Legal News And Updates

From Ohio's Leading Wrongful Death Attorneys

Stay connected to the latest legal news from Cooper & Elliott. Read about our most recent litigation successes and gain insight from the verdicts and settlements we've achieved for our clients.

Click on the press release titles below to read more about each individual legal news update from the Compassionate Consultants at Cooper & Elliott.

5 Things Wrongful Death Lawyers Don't Want You To Know

Posted on Tue, May 06, 2014

When you've lost a loved one due to wrongful death, you're already suffering. So litigation is probably the last thing on your mind. Getting through the mourning process is difficult, but you want to seek justice for your dearly departed – and for your family.177839628

The last thing you need is a wrongful death lawyer who's too busy or indifferent to walk you through the process. After all, you're not a lawyer! You need someone to fight tenaciously for the justice you deserve while helping you navigate the complex web of wrongful death litigation and the mourning process. Here are a few things you should know about wrongful death claims – things that many wrongful death attorneys don't tell you.

  1. The process is long and sometimes very frustrating.
    Wrongful death claims are often very drawn-out. Each type of wrongful death case has its own statute of limitations (usually around 2 years), but the process of litigation frequently takes longer.

    In a wrongful death case, the defendant (the manufacturer in a product liability claim, or the doctor in a medical malpractice suit) is actively fighting and disputing your case. Not only does this process re-open the emotional wounds of losing your loved one, it also adds an element of bitterness between the wronged and wrongdoer.

    Because of the coordination between plaintiff and defendant, scheduling of court dates, investigation of the case and even the courtroom discovery process, wrongful death cases tend to take quite a long time to reach verdict and settlement. Even in cases which end with out-of-court settlement, the claim has often dragged on for years.
  2. The defense team is ruthless. 
    Wrongful death cases are very complicated, and each side is fighting for the "win" – whether that means settlement or acquittal.

    It's the defense team's job to skew the case in the defendant's favor. They are ruthless in trying to achieve this, and almost always attack the victim's character or that of your family.

    It's your wrongful death lawyer's responsibility to get you the justice you deserve. Part of this means protecting you and your loved one's memory from defamation by the defense. You need a wrongful death attorney who is experienced enough to diffuse these situations before they arise.
  3. Communication and trust are keys to the case. 
    You're not a wrongful death lawyer, but you are putting your trust in one. You must be confident – from the onset and throughout the process – that your case is in good hands. Your lawyer should put you at ease immediately, keep an open line of communication and earn your trust by always keeping your best interests in mind.

    A wrongful death case must be solid straight through. This includes the relationship between your lawyer and yourself. Your lawyer must work to communicate with you about the details of the case while also protecting you from the ruthlessness of the defense team.
  4. Your involvement could change the course of the case. 
    It’s important to remember that even in the face of cold litigation, your wrongful death case is emotionally charged. It's easy for your to remember that your loved one (the victim) was a person, but the defendant is a person too. The judge, the jury, and both teams of lawyers all have their own human emotions – and their views affect the outcome of the case.

    Many wrongful death lawyers want to keep control over the case. They're reluctant to share details with you and often would rather keep you in the dark throughout the process. But you need to be involved in the case in order to provide your valuable input and to further humanize the case.
  5. The case hinges on everyone being on the same page. 
    Wrongful death cases are understandably emotionally-charged. It's possible that this added emotion is too overwhelming for you, and you'd rather have minimal involvement in the case. Sometimes, you want to inject your thoughts into every strategic decision. Ultimately, all clients have the absolute right to participate in the process as little or as much as they feel comfortable with.

    Many wrongful death attorneys are not flexible enough to accommodate these different preferences. You need a lawyer who understands the compassionate side of wrongful death litigation. A true partner willing to alter the approach to the case depending on your needs and the best course of action that sees justice served.

Wrongful death cases are difficult enough. Don't make the process more frustrating by dealing with an attorney who is neither compassionate nor tenacious enough to get you the justice you deserve.

The experienced wrongful death litigators at Cooper & Elliott work with Tender Tenacity to guide you through the grieving process compassionately while fighting for the justice you and your dearly departed deserve. Call them at 614.481.6000 or click the link below.

