Losing a loved one is a terrible thing that people will experience at some point in their life. While this can cause a lot of grief, it can be even more complicated if the death was unexpected. In an accident-related death, it’s typical for negligence to have played a part. When someone’s negligence causes your loved one to lose their life, no one can understand the pain and confusion you’re experiencing. One of the hardest things about a wrongful death is that it could have been prevented had the person acted competently. While you can’t undo what happened, you can seek justice for your loved one and your family. A Cincinnati wrongful death lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can offer you the help you need.
Thomas Law Offices is dedicated to providing the best legal services to our clients in Cincinnati. We understand that you and your family are grieving and how difficult this claim process will be. But we can help alleviate the financial stresses that losing a loved one puts on a family. You’ll be able to mourn your loved one without trying to figure out how you’re going to handle expenses and bills.
When our wrongful death lawyer begins looking into your case, we’ll assess the accident that occurred. As we collect facts and evidence from the case, we’ll find out what happened, why it happened, and who was responsible. Let’s take a look at the types of accidents that can result in wrongful death.
Defining Wrongful Death in Ohio
The definition of wrongful death is established at the state level. This means that if your loved one died in Ohio, regardless of whether they were a resident or were visiting, you’ll need to defer to the Ohio Revised Code to determine if wrongful death applies.
According to 2125.01 Action for Wrongful Death, “When the death of a person is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person who would have been liable if death had no ensured, or the administrator or executor of the estate of such person, as such administrator or executor, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured and although the death was caused under circumstances which make it aggravated murder, murder, or manslaughter.”
The law essentially means that if you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent actions, you have the right to file a claim on their behalf to seek recovery for the related losses. If your loved one had survived, they would have been able to pursue a personal injury claim on their own behalf to seek that same compensation.
The Difference Between Criminal and Civil Cases
As you can see, the state statute defining wrongful deaths mentions aggravated murder, murder, and manslaughter. In the event it’s determined one of those three caused your family member’s death, you would no longer be pursuing a civil claim. Instead, you’d need to pursue a criminal case.
A civil claim begins when a person, referred to as a plaintiff, claims that another person, the defendant, failed to carry out their legal duty to the plaintiff. Most personal injury claims are based on the concept of negligence, where the defendant breached their duty and injured the plaintiff—who then suffered injuries and other losses.
When a person is accused of a criminal, they are generally charged in a formal accusation called an indictment. It is not the victim’s responsibility to bring a criminal case forward. Instead, the government prosecutes the cases through the United States Attorney’s Office.
Regarding when the two types of cases cross, there’s a chance a person could be charged with homicide and sued for wrongful death following the completion of the criminal trial process. The circumstances of your loved one’s death will ultimately decide what type of case is filed. A wrongful death attorney can help.
How Does Wrongful Death Happen?
Wrongful death can occur in myriad ways. A person can act negligently in their personal and professional life, and their actions can have disastrous consequences.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. Drivers include anyone operating a car, truck, or motorcycle. When these people are distracted or speeding, they can collide with others on the road or cyclists and pedestrians. When motor vehicle accidents are severe, they can cause deadly injuries.
- Medical Malpractice. Health care providers are supposed to treat patients to help them heal their injury or illness. When health care providers act negligently, it can be from a doctor misdiagnosing a disease, a surgeon leaving a medical tool inside their patient, or a pharmacist giving a patient the wrong medication. A patient could also have faulty medical equipment to harm them, whether from causing infection or failing to do what it’s supposed to. Medical errors can cause fatal injuries to patients.
- Product Liability. Any manufacturer can release a dangerous product because it has a design or manufacturing flaw, or it has unclear instructions or warnings on its label. Defective products can be any household appliances with electrical issues or have misleading instructions that put the person in danger because they’re misusing the products.
- Premises Liability. Property owners are supposed to take measures to ensure their property is safe for people. This includes promptly fixing safety hazards and having measures to warn visitors if they cannot fix the threat, and it isn’t apparent. For example, placing a “Caution Wet Floor” sign on a recently mopped floor will alert people to walk slowly or walk around the area so they don’t injure themselves. However, when accidents do occur, they can be devastating. A slip and fall accident could cause a fatal accident.
- Workplace Accidents. Wrongful death can also happen at someone’s place of work. Unsafe working conditions like unbalanced ladders or faulty helmets in construction zones can be fatal to those working there. But this could also apply to the majority of people who work in offices. Exposed wires or faulty electrical systems could become fire hazards.
