If your loved one suffered serious injuries in an accident and died while the personal injury case was pending, you may be able to continue the action. When someone dies as the result of another party’s negligence, two different types of claims may be applicable: the personal injury case (which will now be called a survival claim) and a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death and survival claim in Ohio can proceed simultaneously.
Personal Injury Survival Claims in Ohio
Ohio Revised Code § 2305.21 provides that personal injury claims survive the decedent. In other words, if an accident victim died while the personal injury case was pending, the action will continue as a survival action. It’s important to note that your loved one’s death did not have to be related to the original personal injury case in order for the case to continue.
The decedent’s personal representative will bring the survival action on behalf of the estate. Any settlement money won in the claim will go the decedent’s estate.
The damages that can be recovered in a survival claim are most of those that the victim would have received had he or she survived, including medical bills and lost wages. A survival action may also pursue pain and suffering damages if the claim proves the victim suffered such damages prior to death.
Wrongful Death Claims
If negligence was the cause of the deceased’s death, the personal representative will also be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party on behalf of the survivors. But if the individual died while the personal injury case was pending, but for reasons not related to the injuries sustained in the accident, then a wrongful death claim may not be in the cards.
The wrongful death settlement will be distributed as per Ohio laws to the eligible beneficiaries, which may include the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. They types of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death claim differ from those awarded in a survival action claim.
Types of damages families may recover in a wrongful death action are listed below.
- Medical bills
- Loss of love, companionship, instruction, and mentorship
- Loss of wages
- Loss of benefits, e.g., retirement plans and insurance
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of inheritance
- Mental anguish
- Funeral expenses
Dividing the Settlement
The manner in which the funds are distributed depends upon the type of settlement.
- Survival claims – Settlements from survival actions become an asset of the estate and are distributed according to the deceased’s will or by Ohio law if there is no will.
- Wrongful death claims – In contrast, settlements from wrongful death claim are distributed to the beneficiaries, irrespective of a will. The funds are not part of the estate; they go to the beneficiaries to compensate them for the loss of their loved one.
Set up a Consult if A Loved One Died While a Personal Injury Case Was Pending
If you recently lost a love one who was filing an injury claim, consult a local attorney to determine your options and take any necessary legal steps to recover your losses. David Bressman can discuss your case with you and help you determine the best course of action. Contact us today 877-538-1116 to schedule a free consultation.