When someone passes away in a tragic motor vehicle accident, it doesn’t just affect their immediate family. The emotional pain – and sometimes even economic impact – of the loss extends to the victim’s entire family and beyond. If you suffered emotional and economic damages from the loss of a loved one, how close of a relationship to the victim do you have to have in order to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Who can recover?
Under Ohio law, the immediate family members of the victim have a presumption of having suffered damages, and thus have the right to sue. These immediate family members are the victim’s spouse, children and parents.
This doesn’t mean that other family members – such as siblings, cousins or grandchildren – are unable to present a wrongful death claim. It only means that they will have an extra requirement. If they are not an immediate family member as defined by the statute, they will have to present evidence to prove to the court that they suffered loss as a result of the victim’s death before they will be able to join the suit.
What can they recover?
If you qualify to take part in the wrongful death suit, and the suit is successful, then there are several different types of damages that you might be able to recover from the liable party.
Your ability to recover these damages – and the amount of money you will recover for each of them – will depend on the circumstances, and on what your attorney is able to prove. The types of damages you could recover include:
- Loss of financial support based on the victim’s income and estimated future earning capacity
- Loss of companionship, protection, guidance and assistance
- Loss of future inheritance from the victim
- Emotional pain and suffering
Since every situation varies greatly, it’s impossible to estimate how much you might recover for each one of these types of damages. The amount of the claim will depend on thing such as the level of dependance that each family member had on the deceased, and on the circumstances of their death.
No amount of money can adequately compensate someone for the death of a family member. But a successful wrongful death suit can assist you as you try to recover from the emotional and financial blow caused by the loss of your loved one.