Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The stark reality is that a personal injury lawsuit can quickly escalate into a wrongful death lawsuit. From accidents to medical negligence, an injured victim may succumb to injuries, infection or other complications. For surviving loved ones, navigating a personal injury claim that turned into a wrongful death lawsuit can be paralyzing without the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
Intentional acts, medical malpractice and accidents can all result in a wrongful death claim. Proving a wrongful death case is much like proving a personal injury claim – The victim must prove the same burden of proof as if he or she had lived. In a wrongful death case I represent the estate or family members rather than the victim themselves.
Children, parents, spouses and siblings can all be part of an estate that files a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one. In the past, the law did not allow such a claim to proceed – Essentially the individual that caused the death could not be held accountable in the courtroom because the complaining party couldn’t be present. Fortunately laws have evolved and families can gain the justice they deserve.
In the state of Ohio, 4 criteria must be met to prove wrongful death:
- The victim’s personal injury case would have entitled them to compensation
- The death was a direct result of negligence
- The estate of the victim has a surviving member
- The member of the estate filing has suffered damages from the death
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In my experience, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is arguably more complex than filing a personal injury claim. For injured clients, I am able to gain an account of the events that led up to their injury. This can be particularly insightful to gain information and to prove the responsible party had the knowledge and duty to prevent the incident from occurring in the first place! In a wrongful death action, the deceased cannot obviously be interviewed and thus further discovery must be done.