Why You Need a Columbus Wrongful Death Lawyer
An accident or error that results in someone’s death does not always amount to a crime. For instance, a doctor or pharmacist’s mistake may constitute malpractice but not homicide. In such a situation, the best option the family members of the deceased victim have for holding the poorly performing health care provider accountable is filing a wrongful death lawsuit with representation by a Leist Warner attorney.
A wrongful death can occur in many ways. In addition to medical mistakes, car crashes, truck accidents, and building code violations can leave innocent victims dead. Defective and dangerous products ranging from unsafely designed cars and asbestos insulation to mislabeled prescription drugs and contaminated food can also prove fatal. Drawing a clear connection between an event or a product and a loss of life is not always easy, however. Each incident must be investigated thoroughly by professionals who understand how an accident occurs, who can trace how unsafe products reach consumers, and who knows how to determine which person or company bears the ultimate responsibility for taking a life.
Attorneys at the Columbus office of Leist Warner have experience doing all those things. We have helped many grieving and financially struggling parents, spouses, and children receive insurance settlements and damage awards following the unjust deaths of loved ones.
Wrongful Death Cases Are Not Just About Money
Succeeding with a wrongful death claim requires showing that a person or company acted so negligently or recklessly that a person died. Unlike in criminal cases, the standard of proof for civil suits is “preponderance of the evidence.” Among other things, this means that a reckless driver could escape conviction for, say, running a red light while intoxicated but still be made to compensate his victim’s survivors. In this way, wrongful death claims permit families to achieve justice in ways that are not always possible through criminal proceedings.
Insurance settlements and court awards for wrongful deaths vary depending on many factors. A partial list of what attorneys call recoveries available through such a case includes:
- Burial expenses, including costs for traveling to the funeral;
- Doctor and hospital bills incurred between the time of the negligent or reckless act and the loss of life;
- Income lost while hospitalized or disabled and unable to work;
- Future, sometimes lifetime, earnings;
- Support for dependents;
- Emotional distress, which can include loss of consortium (i.e., sexual and loving relationship) and treatment of depression brought on by loss; and
- Punitive damages, which represent noncriminal fines.
Payments for emotional distress, which are referred to in law as nonmonetary damages, can be capped, especially in wrongful death cases arising from medical malpractice. Punitive damages, however, are not limited by statute. Judges and juries can impose any compensation they deem fair for actions that they consider truly terrible. Drunk driving, intentionally selling dangerous goods, and performing medical procedures without a license often bring punitive damages for wrongful death defendants.
Consulting with a Columbus wrongful death attorney at Leist Warner will help a family figure out how much to ask for when filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. Doing the math can be complicated, and it can be easy to overlook or discount significant needs while coping with a loved one’s loss.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Columbus, Ohio
No person or company should be able to get away with causing a death without paying a price. Criminal courts do not always succeed in holding negligent and reckless individuals or corporations accountable. Also, even when a jail sentence or fine is imposed, the family of the deceased usually gets left to its own devices to cope with the financial and emotional hardships of losing a parent, child, or spouse. Those difficulties often come in the form of struggles to pay medical and funeral bills, and to make up lost income provided by the individual who died.
Working with a Columbus wrongful death lawyer at Leist Warner can help families achieve justice, gain peace of mind, and get back on their feet financially. We stand ready to provide that assistance. Call us at (614) 222-1000 or complete this form to let us know what questions we can answer and if we can help you put a wrongful death right. The initial consultation is free.