After a person suffers life-threatening injuries in an accident, that person and his or her family member might be thinking about filing a lawsuit. Filing an accident claim is one of the best ways for an injured person in the Columbus, OH area to obtain compensation for his or her losses. However, the process for filing a claim for financial compensation can become confusing when the injured person ultimately succumbs to those injuries. In other words, if your spouse or parent sustained life-threatening injuries and later died as a result of those injuries, you might not be sure about what type of claim to file.
I often work with clients who have some confusion about the distinction between a personal injury lawsuit and a wrongful death lawsuit. Let me be the first to tell you that the similarities and differences certainly can make it confusing to understand whether you should file a personal injury or a wrongful death claim. At the same time, it is essential to learn more about some of the key distinctions so that you remain eligible for compensation. Let me tell you more.
Personal Injury Claims and Wrongful Death Lawsuits Have a Lot in Common
Personal injury lawsuits have much in common with wrongful death claims. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured plaintiff has the ability to file a claim—usually based on a theory of negligence—against the party who is at fault for his or her injuries. For example, if a person is injured in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, that injured person may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the distracted driver to seek financial compensation. The injured person would need to show that the distracted driver was negligent, and that the distracted driver’s negligence was the cause of the injuries. In a personal injury claim, it is solely the injured person who has the ability to file a lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims are similar, but there is an initial and significant difference: rather than the injured person filing the lawsuit, Ohio’s wrongful death law requires a “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate to file the lawsuit. Wrongful death law recognizes that an injured person should be able to seek compensation for his or her losses. However, when an injured person dies from those injuries, it does not make sense for that right to compensation to simply disappear. Instead, wrongful death law allows another party to “stand in the shoes” of the deceased, metaphorically, in order to seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Distinctions in the Amount of Time You Have to File a Claim
Both wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits in Ohio have a two-year statute of limitations. Yet the “clock” starts to tick at different points in time.
With a personal injury lawsuit, the “clock” on the statute of limitations will usually begin “ticking” on the date that the person suffered the injury (although this could be extended in cases of medical malpractice where the patient does not learn about the injury until after the date it actually happens). With a wrongful death lawsuit, the “clock” starts to “tick” on the date of the deceased’s death, even if the injuries occur days, weeks, months, or years before that date.
Contact Me About Your Injury Claim
If you need help filing a lawsuit after an accident or injury, I’ll Make Them Pay!® You can reach me at 877.944.4373. Call me today to get started on your claim.