A wrongful death can be not only emotionally devastating but can have profound financial consequences for the deceased’s loved ones.
If your loved one has been killed through another person’s negligence or intentional action, a Cleveland wrongful death lawyer from Ben Crump Law can help you pursue justice on your loved one’s behalf and secure your family’s future by seeking the compensation to which you may be entitled. Since we work on contingency, then that means you do not pay us until we recover an award on your behalf.
We also know the pain that comes with losing a loved one, and we want you to focus on grieving and recovery while we focus on your case and take care of every detail.
To schedule a free consultation, call the offices of Ben Crump Law today at (800) 593-3443.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) § 2125 describes a wrongful death as the “death of a person [that] is caused by [a] wrongful act, neglect, or default.” That is, of course, a definition that could encompass different types of fatalities that could be because of manslaughter, a slip and fall accident, or a workplace accident.
If a person is criminally charged for the death of your loved one—such as after a drunk-driving accident—that does not preclude you from filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against them. In that situation, your civil case would be separate from the criminal one and would not necessarily require a guilty verdict.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving Cleveland, call (800) 593-3443
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must be a “personal representative” of the deceased and be pursuing the case for the “exclusive benefit” of their relatives, specifically, their surviving spouse, their children, and parents, as well as other relatives who are expected to have suffered damages because of the death, according to ORC § 2125.02. If the deceased is a minor, a parent who abandoned them is not permitted to pursue compensation from their child’s death.
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How Much Can You Recover from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There is no limit to compensatory damages in wrongful death cases. According to ORC §2125.02, in wrongful death cases, compensatory damages may include:
- Loss of financial support from the deceased’s earning capacity
- Loss of the deceased’s services
- Loss of society
- Loss of prospective inheritance to the deceased’s heirs
- Suffering relatives’ mental anguish due to decedent’s death
- Decedent’s funeral and burial expenses
Because the court can include the loss of the deceased’s future earnings when deciding on compensatory awards, a judge or jury can consider such things as a life insurance annuity or whether the spouse has remarried.
If you have questions about the compensation you might be entitled to, a Cleveland wrongful death lawyer may be able to help. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC for more information.
How Are Awards Distributed?
ORC § 2125.03 says that if all beneficiaries have an “equal degree of consanguinity” to the deceased—meaning they are equally related, such as siblings—then they will be allowed to decide among themselves how to split an award from a settlement or jury verdict.
If they cannot reach a unanimous agreement or if there are multiple layers of beneficiaries, such as spouses, parents, siblings, children, and so on, the court will split the recovery in a ay they deem fair among all the decedent’s beneficiaries based on their individual injuries and losses they have suffered from their loved one’s death. If any beneficiaries are under the age of 25, the court may put their share of the award into a trust.
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What the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases Is
The deceased’s family has two years from the date of their death to file a wrongful action lawsuit in Ohio, as noted in ORC § 2125.02(D)(1). However, ORC § 2125.02(D)(2) contains some particulars for product liability claims. They are:
- A lawsuit against a manufacturer or supplier must be filed no more than 10 years after the defective product was first delivered to its first purchaser or lessee who did not use the product as a component on the creation or production of another product.
- If the manufacturer or supplier had committed fraud or had an express, written safety warranty that had not expired at the time of the deceased’s death, then the time limit does not apply.
- If the deceased dies less than two years prior to the expiration of the 10-year window, their family has until two years after their death to initiate a lawsuit.
- If the person bringing the claim is a minor or is “of unsound mind” at the end of the 10-year window and cannot bring a lawsuit, they can do so within two years of reaching majority or being declared competent.
- If a person dies from prolonged exposure to a product, their family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of learning their cause of death.
How We Can Help
The death of a loved one is always a profound loss. At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we know that if your loved one’s death was the result of negligence, avarice, or intentional wrongful act, you can be entitled to compensation. More than that, your family deserves a sense of financial security.
Our Cleveland wrongful death lawyers never shy away from tough cases, and we never stop fighting to protect our clients’ rights. If you want to seek justice for your loved one’s death, call our offices today at (800) 593-3443.