Families who lose loved ones in preventable accidents suffer tremendous emotional losses, as well as financial strains when their loved one provided economic support. Fortunately, our civil justice system recognizes the extensive damages suffered by the families of victims who perished due to the negligent or wrongful acts of others, and provides the legal pathways through which they can seek monetary compensation in wrongful death actions.
In Ohio, wrongful death claims are typically filed by a surviving spouse who has lost a loved due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another. Surviving children, including adopted children, and surviving parents also have a right to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Although other family members, such as siblings or grandparents, are not presumed by statutory law to have suffered losses when a relative dies, they may be able to recover compensation if they are able to illustrate the nature of their relationship and prove they suffered a compensable loss.
It is important to note that wrongful death claims are not related to criminal cases involving murder or manslaughter. If criminal charges are filed, they are handled separately in a criminal court. They also only concern whether a defendant is guilty of committing a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Wrongful death actions, on the other hand, are filed by eligible family members in civil court, and seek to prove that another’s negligence more likely than not caused death, that they suffered damages as a result, and that the at-fault party is liable for those losses.
When successful, wrongful death claims allow families to recover compensation for their resulting damages, including:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of emotional support
- Loss of consortium
- Lost financial support
- Medical and funeral expenses.
Families suffer tremendously due to the loss of a loved one, and while no amount of compensation can make amends for this, legal action can ensure the party who caused this pain is held responsible in the eyes of the law.
At Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, our attorneys are passionate about helping families secure the justice and financial support they need during some of the most difficult times in their lives, and we have done just that in numerous serious injury and wrongful death cases throughout the years, including those resulting from car accidents, defective products, and other acts of negligence. To discuss a potential case with a member of our team, contact us for a free consultation.