When you lose a family member due to the negligence of someone else, you are likely to be traumatized and overwhelmed. While no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of someone you hold dear, you could be eligible to bring legal action against the offending party.
A Defiance wrongful death lawyer could help you determine whether you have a case to pursue justice. A compassionate personal injury attorney could help you navigate through this complex and painful process while you focus on spending time with your family.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
State law defines a wrongful death as a fatality caused by the negligent actions or inaction of another individual. According to Ohio Revised Code §2125.01, a person could qualify to file a claim if the decedent would have been eligible to pursue an action for damages caused by the at-fault party’s negligence—had they survived. Because this individual is no longer able to file a claim, however, someone else can pursue a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate and their surviving family.
Who is Eligible to File a Claim After a Fatal Accident?
State law mandates that only a personal representative of the decedent may file one of these claims, rather than an entity such as a corporation. This personal representative is permitted to assert a claim for damages on behalf of any surviving family members and the deceased’s estate. Family members who could receive compensation may include surviving:
Other members of the decedent’s family—such as grandparents or siblings—may not be eligible to receive compensation because the courts do not automatically assume that these parties have suffered damages. However, if these parties can establish that they have incurred compensable losses, they could recover compensation. A seasoned Defiance attorney could help to assess the impact of a fatal accident on the surviving family members in order to determine who might be eligible to file a valid claim.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Defiance?
Under Ohio Revised Code §2125.02, eligible claimants have two years from the date of their loved one’s death in which to file suit. Any attempt to file a lawsuit after the statutory deadline could lead to a dismissal in court.
However, specific circumstances in a case may change how the state’s statute of limitations applies. A Defiance wrongful death attorney could help the claimant understand how the statute of limitations applies to their case and could work to ensure that they meet all legal deadlines.
An attorney in Defiance who is familiar with wrongful death cases could help an individual put together a claim for a variety of damages. Some of these losses may include:
- Loss of the decedent’s services, such as childcare
- Loss of support based on the projected compensation the decedent would have earned had they survived
- Loss of the potential inheritance for the decedent’s spouse or children
- Loss of the advice, counsel, instruction, companionship, or care
- Mental distress suffered by any surviving family
The state’s inheritance laws determine how the courts distribute any awarded damages amongst surviving members of the decedent’s family. Depending on the varying relationships each surviving family member had to the deceased, the court can decide how to allocate the award.
If the family members have equitable relations to the descendant, the court splits the damages equally.
Contact a Defiance Wrongful Death Attorney for Assistance
If you want additional information regarding how state laws might affect your potential claim, a Defiance wrongful death lawyer could assist you. An attorney could also help you determine if you are eligible to present a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate and provide astute counsel at all phases of your case. Call today to learn more and to arrange your case consultation.