If your loved one has died due to the negligence of another in Ohio, you may be entitled to recover damages by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit compensates the victim’s family for losses that result from the victim’s death.
The deceased might have died as a result of medical malpractice, a car accident, a slip and fall mishap, a product defect, or any other form of negligent action. After a wrongful death, you may need help navigating through the various legal complexities of the ensuing civil case to recover damages.
A Liberty Center wrongful death lawyer could help you determine whether the defendant in your case is liable, and if so, what kinds of damages you may be entitled to. Contact an established personal accident attorney right away.
What is the Legal Definition of Wrongful Death?
Ohio Revised Statutes §2125.01 defines wrongful death as one caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. That essentially means that someone fell short of a duty that they owed to the victim, and in doing so directly caused their death.
Proceedings for wrongful death suits and survival claims begin in probate court. O.R.C. §2125.02 requires that the “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate bring the claim to court on behalf of all beneficiaries. The claim can ask for damages on behalf of the deceased’s estate and for surviving family members.
The personal representative is the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. They typically choose the lawyer to handle the wrongful death lawsuit and ask the court to authorize the selection. The guidance of a Liberty Center wrongful death lawyer may be necessary to effectively structure a wrongful death lawsuit and to move estate proceedings through probate court, which can be a very complicated process.
Recovering Damages for a Wrongful Death
Family members who can sue for losses caused by wrongful death include the victim’s surviving spouse, children and parents. Other family members may recover damages if they can show they suffered a compensable loss as a direct result of their loved one’s death.
Recovery for a wrongful death lawsuit can include economic damages such as:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages of the deceased
- Lost earning potential of the deceased
- Medical bills of the deceased
- Loss of benefits (pension, insurance, etc.)
- Loss of services that the deceased had provided, such as home maintenance and transportation costs
Recovery for non-economic damages, on the other hand, may require evaluating mental anguish resulting from the death, as well as the loss of the care, companionship, instruction, and relational aspects of the deceased person.
Calculating damages in a wrongful death claim can be challenging in both categories, especially for intangible losses. That is why calling a Liberty Center wrongful death attorney may be imperative to the pursuit of satisfactory compensation in such a case.
Distribution of Damages Process
The money recovered in a survival action is distributed according to the existing Will of the deceased, while damages from a wrongful death action are distributed according to the rules outlined in O.R.C. §2125.03(A)(1). Family members who are related to the victim to the same degree receive equal amounts. If the degree of relation is not equal, a Liberty Center lawyer could help determine a fair distribution.
Ohio courts allow two years after a fatal accident for family members of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Exceptions can apply if a family is not made aware of the negligence that caused the decedent’s death until after the two-year period concludes. Because of these deadlines, time may of the essence in your case. As soon as you are ready, contact a compassionate Liberty Center wrongful death lawyer and take action against the parties responsible for your loss.