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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out? | Ohio Law

When a wrongful death claim takes center stage, it's often a response to a life cut short by a wrongful act. Ohio law provides eligible family members a path for seeking justice and financial recovery amid challenging times.


The court pays out settlements in two ways: lump-sum and structured payments. Another section below will discuss this topic in depth.


Eligible Parties in Ohio Wrongful Death Claims

Eligible Parties in Ohio Wrongful Death Claims


Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult experience. Legal expertise can pave the way for a more manageable journey toward closure and justice in times of distress. Know what the elements of wrongful death in Ohio are can help with this.


Surviving Spouse

At the heart of a wrongful death claim stands the surviving spouse. It could be a wife, husband, or any legal partner.


Surviving Parents

Other partial dependents include the parents of the deceased person. Ohio's legal framework acknowledges the ripple effect of wrongful death. It extends eligibility to parents who have lost a child whom they relied on for financial support.


Dependent Children

Biological, step, and adopted children can also file wrongful death lawsuits in the Buckeye State. Minor kids cannot file wrongful death claims, but they can recover financial compensation.


Personal Representative

There are cases when no surviving family members can bring forth a wrongful death settlement. In this event, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate can file a claim.


If the case is successful, the probate court will order the representative to fairly distribute the assets and settlement offer among the rightful heirs.


Legal Timeframe for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Cincinnati, Ohio


Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Cincinnati, Ohio, the statute of limitations, or the timeframe within which plaintiffs must file a claim, is generally two years from death. This is known as the "limitation period."


However, some exceptions can extend or shorten this period. If the wrongful death was caused by a crime for which the offender was convicted, the limitation period may extend beyond two years.


Conversely, the limitation period is less than two years for Ohio wrongful death claims against governmental entities. Skilled wrongful death attorneys can guide clients through the legal process, ensuring they file necessary documentation timely and accurately.


They can also help quantify the financial and emotional impact of the loss, including lost wages, medical expenses, and loss of companionship, among other damages. They are also to answer questions such as What is wrongful death in Ohio?


Typical Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit


In the wake of a devastating loss, wrongful death settlements can offer financial relief to families burdened by unexpected costs and loss of income.


Every case is unique, and compensation can vary significantly. It typically ranges from $500,000 to over $1,000,000. In certain instances, it can even go beyond that.


Medical Costs

One of the significant components of a wrongful death settlement is the reimbursement of medical costs incurred before a loved one's death. These expenses include hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and all other treatment-related costs.


Out-of-pocket Expenses

In addition to medical costs, families may recover compensation for out-of-pocket expenses related to the deceased's care and final arrangements.


These might include travel costs for medical treatment, home care supplies, or modifications made to the property for accessibility.


Lost Income

The loss of the deceased's income can be financially devastating for families. Compensation for lost wages generally considers the age, health, life expectancy, occupation, skills, and earning capacity at the time of death.


This aspect of compensation aims to provide for the financial well-being of the bereaved family members.


Loss of Companionship

Wrongful death settlement for the loss of companionship recognizes the void left behind. It seeks to address the immeasurable impact on the quality of life for surviving family members.


Practical considerations, such as funeral and burial expenses, add another layer of financial strain to grieving families.


Lump-sum Payment Vs. Structured Settlement in Ohio Wrongful Death Lawsuits


Once the court reaches a verdict in Ohio, the wrongful death settlements paid out are either a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement. Both options have merits and drawbacks, and understanding them can help families make the best decision.

  • Lump-sum Payment

The prospect of immediate financial relief holds significant appeal. A lump-sum payment in a wrongful death claim gives families a sizable amount upfront. It offers a quick infusion of funds to address pressing financial needs.


Receiving the entire settlement at once is beneficial if substantial immediate costs exist. This includes medical bills, funeral expenses, or outstanding debts. It also allows survivors to invest as they see fit, potentially growing the funds.


However, a lump-sum payment also has its challenges. Managing a large amount of money can be overwhelming, especially during grief. There's also the risk of the funds depleting sooner than expected if not appropriately handled.

  • Structured Settlement

On the other hand, structured settlements present families with a carefully designed financial plan that extends over an agreed-upon period.


Periodic payments offer a more stable, long-term solution, ensuring a steady income stream for family members.


They can include larger initial payments to cover immediate costs, followed by smaller, regular payments. Some plans may also include provisions for future expenses, such as college tuition for children.


However, it's usually inflexible once the plaintiff chooses a structured settlement, meaning it can't be changed later.


Choosing between a lump-sum payment and a structured settlement is a significant decision that can have long-term implications. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation, and the best choice depends on the family's unique circumstances, financial needs, and ability to manage funds.


Consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney and a financial advisor can provide invaluable guidance in making this critical decision.


Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Case

Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Case


Building a case to establish liability is akin to assembling a complex puzzle. Every piece of evidence, from witness testimonies to expert opinions, plays a crucial role in wrongful death claims.


The plaintiff must show the defendant had a duty of care towards the deceased. This could mean a driver's responsibility to follow traffic laws or a doctor's obligation to provide competent medical care.


They must also prove the other party breached their duty of care, directly harming the victim. Lastly, all points must show the wrongful death action resulted in quantifiable personal injury damages.


Final Words


Navigating the stormy seas of loss is undoubtedly a heart-wrenching endeavor. Throw in the complexities of the legal system, and it can feel like the plaintiff is lost in a maze.


Recovering wrongful death settlements isn't the easiest task. A qualified wrongful death lawyer can help clients improve the odds of recovering financial compensation.


Stating, "We Go to War for You," Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can guide plaintiffs through the labyrinth of legal decisions.

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