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Why wrongful death claims often involve court, not just insurance

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Most adults in Ohio travel frequently in motor vehicles, which is one reason that crashes are a leading cause of injury and death in the Buckeye State. Unfortunately, the insurance requirements in Ohio aren’t really high enough to protect those affected by collisions.

Someone who can’t drive their brand-new vehicle after a crash or who will miss weeks of work because of an injury will frequently need to consider taking the driver at fault for their collision to court. When a crash results in someone dying, insurance coverage is frequently insufficient.

Many grieving families struggling to accept the reality of a loved one’s death after a car crash will need to consider going to court for financial justice because insurance simply won’t be enough.

Ohio coverage requirements are too low for major losses

Drivers can carry as much insurance as they deem necessary given their personal resources and standard of living. However, many people carry only what the state requires in liability coverage. These drivers carry $25,000 in property damage coverage. Their bodily injury protection isn’t much better.

Ohio requires at least $25,000 of coverage in a crash where one person gets hurt and $50,000 of coverage per collision. If only the deceased person suffered injuries in the crash, their family members may not have enough coverage to pay for funeral expenses, medical costs and lost wages. A wrongful death lawsuit gives family members an option to seek the full value of what they have lost because of a deadly crash.

Wrongful death claims are not subject to policy limits

Insurance coverage is often difficult to navigate because companies want to keep what they pay as low as possible and the maximum amount of compensation someone can secure is subject to a cap established by the policy limit.

Similar rules are not a concern in wrongful death claims. Families can claim a lifetime of lost wages and work benefits, as well as other provable losses the household will suffer following someone’s death.

The only significant cap that might apply relates to punitive damages. Punitive damages are rare because of the high standard for awarding them in Ohio. If a plaintiff does receive them, the courts will typically cap the damages at 10% of a defendant’s net worth, with a limit of $350,000.

Pursuing a wrongful death claim is often a means of securing both emotional justice and economic compensation after a fatal collision.