Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney Acting as Your Advocate During a Difficult Time
It is always difficult to lose a loved one. When the death was caused by another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, surviving family members may feel confused and overwhelmed by the legal process. It is common for those left behind to feel unsure of what steps to take next. A Columbus wrongful death attorney at Malek & Malek Law Firm can help you and your family gain adequate justice for your loss.
Ohio’s wrongful death statute, which is codified at Section 2125.01 et seq. of the Ohio Revised Code, permits an individual to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person when the death is a result of negligence or a wrongful act. It is a distinct cause of action that provides monetary compensation for damages suffered after a death occurs. Some common causes of action include medical malpractice, car accidents, elder abuse, and defective products. Anytime a death was caused by another’s willful or negligent act, there is potential for a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death case is very complicated, as such, it necessitates a competent and caring Columbus wrongful death attorney.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim in Ohio?
Ohio law specifies that a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought by the fiduciary of the deceased’s estate. Wrongful death cases are filed by the estate representative on behalf of the victim’s heirs and beneficiaries. This usually means a spouse, children, or other close family members. If there is a will, the executor will represent the estate in the wrongful death case. In the absence of a will, the court-appointed administrator is responsible for bringing a wrongful death case.
In order to bring a successful wrongful death claim, the estate must prove that the death was wrongful. This involves demonstrating that it was caused by negligence. It must also be shown that the death would not likely have occurred had the wrongdoer not committed a negligent act. Once that is established, the estate must show what damages the survivors have incurred.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Ohio
Most legal claims, except for some criminal acts such as murder, have a set period of time before which you must file your claim. In other words, if you don’t file your claim within X number of years, you will lose your right to file any claim at all. These time periods are known as “statutes of limitations.”
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Ohio is set by statute at two years from the date the victim died or from the date it was discovered that the death was wrongful. It’s always a good idea to file your claim as soon as possible, not only to satisfy the statute of limitations but also to prevent witnesses from forgetting exactly what they saw and to gather other types of evidence that may mysteriously disappear.
A Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney Explains Fatal Work-Related Accident Cases
Workers’ compensation law provides financial benefits to any worker and their dependents when the worker is injured or killed on the job. However, as a trade-off, workers’ compensation protects employers from being sued for job-related injuries or deaths, even if the employer was negligent or contributed to a dangerous workplace environment. In other words, workers’ compensation benefits are the only remedy an injured worker has, even if the employer was negligent in causing the injury.
However, if the workplace death was caused by a third party, such as an independent general contractor, subcontractor, or defective equipment manufacturer or seller, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against such third party rather than the employer. Unfortunately, this rule is complex and includes various exceptions. That’s why it’s important to immediately contact a Columbus wrongful death attorney at Malek Law Firm to help you understand and enforce your rights.
To file a wrongful death suit, surviving family members must prove that:
- Their loved one died due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act (such as a negligent equipment manufacturer).
- The family has suffered harm because of their loved one’s death, including economic damages such as lost income or earning capacity, as well as non-economic damages such as lost partnership, reduced quality of life, pain and suffering, and so forth.
This is particularly important because workers’ compensation does not provide benefits for these types of non-economic damages.
Wrongful Death Claims vs. Survival Claims
A wrongful death claim focuses on the family of the deceased person and allows close family members to file a civil suit for damages. In other words, wrongful death claims allow the family member of the deceased person to recover for damages caused to them by the loss of the deceased.
A survival claim (typically known as a “survival action”) focuses on the suffering of the deceased person rather than the grief and financial losses of the family. They are similar to what the deceased person could have recovered in a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived. Any compensation is dispersed through the deceased person’s estate rather than distributed directly to surviving family members.
Causes of Wrongful Death Liability in Ohio
In Ohio, the most common accidents leading to a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to those of most other states and include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Injuries resulting from defective products
- Premise liability (defects on other people’s property)
However, a Columbus wrongful death attorney can speak to you about any accident that resulted in the untimely death of a loved one. Your situation is unique and may differ from the common examples provided above.
What Compensation is Available in an Ohio Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a successful wrongful death claim, the family members may recover the following types of damages when you work with a Columbus wrongful death attorney at Malek Law Firm: economical and non-economical. Economic damages, which include the value of the financial contributions the deceased would have made to the survivors if he or she didn’t die, may include:
- Medical and funeral expenses connected to the death
- Loss of the victim’s expected earnings
- Loss of benefits, such as pension plans or medical coverage
- Loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death, and
- The value of the goods and services that a victim would have provided
Non-economic damages may also be recovered, including:
- Damages for the survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering
- Loss of the care, protection, guidance, advice, training, and nurturing from the deceased
- Loss of love, society, and companionship from the deceased, and
- Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse
Finally, the estate may be able to recover punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and interest.
In a successful survival claim, the family members may recover the following types of damages:
- Medical and hospital expenses that are related to the injury
- Pain and suffering of the deceased caused by the injury
- Lost wages from the time of the injury until the time of death
- Emotional distress caused by the injury
- Funeral expenses and estate administration costs
How A Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney At Malek Law Firm Can Help
A death in the family is by definition a very painful and stressful time. Nonetheless, the future of the remaining family members may depend on being able to collect all of the damages your family is entitled to. You only have one chance to secure your future.
A Columbus wrongful death lawyer at Malek Law Firm can help you, among other things:
- Review your claim facts and help you decide what the best options for your particular set of facts may be, which may include negotiation or wrongful death and/or survival claims,
- Review and analyze all of your existing documentation and advise you as to what documents still need to be obtained and how to obtain them,
- Act as your representative with your insurance company,
- Act as your representative with your employer if a work-related injury or illness was involved,
- Advise you as to exactly what steps you should take regarding any workers’ comp claims,
- Examine your potential claims and advise you as to what claims are most appropriate for your particular facts and situation,
- Prepare any legal claims, such as wrongful death claims or survivor claims,
- Negotiate a fair settlement for you or bring your claim(s) to court,
- Act as your attorney in any lawsuit you decide to bring,
- Bring all of your related claims to a successful conclusion, and
- Offer your practical advice, compassion, and understanding.
Your Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney Will Fight For Compensation
Money can never really make anyone completely whole again after such a devastating loss, but the law attempts to compensate family members for the pain and suffering endured as a result of wrongful death. Damages include loss of companionship, services, prospective inheritance, and support. It is also possible to receive compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and mental anguish suffered by survivors.
Unlike personal injury lawsuits, damages in wrongful death cases are immune from estate tax and creditors’ claims. Instead, compensation is distributed directly to the estate’s beneficiaries and there is no limit on the amount of damages the estate can recover.
The wrongful death lawyers at Malek Law Firm will aggressively and compassionately strive to bring justice for your loss. We’ll work for what you deserve in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases.
Contact the Malek Law Firm for a Free Consultation
For additional information regarding our quality legal representation services, or to schedule a free case evaluation, call us today at 888-444-7440 or contact us online. Let Malek Law Firm be your secret weapon in cases of workers’ compensation and personal injury.