The unexpected loss of a loved one may be one of the most difficult losses imaginable. Your grief may be complicated by the circumstances of your loved one’s death, though. If another person’s or entity’s negligence played a role in the loss of a family member, you may need to secure the representation of a wrongful death lawyer.
At Thomas Law Offices, we understand that your family is in the middle of the grieving process, and we know how difficult it can be to move forward with a wrongful death claim. It is our job to help alleviate any of the financial stress created by the wrongful act that led to your loved one’s loss of life, which is a matter that we approach with the utmost care and sensitivity.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Ohio Revised Code 2125.01 for Wrongful Death determines that a wrongful death occurs when, in the absence of a person’s negligent or wrongful actions, the victim would have survived. This section further lays out that “when a death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default,” family members have a legal right to take “action and recover damages.” In other words, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by a surviving member of the victim’s family.
What Causes a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death may be caused by any number of negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions or inactions. When surviving family members are attempting to recover fair compensation after a loved one’s passing, they should be sure to work with a Cincinnati wrongful death lawyer who understands just how nuanced these types of claims can be.
At Thomas Law Offices, our Cincinnati wrongful death attorneys have years of experience guiding families through the process of filing wrongful death cases. We also know that to successfully secure financial compensation, you must also know what type of incident your loved one was harmed in.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that 1,148 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021, many of whom were fatally injured because of a driver’s negligent or reckless behaviors. You may be entitled to financial recovery from the at-fault party if your loved one was killed because a driver was:
- Taking pictures or videos
- Under the influence of alcohol
- Swerving between lanes
- Following too closely
There is a significant size and weight difference between large tractor-trailers and smaller motor vehicles. In a collision between these two types of vehicles, passenger vehicle occupants are at a distinct disadvantage and are much more likely to suffer fatal injuries.
When you file a wrongful death claim after a truck accident, you are sending a message to the truck driver, trucking company, and the insurer that any negligent practices that caused the fatal accident are not acceptable.
Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Accidents
Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are among the most vulnerable groups on the road. When drivers’ negligent actions lead to the wrongful deaths of anyone on the road, it may be possible to recover economic losses.
If you are unsure whether your loved one’s accident qualifies for a wrongful death case, contact Thomas Law Offices for a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer in Cincinnati, OH. We’ll examine your situation for any evidence of negligence by the other party.
Not every medical case has a happy outcome, so it can be difficult to determine whether a loved one’s death was the fault of someone else’s negligence.
If you suspect that a doctor’s negligence or other act of medical malpractice caused the loss of one of the members of your family, one of our Cincinnati wrongful death lawyers can review the facts of your case.
If it is clear that your loved one suffered an untimely death, we will help you move forward with the wrongful death claims process.
If, despite exercising reasonable care, a dangerous or defective product still caused an unnecessary death, we can help you hold the negligent parties responsible.
Product liability cases can be particularly complicated, so it is best to work with a lawyer who can help you identify at which step the defect occurred:
Property owners must maintain reasonably safe premises and must make efforts to warn visitors of hazards. Icy driveways, spills on slippery floors, missing stair railings, uneven flooring, and inadequate lighting can all cause serious, irreversible harm. Dangerous premises are frequently cited in wrongful death claims in Cincinnati, OH.
Workplace injuries are usually compensable under Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Immediate family members may be eligible for temporary death benefits, which can help cover things like lost wages.
In some cases, a third party might also be liable for a person’s workplace fatality. If so, families can seek additional compensation without giving up their rights to workers’ compensation death benefits.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Ohio?
The personal representative for the deceased family member’s estate is permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This role is often filled by the surviving spouse, children, or parents. This personal representative is not the only person who is eligible to recover compensation, either.
In Ohio, the following family members are typically the recipients of any financial compensation secured through a wrongful death lawsuit:
Other family members, such as grandparents or siblings, can only recover compensation if they are able to prove that they suffered a loss. Parents or siblings who were financially dependent on their lost loved one can elect to work with a wrongful death attorney who can help properly value their financial loss and craft a compelling case on their behalf.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
The main purpose of this type of claim is to recover damages for the unexpected and untimely loss of a family member. Most wrongful death damages can be broken down into two categories —economic and noneconomic damages. A third form of damages (punitive damages) is also possible but is rare in wrongful death claims.
Since helping families who are dealing with unexpected loss is one of the top priorities at our law firm, we’ll make sure that you understand what types of damages you can collect.
We know how important the right financial support can be, and we strive to make sure that all of our clients receive what they are fully owed.
Economic damages are those with a direct cost that can be calculated. Such damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses and burial expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of prospective inheritance
Noneconomic damages cover things without a specific monetary value. These damages are no less serious, though, so it is important to work with an attorney who understands the financial and emotional effects of noneconomic damages so that they can properly value your claim:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or trauma
- Loss of company or consortium
- Loss of enjoyment in life
A wrongful death claim filed by the personal representative is handled in civil court and does not involve or require criminal charges as a prerequisite. A civil lawsuit such as this will never be handled by the criminal court. This does not mean that there are no options for punishing negligence. In such cases, punitive damages may be called for.
Punitive damages financially punish the liable party if their behavior was especially egregious. For example, surviving family members often seek punitive damages when the at-fault party was driving drunk and caused a car accident.
How To Prove Liability in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are many factors that go into proving liability in a wrongful death case. The Cincinnati wrongful death attorneys at Thomas Law Offices are prepared to demonstrate how the negligent party caused your loved one’s death by proving the following:
- That the other party owed a duty of care to your loved one.
- That the other party violated that duty of care, such as by driving distracted or prescribing the incorrect medication.
- That the violation directly caused your loved one’s injuries and death.
- That you and your family suffered compensable damages as a result.
The insurance company may try to refute any or all of the above assertions, and you have only two years to file a claim. An attorney from Thomas Law Offices will help you submit your claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
Contact a Cincinnati Wrongful Death Lawyer
At Thomas Law Offices, our Cincinnati wrongful death lawyers have dedicated their professional careers to serving families in Hamilton County who have suffered these and other types of unimaginable losses. We fight for fair compensation for victims and their families all across Ohio.
If you are not sure whether your situation warrants a wrongful death claim, contact us at our Cincinnati office in Ohio to schedule an initial consultation with a wrongful death attorney. We never charge a fee for your first client review.