A loved one's death is never easy. The aftermath is painful no matter what the circumstances. However, wrongful death is arguable the most difficult of all. Losing a family member because of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing is incredibly hard and can leave the survivors feeling lost.
Contacting a Columbus wrongful death lawyer in these cases is the best way to get justice for the victim and gain the necessary support for the surviving family members. A wrongful death case is often complicated and emotional, so it is essential to have an experienced professional to guide and assist.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio involves complicated legal proceedings and potentially drawn-out negotiations. Those who lost loved ones should not have to deal with it alone, which is where The Keating Firm comes in.
Here is all you need to know about wrongful death cases in Columbus, Ohio, and how an experienced attorney can help.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
In short, a wrongful death claim is valid when a person died as the direct result of a person's negligence. A wrongful act is classed as failure to provide a duty of care and responsibility that caused a fatal incident.
There must be evidence that there was a duty of care owed and that it was breached in order to make a successful wrongful death case.
Car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death in the USA and most of the world, accounting for tens of thousands of fatalities every year. Every driver has a duty of care to other road users to operate their vehicle safely and legally. Failure to do so could cause accidents and deaths, leaving the driver exposed to liability.
Medical malpractice and workplace accidents also account for high percentages of wrongful death cases. There are roughly 90,000 malpractice lawsuits brought against US doctors annually, many of which tie to a larger wrongful death lawsuit. Employers who fail to provide a safe and compliant workplace are also at risk of being held liable for a person's death.
The Ohio Wrongful Death Statute
There are three key elements to any wrongful death claim in Ohio: the person filing the claim, when the incident occurred, and what specific damages were suffered.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Columbus, Ohio?
According to Ohio law, only a personal representative named in the deceased person's estate can legally file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. If there is nobody named, the court can assign someone during probate.
Surviving family members that can pursue a claim include children, parents, and a surviving spouse in certain circumstances. However, it must be the named personal representative who takes the lead.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit in Ohio is two years from the official date of death. The representative and their experienced wrongful death attorney must submit the claim to civil court within this time frame, otherwise, they cannot sue for damages.
What Damages Is a Defendant Liable for?
Specific damages in a wrongful death case vary depending on the circumstances. It comes down to where the accident happened, how it happened, and how significant the role the defendant's actions played in the fatality.
The amount of compensation also depends on the impact on the family- financially, mentally, and provisionally. Victims with children that relied on their income, for example, are likely to receive higher settlements.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Like a personal injury case, wrongful death has a lot of factors to consider when trying to determine a settlement amount. Here are some of the key factors that impact the decision of how much to compensate family members of the deceased.
Any medical bills or other treatment costs incurred after the accident before the death may be covered in the settlement. If the victim received emergency care or spent some time in hospital before passing, they may have built up substantial bills.
Additionally, if a person dies after prolonged exposure to an unsafe environment, the cost of treatment or exams by any medical professionals may be included in a claim.
Burial costs and the expenses involved in arranging a funeral can be astronomically high. A family mourning the unexpected and sudden loss of a loved one may not be able to afford the service the deceased deserves.
If a wrongful death lawyer can show that the fatality was, in fact, a wrongful death, the liable party is likely to be held responsible for these costs.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are difficult to measure. It is impossible to put a price on the mental anguish caused by the death of somebody you love, even under normal circumstances. To lose somebody due to the negligence of another is incomprehensible.
An experienced Columbus wrongful death lawyer can try to put a figure on the emotional damage and suffering that both the victim and their family went through because of the incident and fight for it during the wrongful death action.
Lost Income or Inheritance
In some cases, the deceased was the sole provider of income for a family or their dependents. Their savings may also be the sole means of paying for funeral expenses, legal bills, and other costs surrounding the incident, meaning there is less money left over for their future.
Loss of financial support is taken into consideration when determining a settlement. The at-fault party and their insurance company may be liable for wages or inheritance lost because of the death. How much exactly must be determined case by case.
Loss of Care or Companionship
It may be possible to recover compensation for loss of care or companionship. Such a loss is determined in a situation where the surviving spouse, children, or other relatives were somehow dependent on the presence of the deceased.
Elderly couples where one person requires full-time care and the deceased was their registered care provider can claim for that loss on top of other financial compensation.
Lost companionship is complicated, which is why it is essential to have a Columbus wrongful death attorney fighting on the behalf of the bereaved.
How Can a Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
Contacting an experienced wrongful death law firm to assist with a case is the best way to get started. Columbus wrongful death lawyers have all the necessary tools to pursue a fair settlement and get the justice the deceased and their family deserves.
There is a lot involved in a wrongful death suit. It is overwhelming for anyone, especially those who have recently suffered a traumatic loss. Here are some of the ways an attorney can lighten the burden.
Assist with Legal Direction
Ohio law is not clear-cut when it comes to wrongful death. There are multiple avenues to follow based on the circumstances. Having someone with years of experience to highlight the options and advise on how to proceed is a huge help for bereaved family members.
Act on the Victim's Relatives Behalf
Appearing in court, negotiating settlements, and collecting evidence are harrowing tasks for somebody who has suffered a loss. A lawyer can assume the responsibility of leading the case and fighting for justice.
It is important for surviving family members to take time to process the event and come to terms with their loss. Trying to fight a legal case is highly distressing, so having an attorney on the side is a huge advantage.
Prepare Evidence and Legal Documents
Evidence is essential in any wrongful death lawsuit. Much of the final settlement agreement comes down to the proof and legal details. Without it, the opposing insurance company can fight for a lower amount.
An attorney can take charge in securing these documents and ensuring all necessary steps are taken to secure evidence. They can also ensure compliance throughout the proceedings.
Negotiate and Fight for Fair Compensation
Negotiations with the insurance company to agree on a settlement are tough. Without experience, it is easy to get pushed into accepting far less than is deserved. With a lawyer taking the lead, that is not a concern. They can fight to the end to get the amount the victim's family is due.
Call The Keating Firm Today to Arrange a Free Consultation
Speak to expert Columbus wrongful death attorneys at The Keating Firm to secure the best possible representation following your loved one's death. Call us to arrange a free consultation to discuss the details of the case and the best way to proceed.
Our team is one of the best there is when it comes to handling such a tragic loss with professionalism and dignity on behalf of you and your family. It is our job to seek justice for those who have been wronged and to make sure the people left behind are cared for sufficiently.
Fighting for compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one is a mammoth task. It can make an already difficult time even more painful and stressful when your focus should be on healing the emotional wounds.
Don't hesitate to reach out to us. We know the law and do everything in our power to use it to find justice for our clients.