SKILLED IN WRONGFUL DEATH CASES
Serious accidents result in devastating injuries much too frequently in Cleveland and throughout Ohio, and these accidents can result in the death of a loved one. While it is difficult to think about the risks of a fatal injury when a loved one is behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or seeking a routine medical procedure, deadly injuries can occur when another party is careless or reckless, or even when another party engages in an intentionally violent or harmful act.
At Groth & Associates, we know how difficult wrongful death cases can be, and we believe that nobody should have to face the untimely loss of a loved one due to somebody else’s negligence. Yet when these devastating situations do occur, our experienced Cleveland wrongful death lawyers want to do everything we can to help you seek and obtain financial compensation for your losses. We have years of experience representing clients in a wide variety of wrongful death lawsuits, and we can speak with you today about your options.
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LEARNING MORE ABOUT WRONGFUL DEATH LAW IN CLEVELAND
Wrongful death law is a type of law that is closely related to personal injury law. These lawsuits are civil lawsuits, which means that you will not be seeking to have the liable party arrested or criminally charged for the death of your loved one, but rather that you will be seeking financial damages to compensate for losses associated with your loved one’s death.
Under Ohio law, a plaintiff can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit when another person has sustained fatal injuries as a result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or default.” To be clear, a person can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit when the death resulted from someone else’s negligent actions or omissions, or unintentional wrongdoing, such as a mistake made in a surgical procedure or a distracted driving crash that led to fatal injuries. Yet wrongful death lawsuits can also be filed against a party who committed an intentional act that led to the deceased’s fatal injuries, including against a person who has committed manslaughter or murder. In such a case, a wrongful death lawsuit would be separate from any kind of criminal case.
How is wrongful death law related to personal injury law? In a personal injury case, the law recognizes the right of the injured party to file a lawsuit against the person or entity who is liable for the injuries. However, when a person sustains fatal injuries and dies, that person cannot file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Instead, the law recognizes the right of another person to metaphorically step into the shoes of the deceased person who suffered fatal injuries and to file a lawsuit against the party who is responsible.
OTHER PRACTICE AREA CASES
PROCESS FOR FILING A CLEVELAND WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Cleveland, the party filing the claim must be the personal representative of the deceased’s estate (also known as the executor of the estate). It is critical to understand that wrongful death laws vary from state to state. Accordingly, the way the law works in another state may not be how the law works in Ohio. While some other states permit surviving spouses, adult children, parents, and other related parties to file a wrongful death lawsuit, Ohio law requires the personal representative of the state to fulfill this role.
In many wrongful death cases in Ohio, the personal representative of the estate is a surviving family member of the deceased, such as a surviving spouse, or a surviving adult child. Yet even if the personal representative of the estate is not a surviving family member, you should know that damages will nonetheless be awarded to the surviving immediate family members and, in some situations, other related family members like siblings or grandparents.
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DAMAGES IN A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT IN CLEVELAND
Surviving family members may be able to recover multiple forms of damages through a wrongful death lawsuit, including but not limited to the following:
- Hospital bills of the deceased prior to death;
- Funeral expenses and burial costs;
- Loss of the deceased’s future wages;
- Loss of the deceased’s services;
- Loss of the deceased’s companionship; and
- Mental suffering of the surviving family members caused by the deceased’s death.
These are forms of compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate for both direct losses (economic damages) and losses that are more subjective in nature and thus more difficult to quantify (non-economic damages).
Ohio law defines an economic loss as a “pecuniary harm,” and a non-economic loss as “nonpecuniary harm that results from an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action, including, but not limited to, pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.”
TIMELINE FOR FILING A CLEVELAND WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys in Columbus, OH also routinely assist clients with record sealing and expungement. It is important to understand how record sealing and expungement work under Ohio law, and when you can ask the court to seal or expunge a criminal record.
Record sealing is a process through which your criminal record can be hidden from the general public, and in many cases, you will not need to disclose information about the criminal record. However, in some circumstances, an employer or another party may be able to obtain information that is contained in a sealed criminal record. Expunging a criminal record, differently, means destroying the record entirely so that it no longer exists.
In general, Ohio adult criminal conviction records cannot typically be expunged, but they may be eligible for record sealing. Record sealing is possible if a certain amount of time has passed since your conviction (anywhere from 3-5 years for a felony conviction and usually 1 year for a misdemeanor conviction), and if the offense is eligible for sealing. There are additional requirements you should discuss with an attorney. Some types of criminal offenses are completely ineligible for sealing, including OVI/Dui offenses, serious violent crimes, 1st-degree and 2nd-degree felony offenses, most types of sex offenses, and most criminal offenses involving children.
For juveniles, it may be possible to seal or expunge a criminal record depending upon the circumstances.
COMMON DAMAGES IN A COLUMBUS WRONGFUL DEATH CASEY
Most wrongful death lawsuits in Ohio will need to be filed within two years from the date of the deceased’s death. You should begin working with a wrongful death lawyer in Cleveland as soon as you can to ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner.
SEEK ADVICE FROM OUR WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS IN CLEVELAND
Nobody should ever have to go through the horrific experience of losing a loved one in an accident or because of another party’s careless behavior or intentionally harmful act. Yet fatal accidents occur more frequently than most of us would like to think about, and another party is often at fault due to negligent or reckless behavior. If you recently lost a loved one and you believe another party may be liable, it is critical to seek advice from a Cleveland wrongful death attorney as soon as possible about filing a claim. We know that it can be difficult and emotional to go through a wrongful death case, but we also know how important it is to hold the wrongdoer accountable and to seek compensation for your enormous losses.
Our firm is here to assist you with your case. Contact Groth & Associates for more information about filing an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit.
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