Topics: wrongful death attorney, wrongful death, wrongful death cases, wrongful death case, wrongful death lawyer, wrongful death litigator

Achieving Wrongful Death Justice Before It’s Too Late

Posted on Thu, Apr 24, 2014

When you're grieving the loss of a loved one, it's easy to let wrongful death litigation slip your mind. Your focus is on celebrating the life of your dearly departed, not on seeking justice for his or her loss.467030095

It's important, however, to know the statute of limitations for your wrongful death claim. If you wait until you're emotionally prepared to pursue a lawsuit, you may have run out of time to file.

In Ohio, a wrongful death action must be filed within two years after the decedent's death. But, practitioners must also be aware of other potential limitations that shorten the time for filing the appropriate claims.

Wrongful Death Versus Survival Claims
Depending on the nature of the case, you may be able to file both a wrongful death claim and a survival claim.

While a wrongful death claim has a two-year statute of limitations, a survival claim's statute of limitations could be much shorter, depending on the situation. For instance, the statute of limitations on a medical negligence survivor claim is just one year, even if the patient has suffered a wrongful death.

Manufacturers' Fault
There are a number of rules in place to protect both manufacturers and their consumers in wrongful death cases.

If a wrongful death was caused by a defective product, the manufacturer or supplier of the product is liable. However, no claim may be brought to the manufacturer more than ten years after the product was delivered to its first purchaser. This means that if a manufacturer delivered its defective product to a retailer, and then the retailer liquidated and the product was sent to a wholesaler, your statute of limitations starts from the moment that product was initially delivered to the retailer.

The caveat is exposure. If the wrongful death was a result of exposure to the product over or within the ten-year period, the statute of limitations may be extended.

Statute Of Limitations And Statute Of Repose
There is a difference between statute of limitations and statute of repose. Statutes of repose are a broader category than statutes of limitations. The deadlines are extended, but because of their generality, these deadlines are enforced much more strictly than statutes of limitations.

While a statute of limitations may begin when an injury or its symptoms are discovered, the statute of repose may start from the date of manufacture (for a product) or the date of the incident itself (for something like a medical malpractice claim). Statutes of repose exist in a number of contexts: Some states have them listed under products liability law, while others may feature them under probate law.

In Ohio, for example, medical malpractice claims have a one-year statute of limitations. But, they have a four-year statute of repose. Ohio law states, "If an action upon a medical, dental, optometric or chiropractic claim is not commenced within four years after the occurrence of the act or omission constituting the alleged basis of the medical, dental, optometric or chiropractic claim, then, any action upon that claim is barred."

Wrongful death cases are complicated: The emotional stress and complex laws make for a difficult combination. While grieving the loss of your loved one is your first priority, don't let it obstruct your ability to seek the justice you – and your departed loved one – deserve. Law practitioners must be careful to correctly calculate the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. Referring such a claim to an experienced wrongful death lawyer reduces the chances of claim lapse.

Restore Justice

Topics: wrongful death, wrongful death cases, wrongful death settlement, wrongful death lawyer, medical negligence, medical malpractice claim

Legal Advice: 7 Steps That Pave The Path Towards Successful Litigation

Posted on Thu, Apr 17, 2014

If you’ve recently experienced a life-altering situation where another person or entity compromised your civil liberties or wellbeing, you are entitled to pursue damages through legal proceedings. However, having never been through the litigation process before, you may be intimidated, confused or simply in need of some solid legal advice.

sales marathon runnerThe following seven civil lawsuit steps are meant to act as your high-level guide for understanding how to conduct successful litigation.

Step 1: Every case begins with a plaintiff claiming that a defendant has done something wrong and a defendant denying responsibility.
From the start, you need to ensure your lawsuit is valid. Your case shouldn’t be frivolous, meant to harass the other side or lack merit. Confirming a valid claim entails finding a law that supports your claim against another party.

Step 2: Finding the right lawyer is crucial to the success or failure of your case.
Partnering with a lawyer with proven litigation experience in the type of civil lawsuit you are looking to pursue is paramount to the success of your case. When researching legal representation, look for a lawyer with confident courtroom skills and a concrete track record of attaining favorable verdicts and settlements.

