Wrongful Death Attorneys in Ohio
Columbus Ohio Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The wrongful death attorneys at Harris & Engler can help you obtain the compensation you deserve when a close family member has died because of the fault of someone else. When a person is killed because of the fault of someone else, the surviving members of the victim's immediate family may sue the perpetrator for wrongful death. In Ohio, a wrongful death action can be brought by a representative for the benefit of the deceased's surviving spouse, parents, and children. The law automatically assumes that these members of the victim's family have suffered damages. In Ohio, the law recognizes that the family of the deceased suffers greatly and awards damages for the loss of the victim's companionship, help around the house, potential earnings that would have been contributed to the household, spousal love and companionship, any possible expected inheritances the family would have received had the victim lived, and general advice and all the other intangible benefits that the family of the victim would have received had the victim lived.
Ohio Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In Ohio, there is a statute of limitations that governs how long after the victim's death a lawsuit can be brought for wrongful death. Ohio Revised Code section 2125.02(D)(1) provides that "a civil action for wrongful death shall be commenced within two years after the decedent's death." This means that claimant's have two years from the death of the loved one to initially file a lawsuit.
Ohio's Wrongful Death Statute
In Ohio, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2125 governs claims for wrongful death. Ohio Revised Code section 2125.01 provides that an action for wrongful death exists "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 not ensued ... shall be liable to an action for damages ..."
Wrongful death is essentially a special kind of negligence cause of action that is governed by statute in Ohio in order to provide a mechanism for surviving family members to sue on behalf of the deceased person and to sue for their own emotional and financial damages caused by the death. A wrongful death claim can essentially be broken into two separate components:
(1) Damages for the pain and suffering and economic loss of the deceased party. If there was any amount of time between the tragic accident, and the death of the party, then the estate of the deceased party can bring a claim for pain and suffering on behalf of the person that passed away. Additionally, that person's medical bills and other economic damages can be sought in a lawsuit. Whatever is recovered for this component of the lawsuit goes to the estate of the deceased party, and then is distributed in accordance with their last will and testament (if they had one).
(2) Damages for the surviving loved ones.
Who Can Bring a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Ohio?
In Ohio, only close relatives of the victim are eligible to bring an action for wrongful death. The parties who may bring an action for wrongful death are governed by Ohio Revised Code section 2125.02, which states: "[A] civil action for wrongful death shall be brought in the name of the personal representative of the decedent for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, the children, and the parents of the decedent, all of whom are rebuttably presumed to have suffered damages by reason of the wrongful death, and for the exclusive benefit of the next of kin of the decedent."
This means that only the spouse who survives the deceased, the deceased's children, and the deceased's parents may bring an action for wrongful death, and all of them have presumed damages as a result of the wrongful death.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Obtained from a Victorious Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Ohio Revised Code section 2125.02(B) controls what kind of damages can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. This statute provides as follows:
"Compensatory damages may be awarded in a civil action for wrongful death and may include damages for the following:
- Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent;
- Loss of services of the decedent;
- Loss of the society of the decedent, including loss of companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education, suffered by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent;
- Loss of prospective inheritance to the decedent's heirs at the time of decedent's death
- The mental anguish incurred by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent."
Ohio Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have suffered as a result of the death of a loved one who was killed by someone's fault in Ohio, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler to file a claim for wrongful death. The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio, and its wrongful death attorneys help clients all across Ohio. You can talk to an attorney about your case by calling (614) 610-9988.