No matter how your loved one’s accident occurred, negligence was likely the cause. Our lawyers have years of experience in investigating wrongful death accidents. When we look at the case, we’ll examine what was happening that led to the accident occurring, such as the area’s conditions and safety policies or protocols, to determine what went wrong. We’ll also see if your loved one suffered before they passed and how their loss affected you.
Why You Need a Lawyer After a Wrongful Death
The loss of a loved one is always challenging. But, the weeks and months after the loss can be made more difficult if your family is in the midst of a legal battle. Fortunately, the wrongful death attorneys from Thomas Law Offices are prepared to represent you.
While you have every legal right to manage the claim on your own, there are several reasons as to why it’s best to work with a law firm. For starters, our lawyers understand the legal process. Wrongful death cases involve a complex litigation process. You won’t have to worry about grasping the legal concepts on your own or understanding your family’s right when we’re representing you.
In addition to ensuring you understand the process, we’ll also be sure to value your claim correctly. We know that you’re likely to experience unexpected losses after the passing of a loved one, in addition to what’s expected—like funeral and burial. We’ll fight to ensure your family receives what you need to move forward together with secure finances.
While the majority of wrongful death claims result in a settlement, this isn’t always the case. In the event negotiations don’t work, your attorney can help you pursue a lawsuit to seek an official verdict from a judge or jury.
Now that you have a better understanding of why it’s crucial to work with an injury attorney after unexpectedly and wrongfully losing a loved one let’s take a look at the claim process.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Ohio?
If you’re seeking to file a wrongful death claim, you may be wondering about how this type of claim works. Our Cincinnati wrongful death attorneys will be able to explain the process to you and what you need to do to get justice for your loved one. Let’s go over who is eligible to file the claim. The law in Ohio states that certain people can bring a wrongful death claim forward. The administrator or executor of the estate will file the claim and represent the family.
Some specific people can receive damages from a wrongful death claim in Ohio. Typically, the following family members are eligible to bring the claim forward:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse
- The deceased’s children
- The deceased’s parents
The compensation is available to these parties because they are the ones who have suffered emotionally and financially because of their loss. Each circumstance will be unique. For example, if the children have no surviving parents, then an appointed legal guardian could act their best interests for the lawsuit.
We understand how confusing it can be to deal with complicated legal matters when you’re trying to grieve. When your Cincinnati attorney from Thomas Law Offices looks into your case, we’ll treat it with the individuality it deserves. We’ll see who is eligible to receive compensation and how that will be divided among the parties. There’s also the matter of fighting for the correct amount of payment. Let’s look into what a wrongful death claim can cover.
What Can You Receive With a Wrongful Death Claim?
When you lose a loved one, you know you’ll be experiencing emotional losses. But you may not realize there will be financial losses as well. Dealing with financial matters after losing a loved one can be confusing and overwhelming. You may be handling more expenses than usual on top of your regular financial responsibilities. If your loved one helped you financially, you could be at a loss for what to do. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying bills on time and putting food on the table when you’re trying to cope with the sudden loss of your loved one. Your wrongful death claim can provide much needed financial peace of mind. When you have a secure financial future, you can focus on the other important things you need to do in this challenging time.
There are many losses you can recover with your claim. Our experienced Cincinnati wrongful death attorney will seek to maximize your compensation so it reflects the loss you’ve endured. As we examine the accident, medical records that detail your loved one’s fatal injuries, and investigate how their loss will have permanent effects on your life, we’ll determine a fair compensation amount. Your compensation can include the following damages:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses. Planning an unexpected funeral for a loved one is a painful and emotional thing to do. They can also get expensive. Your compensation can help with these costs. This way, you can plan the service in the way you want to honor your loved one and won’t have to worry about the bill.
- Medical Expenses. It’s likely your loved one received medical care before they passed. They may have had to receive treatment at the accident site, and they could have stayed in the hospital to receive treatment. If they had to undergo procedures, take medication, or use a medical device for treatment, the expenses can be high. Our wrongful death attorneys will look to cover your loved one’s medical costs in your compensation.
- Lost Wages. While your loved one was injured, they likely missed days of pay while they were out from work. You may be able to recover damages to cover those days of lost income.
