Although most people have heard of the phrase “wrongful death,” few are aware of the actual legal implications of filing a wrongful death claim. Essentially, a wrongful death occurs when someone loses his or her life as a result of the intentional misconduct or negligence of another person. Although no amount of money can compensate someone for the loss of a loved one, recovering damages in a wrongful death suit is one of the best ways to ensure that a grieving family can pay off medical debt and begin the process of moving on with their lives. Unfortunately, filing a wrongful death claim can be difficult, especially if a significant amount of time has passed since the accident occurred, so if you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is critical to contact an experienced Findlay wrongful death attorney who can walk you through the legal process.
Ohio law specifically defines a wrongful death as a death caused by one of the following:
As long as the accident would have given rise to a lawsuit if the victim had survived, that individual’s family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. These types of suits are considered civil actions, which unlike their criminal counterparts, only require the at-fault party to pay damages to the plaintiff. However, in some situations, an accident could give rise to both types of lawsuits. If, for example, someone caused an accident because he or she was intoxicated and the victim passed away, the at-fault party could be tried in criminal court by the state and by the family of the deceased in civil court. Fortunately, even when a person is found not guilty in a criminal action, he or she can still be found liable for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. This is because Ohio law uses different standards of proof in criminal and civil cases. In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while in civil cases, the plaintiff must only prove the defendant’s fault by a preponderance of the evidence. The latter is a much lower standard and so easier to meet.
Unfortunately, there is a wide range of possible ways that a person can lose his or her life as a result of someone else’s negligence. While car accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death, hundreds of victims also lose their lives in Ohio as a result of:
Regardless of the cause, if an accident was the result of intentional misconduct or negligence on the part of another person, that individual or entity can be held liable in court.
Only certain individuals are permitted to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one, so if you recently lost a relative in an accident, please contact Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC at 419-241-5500 to speak with a dedicated and compassionate wrongful death lawyer.
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