Serving Families in Wrongful Death Claims in Ohio and West Virginia
The loss of a loved one is one of the most devastating events anyone can experience. The knowledge that your relative died due to the actions of a careless person only makes matters worse.
If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of one or more parties, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible. Compensation won’t alleviate your grief, but it can help offset the costs you face as a result of your family member’s passing.
Colombo Law has extensive experience serving clients in wrongful death claims. Please call (888) 860-1414 today for a free case evaluation. Our wrongful death lawyers serve clients throughout West Virginia from our office in Morgantown and throughout Ohio from our office in Columbus.
What Claims Do Wrongful Death Lawyers Handle?
Wrongful death lawsuits are part of personal injury law. In effect, your claim takes the place of the lawsuit your loved one could have filed for the injuries he or she sustained.
If you are looking for a wrongful death lawyer, you are really in need of an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney with experience handling claims of serious injury will also know how to handle a wrongful death claim involving fatal injury.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death?
Legally, wrongful death is the death of somebody caused by the negligence or misconduct of another party. It is separate from charges someone may face for murder or manslaughter, which are tried in criminal court. Conversely, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter, separate and distinct from the criminal matter.
Our wrongful death lawyers have experience with claims involving:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work-related injuries
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Birth injuries
- Natural gas injuries
- Dangerous premises
- Dog bites
- Asbestos and mesothelioma
If your loved one was killed due to the negligence of one or more parties, you and other members of your family may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
It is extremely difficult to put a price on the loss of someone you love. However, when the wrongful death of your loved one creates financial and emotional hardships for you and your family, you should not have to face these obstacles alone.
The damages that may be available in your wrongful death claim will depend on the specific losses you and your loved ones have suffered. These may include:
- Funeral expenses
- The cost of burial or cremation
- Loss of income and financial support
- Loss of other benefits, such as health insurance coverage and inheritance
- Medical bills for emergency treatment, hospitalization, and end-of-life care
- Loss of services and support
- Sorrow and mental anguish
- Loss of companionship and society
- Punitive damages (in some extreme cases)
Your wrongful death attorney should account for all of the compensation you are due and pursue the maximum recovery on your behalf. Find out how Colombo Law can help by contacting our wrongful death lawyers today.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In both Ohio and West Virginia, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by the personal representative of the decedent. Oftentimes, this is the individual specified in the deceased person’s will as the executor of his or her estate in the event of death. The personal representative is often a relative, but it doesn’t have to be.
Although the wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative, the persons who may be awarded damages are the surviving family members of the deceased. State laws vary in who may be compensated for wrongful death.
West Virginia Wrongful Death Law
In West Virginia, the wrongful death statute specifies who may be awarded damages, including:
- A surviving spouse
- Children, “including adopted children and stepchildren”
- Brothers and sisters
- “Any persons who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his or her death”
If the decedent has no family members who meet these criteria, “the damages shall be distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will.”
Ohio Wrongful Death Law
The Ohio wrongful death statute says that claims must be filed “for the exclusive benefit” of the following relatives of the deceased:
- The surviving spouse
- The children
- The surviving parents
The law in Ohio also establishes that “the next of kin of the decedent” may also be awarded damages in a wrongful death claim, but it doesn’t specify who the other beneficiaries may be.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In both West Virginia and Ohio, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is 2 years. This is not much time, and it is important to act promptly in order to recover the compensation you and your family deserve for the loss of your loved one.
Why Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Due to the serious outcome of the accident and the amount of money that is at stake, insurance companies often aggressively dispute wrongful death claims. For the family of the deceased, this only adds to the misfortune they have already suffered.
It is a sad fact that the insurance company in your case may be counting on your grief (and perhaps the financial burdens you are facing) to get you to settle your claim for less than it is worth. You are likely concerned only with the immediate costs, not the full extent of damages you may be able to recover.
An experienced wrongful death lawyer will work to protect your rights after a fatal accident. This includes negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that your claim is filed on time, and advising you of your legal options – up to and including taking your claim to trial, if a fair settlement offer does not come.
The wrongful death attorneys at Colombo Law will fully investigate your loved one’s death. We will determine who is liable for your loss, and we will pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Our lawyers understand the complexities of wrongful death litigation. We also know the devastating toll that the unexpected death of a loved one can have on you and your family.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer at Colombo Law Help You?
The attorneys at Colombo Law get results. We have achieved millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients in wrongful death claims. Extreme negligence was at the heart of many of these cases, including claims involving:
- Distracted driving accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Negligence on the part of truck drivers and trucking companies
- Medical negligence such as surgical errors and failure to diagnose stroke
- Workplace injuries
One of the things that sets Colombo Law apart from other law firms is our willingness to go to court. Although we are often able to negotiate settlements that fairly compensate our clients for their losses, our trial attorneys never hesitate to take a matter before a jury if that is the best way to achieve the outcome you deserve.
Compassion is another cornerstone of our legal services. We recognize that clients contact us in some of the darkest times of their lives, and we strive to help them find the light at the end of the tunnel.
At Colombo Law, we are passionate advocates for our clients. We make it our mission to help restore the quality of life for people who have suffered an unimaginable loss due to the negligence of others.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, Colombo Law can help. Your initial consultation is free, and we offer clients a No Fee Promise: If our attorneys don’t recover in your case, you pay us nothing in legal fees. This arrangement enables you to seek legal help without worrying about the upfront cost or having to pay fees while we work on resolving your claim.
Please call (888) 860-1414 today or contact us online for your free consultation. Colombo Law has offices in Morgantown, West Virginia, and Columbus, Ohio, and we serve clients throughout both states.