- Loss of Earnings. In addition to the days of lost pay, you may also receive compensation for what your loved one would have continued to earn in their lifetime had they been able to return to work. This can provide significant relief if you completely depended on them financially or ran a two-income household.
While your compensation will include the financial losses you’ve suffered, there are other kinds of damages you can recover in a wrongful death suit. Your lawyer in Cincinnati can add up financial expenses and losses, but they also look at how losing a loved one will change the way you live your life.
- Pain and Suffering. This can be for what your loved one experienced from their injuries in the hospital. They suffered unnecessary pain because of someone else’s negligent actions. There’s also the pain and suffering you and your family are experiencing. We’ll take your family’s pain and suffering into account when determining your compensation.
- Loss of Support. If you ran a household with your loved one, losing that person leaves a lot on your shoulders. You’re in charge of making sure all expenses are paid, keeping up with your job, and you may also be responsible for taking care of kids, which is no small task when it’s all up to you. There’s also the loss of companionship—losing your loved one will be a significant absence in your future. Knowing that you’ll be handling things without them at your side to support you is extremely difficult, and you’ll need time and space to go through the grieving process properly. Your compensation can reflect the loss of the emotional and physical support and provide the safety net you need so you can press forward.
What Do You Need for an Ohio Wrongful Death Claim?
You may think your claim will be straightforward. However, the other party may try to say they weren’t negligent or entirely responsible for the accident. The insurance company may try to reduce your compensation by saying the accident wasn’t the direct cause of your loved one’s fatal injuries. While this can all be frustrating, the best thing you can do is have a skilled Cincinnati wrongful death attorney at your side. We know what we need to include, so you have a case with merit. When filing a wrongful death claim, you need to have the following points for it to be valid:
- Proof of Negligence. When someone acts negligently, it means they owed someone a duty of care and failed to meet that duty. This could be a driver going over the speed limit and looking at their cell phone while driving or a doctor giving a patient medicine that they are allergic to. Your case will need to show evidence that the other party acted negligently. Our Cincinnati lawyers will carefully investigate the case to find proof of negligence and show that it caused the accident.
- Negligence Caused a Person’s Death. Then your claim will show that the negligence was the reason why your loved one lost their life. Medical records showing the extent of injuries and eyewitnesses can help prove this point. Your representative from Thomas Law Offices will do everything possible to connect your loved one’s fatal injuries with the accident that resulted from the other party’s negligence.
- Representative of the Deceased’s Estate. You’ll need a person to represent the deceased to bring the claim forward. Your lawyer will discuss your options and eligibility when determining who can bring the claim forward.
- Surviving Family Members. After establishing negligence, connecting the negligence to your loved one’s death, and bringing a claim forward, the surviving members can then show how the unexpected loss is taking a major toll on their lives. This can be through both the economic and noneconomic damages of the accident.
You also need to file your claim within the statute of limitations. In Ohio, you have two years from the incident of your loved one’s passing to file your claim. While it may be difficult, it’s best to contact a Cincinnati wrongful death attorney from Thomas Law Offices so you can get started on your case as soon as possible.
Get in Touch With a Cincinnati Wrongful Death Lawyer
No one should lose a loved one unexpectedly because of someone else’s negligence. However, these tragic accidents do occur. If this has happened to you, know that you don’t have to face this all on your own. Our lawyers are here for you and will fight, so you get justice for your loved one and get the compensation you deserve.
Those responsible for your loved one’s passing should have to face the consequences of their actions. We’ll do everything possible to prove their negligence caused your loved one’s death. With our representation at your side, you’ll know we’ll show the liable party that their negligence was unacceptable and caused irreparable harm. We won’t be intimidated by negligent companies or allow insurance companies to harass you in an attempt to get you to settle early and reduce your compensation. Thomas Law Offices will represent your best interests and give your family and loved one a voice.
When dealing with personal injury law, it’s essential to act quickly. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case. You can speak with a Cincinnati wrongful death lawyer about the right course of action for you. Our team will answer your questions about the process so you can make a fully informed decision on how you want to proceed.
We understand that this process may be painful as you will be going over details of the event that cost your loved one their life. However, holding the other party responsible for their actions may provide some comfort. You’ll know your loved one got the justice they deserved, and you’ll be taking the necessary steps to move forward. Thomas Law Offices is here to provide you with options to secure your financial future. We’re here to take the burden off your shoulders and give your family the justice you deserve.