Losing a loved one is not an easy burden to bear. In addition to the mental and emotional anguish that you are likely suffering from, you may also have questions about what comes next for your life, including how you will support yourself and your children. When the sudden death of a loved one is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, the financial burden may be even more shocking, but you may be eligible to receive compensation for damages such as lost earnings in a wrongful death claim in Ohio.
The following considers how a court calculates a decedent’s lost earnings in Ohio and discusses factors that may affect the compensation amount.
Reasonable Earning Capacity
According to Ohio Laws and Rules Section § 2125.02 Parties – Damages, the loss of support from the “reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent” is recoverable in a wrongful death claim. Some factors that may affect what the law considers “reasonable earning capacity” include the following listed below.
- The decedent’s age: The older a person is, the fewer years they would have likely earned a regular income. On the contrary, a person who died relatively young may have had many years’ worth of earning capacity under her belt.
- Average weekly wage: Another thing the law will consider is the average weekly wage that the decedent was earning at the time of their death. Usually, this serves as the foundation for calculating damages for the lost earnings in a wrongful death case.
- Earning potential based on promotions, education, etc.: The court will also consider things like whether or not the decedent would have made more (or less) based on things such as the possibility of a promotion, the establishment of a new business, or the attainment of education. For example, an individual who was killed whilst in medical school had the potential to make a high salary upon completion of that schooling, even if she was currently not working at the time of her death.
- Lost benefits: Finally, the courts may also consider the loss of benefits, e.g., possible pension contributions, 401(k)s or other types of retirement funds, health insurance benefits, yearly bonuses, housing stipends, education stipends, dining allowances, etc., when determining the value of a wrongful death claim.
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Calculating Loss of Services in a Wrongful Death Claim
The deceased’s lost income is not the only type of economic damage that a plaintiff may seek; you may also seek compensation for loss of support and services. For example, if your spouse ran errands, bought groceries, took the kids to school, cleaned, mowed the lawn, washed the vehicles, or did the laundry, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the loss of any or all of these services.
In addition, household services may extend to doing things such as managing the family’s finances and acting as the family accounting, filing taxes every year and the like.
Courts will use the costs of replacing these services to calculate the value in your wrongful death claim.
Why You Need an Ohio Wrongful Death Attorney on Your Side
Understanding the laws surrounding a wrongful death suit and the types of damages that you may be able to recover can be confusing. At Bressman Law, we can advise you on everything you need to know, including how to calculate damages, the difference between a survival action and a wrongful death claim, how to prove negligence, the time line for filing your civil action, and more.