When someone that you love dies, your entire world may change in an instant. From the relationships you have with other family members to your daily responsibilities, everything will be different after you lose a member of your immediate family.
An unexpected death often causes emotional upheaval in addition to financial stress. Your family may desire justice and may also need financial support. A wrongful death lawsuit in theory can provide you with both. You ask the civil courts to award you compensation from a business or an individual who caused your loved one’s death through negligence or illegal behavior.
What kinds of damages will the Ohio courts potentially grant in a wrongful death claim?
There are many verifiable financial expenses related to someone dying unexpectedly. Your family likely had to cover funeral and burial costs, which will amount to thousands of dollars. There could also very well be medical expenses incurred before your loved one died. Then you need to consider the wages they will never earn and the benefits that they can no longer provide to the family. All of those losses have verifiable economic value, as will the loss of a future inheritance.
Ohio does allow family members to seek compensation for certain losses that don’t have a set financial value. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit can include compensation for mental anguish, the loss of your loved one’s companionship and the loss of their household services.
Although punitive damages are rare in Ohio, there are situations in which the courts will award the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit additional money that serves to punish the defendants rather than to directly compensate the family. Typically, willful misconduct or gross negligence is necessary for families to have a claim for any sort of punitive damages.
Although it can be difficult to evaluate all of the financial losses your family will suffer because of a loved one’s death, it is crucial that you do so if you want to pursue justice in the civil courts. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit will pass the consequences your family suffers back to the party who caused those losses.