A death is considered a wrongful death when it is caused directly or indirectly by someone else, either through intentional action or negligence. In this case, a wrongful death lawsuit or claim can be brought against the at-fault party. Family members or the decedent’s personal representative, depending on their situation, can file the wrongful death case on the decedent’s behalf.
Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death can happen in many different ways. Examples of wrongful death include:
Vehicle accidents can result in fatalities. If someone else’s negligence caused the car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for the death of your loved one. People on the road have a duty to drive safely and responsibly. If they fail to do so and cause an accident, they could be held responsible for the damages.
If someone breaks the law and fatally harms your loved one in the process, they can be held responsible for their death. This scenario could include an act of violence, breaking and entering their home, and theft.
If a product does not work the way it is supposed to and results in your loved one’s death, the companies who created and sold the product can be held responsible for their death. Common defective products include household appliances, children’s toys, medical devices, food products, and vehicles.
Drowning can be considered a wrongful death if proper precautions were not taken to prevent the death. This could include not putting up a safety fence around the pool or not providing enough lifeguards for the number of swimmers in the pool. Drownings could also have been prevented if proper safety gear was provided to those who needed it.
Medical malpractice is often a cause of wrongful death.
In order to prove wrongful death, negligence has to be proven. To establish negligence, four main elements have to be shown. The four main elements include:
- Duty: Duty of care has to be proven. Did someone have a duty to ensure they did not harm your loved one?
- Breach: Did they breach that duty of care by acting unreasonably or irresponsibly?
- Causation: Was this breach of duty the cause of the injuries of your loved one?
- Damages: In a wrongful death claim, the damages include your loved one’s death and the other consequences that come with it.
Who Can Sue
Different states have different regulations to control who can sue in a wrongful death claim. In Ohio, you are able to sue in a wrongful death lawsuit if you are the victim’s spouse, child, or parent. You are also able to sue in a wrongful death lawsuit if you can prove that you have suffered a loss because of their death.
In addition, you also have to make sure you are within the allowed timeframe. According to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §2125.02, you have up to two years from the death to file a lawsuit. Losing a loved one can mean more than just missing them in your life. There can be serious financial repercussions of losing someone close to you. If you lost a loved one as a result of wrongful death, you could be entitled to compensation, including:
- The cost of medical treatment prior to their death
- The value of services provided by your loved one
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of care
- Funeral costs
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, this could be considered a wrongful death. A lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to establish negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit. The Fitch Law Firm LLC can work with you to determine what options you have available.
We can advocate for you and your loved one. You should be able to take the time you need to mourn without worrying about dealing with insurance and other lawyers. Call our Columbus office today at (614) 545-3930 for a free consultation. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, so you will not be charged anything unless and until you receive compensation for your damages.