When you’ve lost a loved one in a tragedy that didn’t have to happen, you want answers. It’s a horrible thing to go through, and maybe the worst part of your grief and anger, besides having to go on without your family member, is knowing that the tragedy could have been avoided. Ohio law allows family members to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased party to obtain the justice that the injured person could have sought if he or she had lived.
What frequently happens when somebody dies as a result of another party’s negligence or hurtful act is that the party that caused the death will engage in a cover up to avoid liability. We see this happen often in cases where medical malpractice or workplace negligence creates a situation that is so hazardous it kills.
In order to uncover the truth about what happened and hold the responsible party or entity accountable, you may have to file a wrongful death suit to gain access to evidence and records that the liable party has no obligation to disclose otherwise. Nobody is going to just come right out and admit that they made a terrible mistake, no matter how sorry they might be, because they do not want to be held financially liable for the damages they caused to your family.
Sometimes there’s little somebody can do to cover up liability, as was the case last April when a driver who was driving backwards through the parking lot at a local Wal-Mart struck, dragged and killed a 76-year old woman then crashed into several other vehicles. The driver was driving with a suspended license.
Obviously, the driver was liable for the death. However, the vehicle began inexplicably going backwards fast. If mechanical failure also played a part in the fatal accident, the auto manufacturer could also be held liable. A skilled wrongful death attorney would know exactly how to investigate liability.
Ohio Wrongful Death Law
The legal theory behind civil tort law is that when somebody harms another person through a negligent or hurtful act, they must bear the cost to make the injured party whole. Though nothing can make your family whole again, Ohio law goes a long way towards mitigating the financial damages a wrongful death can cause to the family.
A representative of the estate who is a human being, not a corporation, files a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person. After funeral expenses and reasonable court costs, compensation is distributed to:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- The deceased person’s children, including adoptive
- Parents of the deceased
Other family members can also recover damages but have the burden of proving that the death of their family member caused them financial damages. For instance, the deceased person was helping to raise his grandchild, and the child is now bereft of that support.
Ohio Wrongful Death Damages
- Loss of support of your deceased family member’s income
- Loss of companionship of a spouse
- Loss of the love and guidance of a parent
- Loss of potential inheritance
- Loss of household services (child care; yard work; chores)
- Grief and mental anguish
- Cost of therapy for traumatized survivors
Punitive Damages are not inherently allowed for an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit. However, the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the deceased, can recover punitive damages for gross negligence or criminal behavior that your family member could have sued for had she or he lived. Because punitive damages are meant to punish wrongdoers and discourage others from doing the same thing, juries can and do award tens of millions of dollars, especially when the wrongdoer is a big company.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Expose the Truth?
Once you file a lawsuit, you (and your attorney acting on your behalf) can demand evidence in the pre-trial phase of civil litigation known as discovery. You can subpoena employees and other witnesses to appear and testify under oath at a deposition and at trial. You can demand production of company records, including electronic records like emails, files, social media passwords and cell phone transcripts. Your aggressive legal team, acting on your behalf, can demand an admission of certain facts related to your loved one’s death, under penalty of perjury. Your legal team can demand access to examine all tangible evidence such as an accident site or a malfunctioning surgical robot.
There have been cases where negligence was so outrageous and illegal that a wrongful death lawsuit led to criminal charges being filed. Frequently, families file civil lawsuits because they want to hold liable parties accountable and expose their negligence and carelessness in order to prevent other families having to go through the same kind of anguish and loss.
Ohio Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations (time limit) for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years in Ohio. However, putting off speaking to an attorney may not be a good idea. The longer you wait, the more time you are giving wrongdoers to cover up what happened. You should act soon before evidence disappears or is altered or witnesses forget what happened or even move away.
Isaacs & Isaacs wrongful death law firm has the resources to investigate what happened. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis and bear the cost of investigation and litigation. We will not charge you anything until and unless we win your case or negotiate a fair settlement.
We believe that when people and big companies are allowed to get away with negligent, careless actions that cause grave injury and death, nobody is safe in our communities, including our own families. We are relentless and aggressive in our pursuit of justice for victims of the reckless and often callous actions of others.
Call our hotline at 800-800-8888, or fill out our online form to speak with a compassionate and experienced Isaacs & Isaacs wrongful death attorney. You do have the power to seek justice for your family member, but you don’t have to do it alone. We will seek the truth with you and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions to the limit the law allows.