Requirements for Submitting a Wrongful Death Claim
Certain criteria must be met to classify a case as "wrongful death". The death must have been caused, in whole or in part, by the defendant's negligence. You, or your attorney, must prove that the defendant was liable for the victim's death.
Also, only certain individuals with specific relationships with the victim can be the beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit. The following individuals may qualify for compensation under a wrongful death claim.
- Spouse: If you were legally married at the time of the decedent's passing you qualify for compensation, even if you were separated at the time.
- Parent: If you are the biological or legal guardian of the person who died, you qualify for compensation. Stepparents do not qualify.
- Child: If you were the biological or fully adopted child of the victim, you have a right to compensation under a wrongful death claim. Step and foster children usually do not qualify.
If you are not the spouse, parent, or child of the decedent, there is still a chance that you could receive compensation. To do so, you must prove to the court that you deserve compensation because you suffered a significant loss due to your loved one's death.
If you are unsure if you qualify for compensation under a wrongful death claim, contact us today at 614-389-9711. The experienced attorneys at DuPont & Blumenstiel can evaluate your case and discuss your options with you.
Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Claims
A wrongful death claim is designed to compensate the family of the deceased. Typically, the administrator or executor of the decedent's estate will file a wrongful death claim.
For example, say one night a father is tragically killed in a car accident that wasn't his fault. His family can file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for things they lost due to his death, such as financial support and companionship. Once the case is settled, compensation may be split between his wife and children, and perhaps other members of his immediate family.
Survival claims focus more on what happened to the decedent than the family. In the example above, say that the father initially survived the car accident and spent weeks in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries. Under these circumstances, the family can pursue a survival action. They can seek compensation for the father's pain and suffering, as well as any medical bills he accumulated while in the hospital. After the case is settled, the compensation will be distributed according to his will, or, if he did not have a will, according to state law.
Statute of Limitations
There is a time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio. You have two years from the time the decedent passed away to file a claim. If you attempt to file a claim after this two-year period, your case will likely be dismissed by the court.
There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. An experienced wrongful death attorney can talk to you about your options.
What can I seek compensation for in a wrongful death case?
To gain compensation, you must first prove that the other party's negligence led to your loved one's death. You must also prove each of your damages. Ohio law states that there are several things you can seek compensation for in a wrongful death claim. These things can be divided into two main categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages.
In wrongful death cases, economic damages refer to finances that were lost or bills that were incurred due to the death of a loved one. Here are a few examples of economic damages you may be entitled to:
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Medical expenses for treatment the decedent had after their accident and before their death,
- Loss of the victim's future income,
- Loss of prospective inheritance,
- Loss of other financial contributions which would have been obtained if the victim lived.
Noneconomic damages do not relate directly to money, out-of-pocket expenses, or bills. Instead, they deal with the psychological and emotional damage people experience as the result of losing someone they love. As such, noneconomic damages are a bit more difficult to quantify. Here are some examples of noneconomic damages you could seek compensation for in a wrongful death claim:
- Psychological and mental pain and suffering,
- Loss of companionship, comfort, and support,
- Loss of care, guidance, and attention,
- Loss of assistance, such as with housework and the care of minor children,
- Loss of consortium, which includes the physical relationship and support the deceased loved one provided to their spouse and children.
It is extremely difficult to lose someone you love. Also, it's impossible to be completely and adequately compensated for the loss you experienced. However, the Ohio wrongful death statute provides a legal avenue for you to seek compensation and take some financial burden off your shoulders.
If someone you love has died as a result of the negligence of another person or business, you can seek compensation for your loss. An experienced personal injury attorney can answer your questions and help guide you through the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim.
Call The Law Offices of DuPont & Blumenstiel at 614-389-9711 to speak with a wrongful death specialist and get the claims process started.