The circumstances that lead to a child’s death can vary. It could be a fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver or someone who was texting while driving. It might be related to medical malpractice. A medical professional might give an incorrect or lethal dose of medication, for example. The basis to any wrongful death claim is proving someone else's actions were negligent and caused the child's fatal injuries. If that link is not present, parents cannot file a wrongful death claim.
A personal representative can file a claim, who in most cases is a parent. No matter who the representative is, the claim is for the benefit of those who suffered damages as a result of the child's death. In the case of a child, it's the parents. It's important to note the parent of a deceased child can't recover damages if he or she abandoned the child.
There is a time limit for filing a wrongful death claim. In Ohio, the statute of limitations is two years. Sometimes the time limit is tolled, though, which means it stops running for a period of time. This sometimes allows parents to file a claim beyond the two-year period. For instance, if the parents do not discover until much later that negligence caused the child's death, the statute may begin when they discover that negligence caused or contributed to the child's death. This can be the case in some medical malpractice cases.
In general, a wrongful death claim may yield two types of damages. The first stems from actual costs. These are the expenses that parents might incur as a result of the child's death; for instance, medical bills and funeral services. Compensation might also address the psychological impact of losing a child. It’s much harder to put a price on this. Various factors will determine the amount of damages parents might recover in this case. In Ohio, damages could include mental anguish and loss of the society of the deceased.
Complex laws can impact a wrongful death claim. These claims are further complicated with proving negligence and determining a fair settlement. This is why it’s critical to talk with an attorney who handles these types of cases. Legal counsel can assist plaintiffs with gathering evidence, communicating with insurance companies and other matters.
Sometimes it’s possible to reach an out-of-court settlement. But other times the case goes to trial. No matter the process, protect your legal rights by securing legal representation in Cleveland. Call Ryan, LLP at 877-864-9495 to set up a free consultation, or fill out our contact form to set up your appointment.