How Does A Wrongful Death Claim Differ From A Personal Injury Claim?
Following a serious traffic collision or another type of devastating accident, the family members of an injured person might be trying to determine the best option for seeking financial compensation to cover hospital bills, lost wages, and when those injuries result in death, the costs of a funeral and other burial expenses. When a debilitating and life-threatening injury occurs, both personal injury law and wrongful death law could be applicable to the case. However, it can be difficult to understand the distinctions between these areas of the law and when it is appropriate to move forward with a personal injury claim versus a wrongful death claim. Our experienced Columbus personal injury and wrongful death attorneys can provide you with more information.
What is the Relationship Between Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law?
Personal injury law and wrongful death law are closely related, but it is also important to understand how they are distinct from one another. Personal injury law in Ohio allows an injured person to file a claim for compensation against the party who is responsible for causing injuries. In a car accident case, for example, the responsible party could be a negligent driver who caused the crash, the owner of damaged roadway where the collision occurred, or the designer or manufacturer of a defective vehicle part that caused the crash.
When a person is killed in an accident, that person cannot file a lawsuit on their own behalf any longer. In these cases, Ohio law allows the personal representative of the deceased to stand in the shoes of the deceased in a metaphorical capacity in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. In the example given above, the responsible party named as the defendant in the lawsuit would remain the same, but the plaintiff would be the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Damages Differ Slightly in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party is the one who files the claim and seeks compensation for losses, such as his or her medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In a wrongful death case, the types of damages differ slightly. The personal representative typically seeks compensation for funeral and burial costs for the deceased, as well as losses suffered by the deceased’s surviving family members, such as loss of support, or loss of care and companionship.
Clock on the Statute of Limitations Starts Ticking at a Different Point
While the statute of limitations for both personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death claims is two years, the clock on the respective time windows will begin ticking at a different point depending upon whether a plaintiff is filing a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit.
In a personal injury lawsuit in Ohio, the two-year clock starts ticking on the date of the accident that caused the injury. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the two-year clock begins to tick on the date of the deceased’s death. However, it is important to note that other considerations exist outside of statute of limitations, such as those associated with the probate court, which may impact the ability to file a wrongful death claim.
Contact Our Columbus Wrongful Death Lawyers for More Information
Our firm routinely assists clients with both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, and an experienced Columbus wrongful death lawyer at our firm can provide you with more information today. Contact Brian G. Miller CO., L.P.A. to learn more about the services we provide in Ohio.