Maumee Wrongful Death Attorney
Ohio law defines a wrongful death as one that is caused by the wrongful act, default, or neglect of another. This means that a person can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one if the circumstances of an accident would have entitled the injured party to recover damages if he or she had survived. Unfortunately, filing a wrongful death claim requires compliance with a number of complicated procedural rules, so if you lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, it is important to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney who can represent your interests.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to state law, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim in court for the exclusive benefit of the following individuals:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse;
- Any surviving children; and
- The decedent’s surviving parents.
These individuals will be eligible to collect damages if they can demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident that led to the death of the victim. However, in order to have the opportunity to recover damages, the victim’s personal representative must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. If a plaintiff fails to file before this deadline, the claim will almost always be barred by the court.
Those who file a wrongful death claim are eligible to receive compensation for compensatory damages, which include:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s last injury or illness;
- The lost future income that the victim would have been able to contribute to the household if he or she had survived;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Property damage;
- The loss of the decedent’s services, including child care;
- The loss of the care and companionship of the decedent;
- The loss of an inheritance; and
- The mental anguish suffered by a decedent’s family members as a result of the accident.
How these damages will be distributed is dictated by Ohio’s inheritance laws. Generally, family members who are all related to the decedent in the same degree will split the award equally between themselves. However, if the relatives are related by different degrees, the court will be required to split the damages as it deems appropriate.
There are also certain rules regarding suits that involve a product liability claim. For instance, a decedent’s representative cannot file a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer or supplier of a product if more than ten years have passed since the date that the product was delivered to its first purchaser. However, if a manufacturer or supplier made an express, written warranty that the product would be safe to use for longer than ten years and that time period had not expired at the time of the decedent’s death, a plaintiff will not be barred from filing a claim, even if more than ten years have passed.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
Although collecting damages from an at-fault party could never compensate a victim’s loved ones, it can play a key role in helping grieving families cover medical bills and other expenses, so if one of your relatives recently passed away as the result of an accident, please contact Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC at 419-241-5500 to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case.