What is an Ohio Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The Ohio wrongful death lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are experienced handling wrongful death claims and are committed to results when you need them most.

The information below is meant to serve as a brief summary of Ohio wrongful death lawsuits and claims, and not meant to serve as legal advice on any particular claim.

Wrongful death is the legal term used for the untimely loss of life due to negligence caused by another. Ohio wrongful death lawsuits may arise as a result personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence or product liability claims.

Who Can Bring an Ohio Wrongful Death Case?

Ohio wrongful death claims are intended to provide damages to the decedent’s survivors. Ohio Revised Code §2125.02(A)(1) 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 other next of kin of the decedent.”

Therefore, Ohio wrongful death law presumes damages to the parents, surviving spouse and children of the individual killed by negligence. While there is mention that a claim can be maintained for the “other next of kin,” damages are not presumed for this line of claimants. Generally, the surviving spouse will serve as the legal representative prosecuting the wrongful death action.

What Compensation is Available in an Ohio Wrongful Death Case?

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §2125.02(B)(1)-(5), Ohio wrongful death claims allow for the beneficiaries designed by statute (surviving spouse, children and parents) and other next-of-kin to recover the following damages:

  1. Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent;
  2. Loss of services of the decedent;
  3. 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;
  4. Loss of prospective inheritance to the decedent’s heirs at law at the time of the decedent’s death; and
  5. The mental anguish incurred by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent. Ohio Revised Code §2125.02(D)(1) requires that all wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two (2) years from the date of death caused by the negligence. If you do not bring a wrongful death lawsuit within two (2) years, then you will be forever barred from compensation for the loss of a loved one.

How Is Compensation Divided in an Ohio Wrongful Death Case?

Ultimately, the local county probate court will determine how the Ohio wrongful death proceeds are allocated among the statutory beneficiaries (surviving spouse, children and parents) and other next-of-kin. Ohio Revised Code §2125.03 sets forth the considerations for distribution of any compensation recovered through the wrongful death action:

The amount received by a personal representative in an action for wrongful death under sections 2125.01 and 2125.02 of the Revised Code, whether by settlement or otherwise, shall be distributed to the beneficiaries or any one or more of them. The court that appointed the personal representative, except when all of the beneficiaries are on an equal degree of consanguinity to the deceased person, shall adjust the share of each beneficiary in a manner that is equitable, having due regard for the injury and loss to each beneficiary resulting from the death and for the age and condition of the beneficiaries. If all of the beneficiaries are on an equal degree of consanguinity to the deceased person, the beneficiaries may adjust the share of each beneficiary among themselves. If the beneficiaries do not adjust their shares among themselves, the court shall adjust the share of each beneficiary in the same manner as the court adjusts the shares of beneficiaries who are not on an equal degree of consanguinity to the deceased person.

Therefore, if the potential beneficiaries cannot agree on how to disburse compensation recovered through an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit, the parties must appear before the local probate court and present their case as to requested compensation.

If you or a loved one have been impacted by Ohio wrongful death or have questions regarding a potential Ohio wrongful death claim, contact the lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman to receive a free case evaluation regarding your potential lawsuit.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman handle claims involving personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, product liability and wrongful death. We routinely recover compensation on cases that other law firms reject.

Cowan & Hilgeman offers free personal injury case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your personal injury case.

Call 937-222-2030 to get your free case evaluation.

Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Get More for My Settlement?

The answer is YES, if you hire the right attorney.

Countless clients have hired the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman after receiving low-ball offers from insurance companies and our attorneys have gone on to recover 6 times, 12 times and even 50 times the original offer. While past cases do not guarantee future results, the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are committed to aggressively pursuing your compensation.

 
Not every personal injury lawyer can obtain the results you may want or need. When evaluating personal injury lawyers, you must consider the following to ensure your claim is being properly presented and framed so that you receive maximum compensation:

Aggressive Pursuit of Compensation

Your lawyer should create a plan of attack to maximize the compensation available under your claim and make sure there is evidence to force the insurance company to pay what you deserve. Insurance companies and defense lawyers will not consider claims that lack sufficient evidence to support the demand for compensation. A skilled and aggressive personal injury lawyer will make sure every aspect of your claim is maximized.

Track Record of Success

Insurance companies know which personal injury lawyers accept low-ball offers and which lawyers will go to court to obtain maximum compensation for their clients. You do not want a personal injury lawyer or law firm that does not go to court or litigate their own claims. There are several of these law firms in Dayton and throughout Ohio. During your initial consultation with the lawyer, be sure to ask if he or she is the lawyer that will represent you if your case goes to court. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are recognized as some of the top personal injury lawyers in Ohio.

Client Reviews and Testimonials

Developments in technology and the ability to quickly and securely share information has allowed former clients to leave reviews and testimonials about their experience with a lawyer and/or law firm. Client reviews and testimonials are a great insight into the outcome obtained for the client. While each case is different and presents unique facts and circumstances, client reviews will give you an indication of what you can expect from the lawyer regarding skill, communication and genuine concern for the client’s interest. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are aggressive in their creation of a plan to maximize your claim under Ohio law, which includes compensation for three types of damages: special damages; general damages; and punitive damages.

Special Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party is entitled to the following types of economic (special) damages:
  1. Past Medical Expenses
  2. Future Medical Expenses
  3. Past Loss of Earnings
  4. Future Loss of Earnings or Earning Capacity
  5. Out of Pocket Expenses

General Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party is entitled to the following types of non-economic (general) damages:
  1. Past Physical Pain and Suffering
  2. Future Physical Pain and Suffering
  3. Past Mental Pain and Suffering
  4. Future Mental Pain and Suffering
  5. Past Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  6. Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party may be entitled to punitive damages if the injured party can prove that the defendant’s actions showed “malice or aggravated or egregious fraud” or the defendant knowingly “authorized, participated in, or ratified actions” that were malicious or egregious. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant for his actions and to deter others from committing a similar offense. Many times, unrepresented claimants and inexperienced attorneys that do not limit their practice to personal injury claims will leave valuable compensation on the table because the injured victim’s claim is not properly presented to the insurance company. Each and every personal injury claim requires an exhaustive review of the damages listed above so that the injured party receives the compensation he or she deserves. A small mistake can cost the injured victim lots of compensation. The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman will help maximize the value of your claim and fully explain the claim process throughout the entire case. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if they win your case.