In late October, a man was driving late at night, lost control of his vehicle and collided with a bicyclist on the intersection of Olentangy River Road and Garrett Drive, killing them both. According to Columbus Police, the driver was travelling at a “high rate of speed” that likely contributed to the accident. NBC4, reporting on the scene, said the driver also hit a retaining wall, a utility pole, and a tree. Both men were pronounced dead on the scene.
The bicyclist’s family will likely wish to file a wrongful death suit, as the driver was likely at fault due to the speed at which he was driving. But how do you file such a suit considering the driver also died in the accident?
Wrongful Death Suits in Ohio
To file a wrongful death case in Ohio, the suit must be filed by the representative of the deceased party’s estate. Only a live person can act as the representative of an estate, meaning that a corporation or foundation cannot.
Under Ohio law only certain family members can seek damages in a wrongful death case. This includes the victim’s spouse, children, and parents. In most cases siblings or grandparents are not considered to have suffered damages from the victim’s death, however they may be able to argue their case if they were financially dependent on the victim or other such considerations may apply.
The victim’s family has a two year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death in Ohio; after that their case will not be heard in court.
There are also a variety of damages the victim’s family can seek in a wrongful death case. Such damages include:
- Medical and funeral expenses;
- Compensation for potential earnings the deceased person potentially could have made had they lived;
- Loss of the deceased services like house work and childcare;
- Pain and suffering the death caused the family; and
- Loss of possible inheritance the deceased may have received if the victim had lived.
Filing a Civil Suit Against a Deceased Party
In this accident, the party that the victim’s family would sue also died. In such a case the victim’s estate would have to sue the estate of the responsible party. This might be a tad complicated as neither of the affected parties can testify. In the event that the victim’s family wins the case, the damages awarded will be treated as a debt that must be paid by the responsible party’s estate. Of course, any auto insurance the at fault party had could also be used.
Contact a Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have a family member killed in a car accident do not hesitate to contact a Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney at the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers. Dealing with the tragic death of a loved one can be the most difficult time in your life, and we are here to help. We encourage you to download a free copy of “Losing Someone You Love: An Ohio Family’s Guide To Wrongful Death.” And, we also encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation.