Ohio Law on Limits of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death suits are filed every day in the state of Ohio and throughout the country. Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to compensate families of those killed by negligence, either purposefully or due to an accident. One recent case involves a patient who died at a Columbus, Ohio hospital due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Dee Rezes was an inpatient at Mount Carmel Grove Hospital in Columbus. The hospital’s hot water tank contained Legionnaires’ bacteria (Legionella) which infected Ms. Rezes. She died as a result, and her family sued the hospital for wrongful death. This case brings up many questions, including whether or not there should be limits on wrongful death lawsuits.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
According to Ohio law, the only people who can sue for wrongful death are direct family members of the deceased loved one. This means that a parent, spouse, or child of the victim can file the lawsuit. Additional family members, including siblings, can receive financial compensation from the lawsuit, as they can be added to the lawsuit after it has been filed. It all depends on their testimony and whether or not they can prove they had a financial relationship or dependency on the deceased.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death
Once you know that you’re eligible to file a wrongful death suit, it must be filed before the statute of limitations has expired. Those who want to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio have two years to do so. The clock begins upon the death of their loved one, or when they realized the death was wrongful. The latter extends the clock on the case, but it has to be proven to the court in order for the case to be found valid and not dismissed outright.
Limits on Wrongful Death Suits
In addition to the laws that govern who can and cannot file a wrongful death suit and how long they have to do so, there are limits placed on awards. These limits address the compensation that may be awarded to the loved ones of the deceased, yet there are no actual dollar amounts contained in the law. For example, one of the statutes lists that the suit can be filed for the amount the deceased would have made in the future. This missing income, including salary, bonuses, and additional compensation can be estimated to include how much they would have made throughout their lifetime.
Similarly, any life insurance compensation received by the beneficiaries who filed the suit must be disclosed to the court. If damages are awarded, the life insurance value will be subtracted from the final award determination. Another known limitation pertains to state universities. For instance, if a major accident occurs on university property and resulted in multiple deaths, the monetary award is limited to $250,000 per person. Right or wrong, this is the law.
As you can see, wrongful death suits are complex and it is best to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney see if you’re eligible to file a claim and maximize your award.
Did you lose a loved one due to an accident that could have been prevented? Do you want to plan to file a wrongful death suit? Call me today to discuss your claim and I’ll Make Them Pay!®