If someone you love has died in Columbus because of negligence, you are probably struggling with an overwhelming sense of loss. You may wonder how you can possibly face life without the person who died. You may also be worried about your family’s future, because an unexpected death in the family can turn your financial life and your future plans upside down too. You do not have to face this alone. A wrongful death lawyer in Columbus can help you get money to build a future for your family.
At John Foy & Associates, we know how horrible it is to lose someone close to you. That’s why we have spent the past 20 years helping families get wrongful death damages. We’d like to help you with your loss, starting with a free, no-obligation consultation to answer your questions and explain how a wrongful death claim works. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is “negligence” in a wrongful death claim?
In our daily lives, we all have a legal duty to behave as carefully as a reasonable person would be in the same situation. For example, drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and avoid drinking and driving because that’s what an ordinary, careful person would do. Corporations and other businesses also have a duty to be careful in maintaining their premises and equipment and making and selling products.
But people and companies aren’t always careful, and when someone isn’t as careful as they should have been, they are negligent. When someone is injured because of negligence, they have a claim and the person who was negligent must pay for it.
If someone dies because of negligence, there is an additional claim, called “wrongful death” that family members can make, and the negligent person (or company) is liable for these losses as well as other damages. A wrongful death claim can come out of many different types of negligent conduct, including negligence in traffic accidents, manufacturing, drugs and medical devices, medical procedures, and food safety and handling.
How much money can I recover in a wrongful death claim?
The money you receive will depend on many factors, including the age and occupation of the person who died. In general, a wrongful death claim tries to compensate family members for what their loved one lost by not having the chance to live a normal lifespan. It can include two broad types of damages:
- Economic losses. The major economic loss is the deceased’s future income. Often, an expert is brought in to estimate how much the deceased would have earned over the course of his or her life, including raises, promotions and bonuses. In general, a young person just starting a career will have higher economic losses than someone reaching retirement age whose wage earning years are almost over.
- Non-economic losses. These are losses suffered by the person who died, not the family members left behind. They include not being able to raise children, participate in hobbies, be active in local events and organizations, be a husband or wife, travel, and generally live life to the fullest. Of course, there’s no way to put a dollar value on these losses. In an effort to arrive at a financial settlement, insurance companies will usually use a formula.
The insurance company won’t be happy about paying you a big settlement, even if you have suffered a tragic loss that is clearly its responsibility. It will try to get you to settle for much less than your claim is really worth. That’s why we recommend you ALWAYS talk to a good wrongful death lawyer before you even think about taking an insurance company offer.
Can I recover other costs after my loved one’s death?
Yes, in the City of Columbus, the loved one’s estate can recover the costs and losses the deceased suffered before passing. This claim is usually brought by the person in charge of administering the estate. After all costs have been paid, any remaining money goes to the deceased person’s heirs. This type of claim can recover money for:
- The deceased’s medical bills, including hospitals, emergency rooms, hospice care, prescriptions, surgery, tests, and any other costs associated with the final illness or injury
- Funeral expenses
- Pay that the deceased lost if the accident led to missed time from work before the deceased passed away
- “Pain and suffering,” or the physical pain and emotional trauma the deceased suffered before death.
Basically, the estate can recover money for all the costs of the accident or illness, up until the time of the deceased’s death.
Can any family member bring a claim for wrongful death?
No, in any given situation, there is only one category of relative that can bring a claim for wrongful death. The relatives who can file claims, in order of priority, are:
- The estate
This means, for example, that if you lost your adult son in a tragic accident, you could only bring a wrongful death claim if your son did not have a spouse or any children. The spouse has first priority on making a claim, and if there is no spouse then the children have priority.
Do I need a lawyer to make a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death claims tend to be more involved than many other types of injury claims. To begin with, the main witness to what happened is no longer around to tell his or her side of the story. This can make it harder to prove who is liable or what kind of physical and emotional suffering the deceased might have experienced.
Experts often play a big role in showing how an accident or injury occurred and what a deceased person might have felt at the end of his or her life. In addition, future earnings often require a complex calculation, and you can be sure that the insurance company will grossly underestimate their value.
A wrongful death law firm is uniquely qualified to investigate wrongful deaths and put together a compelling case that shows not just the financial side of your losses, but also the full spectrum of what you have lost. Often, we are able to portray this to the insurance company in a way that leaves them little choice but to offer you a substantial, and fair, amount. But we also prepare every case for the possibility that we will be taking your case to a jury in the local courts.
Talk to a Columbus Wrongful Death Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, our mission is to put money in your hands to help you pull your life back together after a death in the family. We won’t ask you to pay us anything, EVER, if we don’t get money for you. Let us give you a free consultation to explain how we can help you get started with a claim. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.