is, unfortunately, unpredictable. Most personal injury cases result in a settlement with the defendant or an insurance company.  Most of the time, the larger the claim (or more significant the injuries), the longer it will take to settle a case. A settlement also may take longer if the case is complex or liability is unclear.

Get more answers to frequently asked questions HERE .