During the difficult time after a fatal accident, choosing lawyers for wrongful death cases is a difficult decision. Whether the loss is from motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, medical errors or another negligent act or wrongful act, your emotional distress is often overwhelming. However, when you suspect the family member’s death is the fault of another person, picking the right wrongful death attorneys helps you seek justice by holding the responsible party accountable. Moreover, bringing the wrongful death claim may change behaviors to prevent your tragedy being experienced by others. Ohio, like other states, has a wrongful death statute. The civil action gives surviving family members the ability to get financial compensation from the wrongdoer. Some things to consider in choosing an experienced wrongful attorney are:
- How many wrongful death actions has the lawyer handled?
- Is there a free consultation?
- What fee is charged to the estate?
- Does the attorney personally handle the case?
- Does the lawyer help you in probate court at no additional fee?
- Will the lawyer act in your family’s best interest and treat you compassion throughout the process?
Michael Eisner has years of experience with wrongful death claims. For more than 25 years, he represented estates for the death of a person in all types of cases. He also provides a free case review before you decide to hire him. At The Law Offices of Michael L. Eisner, LLC, all wrongful death cases pursued are done on a contingent fee basis. This means there is no fee unless he wins a settlement or judgment for you. He also handles every case individually, and provides full service (including probate). As such, you talk with him directly, and not to a paralegal or call screener. To experience The Eisner Difference, simply call Michael directly at 216-905-2200.
What’s Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim is a civil action against an at fault party who caused the death of a person. Ohio’s wrongful death statute spells out who can bring a wrongful death suit when tragedy happens. It holds the person or entity that caused the death accountable for wrongful death damages. The only person who can bring the wrongful death lawsuit is the personal representative of the deceased person. This person is also called the administrator of the estate. The administrator acts in the best interest of all of the wrongful death beneficiaries. He/she also protects all of the assets of the estate.
Any type of case is wrongful death when the victim dies as a result of the wrongful act. Some common causes of wrongful death are:
- car accidents;
- truck accidents;
- motorcycle crashes;
- bicycle accidents;
- pedestrian crashes;
- dog bites;
- hazardous places;
- dangerous products;
- medical negligence (aka medical malpractice);
Who Can Bring and Reach a Settlement for Wrongful Death?
Not everyone can file a wrongful death suit or bring a claim. In Ohio, this is only the role of the personal representative appointed by the probate court. This person is responsible for protecting the entire estate, and acts for all beneficiaries – not just themselves. Even when the representative wants to settle, he/she cannot without the approval of the probate court. Every probate court requires notice to certain beneficiaries. While the beneficiaries cannot decide on the settlement, they have the right to be heard at a hearing. The probate court, in the county where the decedent resided, must approve the settlement, attorney fees, case expenses, and distribution. This protects everyone with an interest in the case.
What is a Survivorship Claim?
Wrongful death is different than another personal injury claims. It allows for different types of damages than another personal injury case. Your personal injury lawyer seeks both economic and non-economic damages for your injuries. These monetary damages include:
- medical expenses;
- lost wages;
- value of replacement services;
- pain and suffering;
- inability to perform usual activities, just to name a few; and,
- some cases allow punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer.
A wrongful death action alone does not include these. However, for the damages before the unexpected loss, the suit should include a separate claim. This is called a survival action. Survival action is the part of the claim prior to the time of death, and the claims survive the death. They are also brought by the personal representative through the probate estate.
What are Wrongful Death Damages?
Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.02 tells us who can recover for wrongful death damages. The date of death fixes the status of all beneficiaries. Any next of kin conceived prior to the premature death of their relative, even if born after the untimely death, is a beneficiary and entitled to recover. Damages for wrongful death are not capped in Ohio, and are protected by the Ohio Constitution. They include:
- burial expenses
- funeral expenses
- a loss of support from expected earning capacity of the deceased;
- the loss of society, companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education suffered by a surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent;
- the loss of perspective inheritance by the deceased heirs;
- mental anguish of the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin.
Lawyers for wrongful death must understand the different types of damages and claims available to your specific case.
Are Wrongful Death Damages Taxable?
Many lawyers for wrongful death don’t fully inform their clients about tax issues. While the proceeds of some lawsuits are taxable, wrongful death damages are not. The Internal Revenue Code recognizes that monetary damages for compensation arising out of personal injuries is not income. Because these make up for losses, the IRS does not tax these damages. However, other damages (i.e. punitive) are taxable.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the time limit to file a lawsuit. Different claims have different limits. In Ohio, it is two years from the date of death for wrongful death. However, the survivorship claim can be less. Further, some types of cases (i.e medical malpractice) have different rules for calculating the time. The statute for the that portion of the case may also be shorter. Accordingly, the sooner you contact lawyers for wrongful death, the better they can help you.
CONSULTATIONS ARE FREE AND THERE IS NO FEE ON WRONGFUL DEATH CASES UNLESS I MAKE A RECOVERY FOR THE ESTATE
If you’ve suffered the loss of a family member or loved one, I will answer your questions with kindness and compassion. Please, call ME, your wrongful death lawyer serving all of Ohio. You can email me or call me personally at (216) 905-2200. you will get a free consultation and learn about your legal options.