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Columbus Wrongful Death Lawyer

Have you lost a loved one due to the wrongful or negligent actions of another? If so, reach out to a reputable wrongful death lawyer in Columbus to bring them to justice.

You simply can’t prepare for an unexpected death in the family. Emotionally, it’s bound to take a toll. When a family member’s death could have been prevented if it weren’t for the negligent, reckless, or egregious conduct, you likely feel angry and want justice for your deceased loved one. Fortunately, you may be able to file a civil claim against the liable party.

When you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with is litigation. But when you choose to get help from a compassionate Columbus wrongful death lawyer at Rafidi, Pallante & Melewski, LLC, you can spend your time focused on your family and mourning your loss while we work on the legal details of your case. 

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Columbus?

In Ohio, the wrongful death statute states that a death is wrongful if it was caused by neglect, default, or a wrongful act. It doesn’t matter, legally speaking, whether a person intended to cause the death of your family member. 

If it wasn’t for the actions of the liable party, your loved one would still be alive. In instances in which someone else is responsible for causing the death of your family member, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against them. 

This would include accidental deaths, work-related deaths, intentional deaths, and any other cases in which another party is directly or indirectly responsible for causing the death of another person.

Differences Between a Civil Claim and Criminal Charges

Wrongful death claims are much different than criminal charges that a person may face for causing the death of another. In a criminal case, the state’s prosecuting attorney will bring charges against a person for homicide, manslaughter, or any other death-related charges. The prosecutor will then be seeking criminal penalties such as fines, prison or jail time, probation, and the like. 

This is a stark contrast to a civil claim that is brought forward by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This could be:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse
  • The decedent’s adult children
  • The decedent’s parents
  • Anyone who the decedent may have named as the representative of the estate

The personal representative is the only party who has the right to file the Columbus wrongful death claim. In the wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate will seek compensation for the decedent’s death as opposed to criminal penalties.

Under Ohio law, the personal representative is representing the personal injury claim that the decedent would have been able to file if they had not succumbed to their injuries.

The burden of proof is also much different in civil versus criminal cases. In a criminal case, the prosecuting attorney has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused party is guilty of the crime question. 

But in civil court, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, with the help of their Columbus wrongful death attorney, need only approve liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the evidence presented shows that the respondent in the civil claim is liable for the decedent’s death.

Wrongful Death Laws in Columbus

As you move forward with your claim, you should know that only certain damages can be included in the value of the lawsuit. The person filing the claim can seek compensation for both the deceased and specific surviving family members including:

  • The surviving spouse
  • Any surviving children (and adopted children)
  • The decedent’s surviving parents
  • Any other family members who may have suffered specific losses

Damages that would apply to the decedent could include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income 
  • Earning potential (i.e. bonuses, inheritance contributions, salary increases, etc.)
  • Medical expenses incurred prior to their death

Financial and non-financial losses that the surviving family members can seek in the Columbus wrongful death claim include:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of household responsibilities (i.e. yard work, chores, child care, maintenance, etc.)
  • Loss of guidance
  • Loss of support
  • Loss of love
  • Loss of advice 
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost potential inheritance

These are just a few of the different types of losses that both the decedent and the decedent’s surviving family members may be entitled to. Your wrongful death lawyer in Columbus will discuss in detail the ways that your life has been impacted, your family’s lives have been impacted, and the losses that the decedent incurred due to their death in order to calculate the value of the claim.

Any compensation awarded in the wrongful death claim will then be distributed to the surviving family members. This is based on the degree that they were related to, or had a relationship with, the decedent.

Columbus Wrongful Death FAQ

Being bombarded with information about how wrongful death law works in Ohio can give anyone a headache. Check out the FAQ provided below. You may find the answers to some common questions that family members struggling to cope with a wrongful death have had regarding their potential civil claim. 

You can contact our office to ask any other specific questions you might have that have not been addressed on this page. 

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Ohio?

Wrongful death lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations in the state of Ohio. This means that you have two years from the date of the decedent’s passing to get the wrongful death claim filed or settled. 

If your claim is not filed before the state’s statute of limitations expires, you will no longer be able to obtain full compensation for the death of your loved one. You will also not be able to bring the person responsible to justice. 

Can I seek punitive damages?

Punitive damages are not something you seek in a wrongful death claim. Awarding punitive damages is rare in a wrongful death claim, but the court does have the power to award them if the actions of the liable party are deemed to be egregious or willfully harmful. 

How can a wrongful death lawyer help me?

A wrongful death lawyer can help you throughout every step of the claims process. 

From figuring out who is responsible for causing your loved one’s death, gathering evidence to support your case, handling the legalities of the claim, providing you with emotional support throughout the process, and representing your family and the decedent’s interests in court, having a wrongful death lawyer in Columbus helping you with your case can make all the difference. 

Get in Touch with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Columbus

To learn more about how you can get started on your claim, contact a respected Columbus wrongful death lawyer at Rafidi, Pallante & Melewski LLC. Call 1-866-494-5387 or complete the quick contact form below to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.