Losing someone you love and depend on unexpectedly can have quite a few negative consequences. Not only do you miss the company and affection of your loved one, but you also have financial concerns stemming from lost income and the expenses associated with their end-of-life care.
Grief can often overwhelm people in the early days after a car crash or similar incident claims the life of a loved one. For many people, the grieving process can last several years. It is, unfortunately, common for those coping with grief to choose to put off major decisions or actions until after they feel more acclimated to their new situation.
Sadly, because of how long it can take to grieve a tragic loss, waiting until you finish grieving to make major legal and financial decisions could mean waiting too long and losing out on some of your rights.
You may have the right to a civil lawsuit if a person or business caused the death
Under Ohio’s wrongful death laws, surviving dependent family members like spouses and children can pursue a civil lawsuit against the person or business whose wrongful acts or neglect directly contributed to or caused the death of their loved one.
Such a lawsuit can help you by providing financial compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses and other financial consequences from your loss. If you show that the preponderance of evidence upholds your claim that the other person or a business caused your loved one’s death, the courts may award you financial compensation. However, if you wait until you’ve processed your grief, you might lose out on that right.
Ohio has a strict statute of limitations for wrongful death claims
Statute of limitations serves to protect people from claims that are so old that they cannot reasonably be proven one way or the other. In Ohio, you have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death claim. You typically will need to have settled the claim outside of court or filed appropriate court paperwork by then or you will lose out on your right to compensation.
Working with a lawyer familiar with wrongful death cases in Ohio can take the pressure off of you after a sudden, tragic loss. Your attorney can handle filing paperwork and gather evidence, while you can focus on healing and on supporting other loved ones as you adjust to your new reality.