Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, regardless of how it happens. However, it becomes especially difficult to bear when it happens due to someone else’s wrongful actions. In such cases, the survivors or the deceased person’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Here, we review the intricate aspects of wrongful death cases, with specific insights into legal perspectives in Ohio and Michigan.
Defining a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death case arises when a person’s death is caused due to the wrongdoing of another individual, entity, or company. The wrongful conduct can be due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.
The critical point is that the death could have been avoided if the defendant’s actions hadn’t occurred. It’s a legal way to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and help the deceased loved ones recover the compensation that justice requires.
Common scenarios that lead to a wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace incidents
- Defective products
Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The laws regarding who can file a wrongful death claim vary by state. In general, the right to file a wrongful death case goes to the immediate family members of the deceased person. This right includes the spouse, children, or parents.
The right to file a wrongful death case in Ohio and Michigan primarily lies with the immediate family. However, other dependents may be eligible under certain circumstances.
In other states, relatives or dependents may also be eligible to file a claim. These include:
- Life Partners or Financial Dependents: In some jurisdictions, an unmarried domestic partner or anyone financially dependent on the deceased can file a claim.
- Distant Family Members: Some states also allow distant family members — like siblings or grandparents suffering financially due to the death — to file claims.
- All Persons Who Suffer Financially: In certain situations, any individual who suffers financially from the death can bring a wrongful death action for lost care or support, even if they are not related by blood or marriage.
- Legal Representatives: If the deceased person had a will, the executor of the deceased person’s estate might be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case?
The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case vary by state. When considering the potential damages recoverable in a wrongful death claim, it’s essential to understand that these can extend beyond immediate monetary losses.
The list of potential damages may include:
- Medical Costs: Any expenses related to medical care the deceased received for their final illness or injury
- Funeral Expenses: Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of Income: The earnings the deceased would have provided if they had lived
- Loss of Benefits: Any benefits like pension plans or medical coverage that the deceased would have provided
- Loss of Inheritance: What the beneficiaries would have received if the deceased had lived to their natural old age
- Pain and Suffering or Mental Anguish: Emotional pain over losing a loved one.
- Loss of Companionship, Care, or Protection: Compensation for the survivors for the loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, comfort, or care
- Punitive Damages: Punishment to deter the offender and prevent others from committing similar acts
It is paramount to consult with a wrongful death attorney to understand the specific damages you may be able to pursue in your particular case.
Consult Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault for Legal Assistance
Knowing your rights is essential to hold those responsible accountable in the aftermath of a wrongful death. For instance, Ohio’s statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is only two years, but three years in Michigan.
Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need if you are facing a wrongful death case. We offer skilled representation and unwavering support to help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Call 419-843-6663 today for a consultation, or visit our website.
Jeff joined GT&B in 2008 as a law clerk. After graduation he returned to GT&B as a personal injury Associate in 2011. Jeff is now a senior associate in the Personal Injury department, with a focus on auto accidents, premises liability, general negligence, wrongful death and dog bites.