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What happens when someone dies during a personal injury case?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2022 | Personal Injury |

When someone faces a serious injury with mounting medical debt, a personal injury lawsuit may help to recoup money and get future medical care. What happens in the unfortunate event that the victim dies during the lawsuit?

A wrongful death case is similar to a personal injury case, except that the victim has passed away. A personal injury case should transfer into a wrongful death suit if the lawsuit is ongoing. However, there are some differences in the process in addition to the death of the injured party.

What is negligence?

Whether the lawsuit started or not, if someone caused the death of another through an act of negligence, a wrongful death case may proceed. Under Ohio law, negligence means that the responsible party knew or should have known that his or her actions may become harmful to others. Common examples of negligence include:

  • Excessive speed
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to yield to stop signs or lights
  • Intoxication

Who brings a wrongful death action?

The parties who bring a wrongful death action are the heirs or dependents of the deceased. Anyone financially dependent upon the deceased may become a party to the case. This includes parents and siblings, in addition to spouses and children. A party must show that the deceased provided more than half of their financial support to qualify.

What does a wrongful death case pay?

A wrongful death case, if won, may help pay off medical debt incurred by the deceased’s injury and care before death. However, the person found responsible for wrongful death may also pay out lost wages, past and future, and other financial losses the family must now deal with, such as funeral expenses.

When a negligent driver causes an injury that leads to death, he or she may become liable to help pay for the cost of care.