When choosing a lawyer for your civil lawsuit, it’s also important to consider their dedication to providing compassionate litigation support that enhances your experience.

Step 3: The key to successful litigation is recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
The right lawyer is going to work diligently to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your civil lawsuit. Once this framework has been established, the goal is for your lawyer to play hard to the strengths of your case while diffusing (or embracing) any potential weaknesses.

The development of this core successful litigation strategy is going to guide the language and meaning of your case.

Step 4: The lawyer must gather all the facts and be ready to force the action before filing the complaint.
A civil action is commenced with the filing of a complaint, which sets forth the claims and the legal bases for them to the court and to the defendant. Successful litigation comes from being prepared for all contingencies, meaning your lawyer should be ready to force the action before filing the complaint.

Before filing the complaint to the courts, your lawyer should begin investigations immediately and determine how to strategically fight for your justice.

Step 5: Once the complaint is filed, the lawyer must be on the offense at all times.
Before you case is schedule for trial, a number of things must happen, such as the discover process which encompasses depositions, requests for admissions and interrogatories. A civil action lawyer with successful litigation experience knows the information, material facts and documents to request is discovery from both the defendant and third parties.

Step 6: The lawyer must also have in-depth knowledge of the law that applies to your case and acknowledge arguments the other side may bring to the table.
Successful litigation is often based on a lawyer’s ability to remain agile in court. This level of litigation experience develops from knowing how to conduct pre-trial preparations to having an extensive understanding of applicable laws that apply to your case, while also knowing exactly what the defense is going to throw your way.

In any event, your lawyer should be capable of casually and confidently responding to any shift in debates that come his or her way.

Step 7: The lawyer must organize exhibits and identify the witnesses that tell the story the jury must hear to win.
If your civil lawsuit goes in front of a jury, your lawyer must be prepared to not only talk in the expected legalese, but also relay your case to everyman that makes up a jury.

Bringing the right witnesses to the stand help in portraying your side of the story in a real and meaningful way, because they are conversations spoken in plain terms. Exhibits, which also act as evidence, help to further illustrate your claim.

Ready to speak with a compassionate, experienced civil action lawyer who’s ready to steer your successful litigation? Call 614-481-6000 or click here to speak with a Compassionate Consultant at Cooper & Elliott.

Topics: verdicts and settlements, legal advice, litigation support, litigation experience, civil lawsuit, successful litigation, civil action

Five Wrongful Death Statistics Every Attorney Needs To Know

Posted on Tue, Apr 15, 2014

Data for wrongful death cases is not always easy to come by, especially because out-of-court settlements skew figures. Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and other federal agencies provide insight into the extent of wrongful deaths that occur in the United States each year. While only a small subset of unintentional deaths is caused by carelessness or recklessness, the numbers are still startling.86529417

  1. Unintentional Injury Is The Fifth Leading Cause Of Death
    According to the CDC's most recent figures, approximately 122,777 deaths are caused by unintentional injury annually. Wrongful death occurs 45% more than death by Alzheimer's disease and 75% more than diabetic death.
  2. Motor Vehicle Fatalities Are On The Rise
    Motor vehicle fatalities have been on the rise for quite some time. Vehicular accidents cause approximately 33,687 deaths each year – and while this number is lower than the accidental injury death figure, it's important to note that only a relatively small proportion of the population drives.
  3. Medical Error Is More Than Misdiagnosis
    Medical malpractice and negligence are common in wrongful death cases. Misdiagnoses and surgical errors account for an average 98,000 deaths each year, and over 7,000 of those deaths result from mistakes in medication (allergies, drug interactions, wrong prescription or dosage).
  4. Workplace Deaths Vary By Industry
    According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, about 4,609 deaths occur in the workplace annually. Workplace deaths are largely accidental, so blame is difficult to assign – especially because particularly dangerous occupations come with these risks. Regardless, families deserve justice for the loss of their loved ones, and it's the wrongful death attorney's job to fight for that justice.
  5. Falling Deaths Occur In And Out Of The Workplace
    A death from a fall may occur in a number of circumstances, from a nursing home resident falling out of a hospital bed to an outdoorsmen falling during a hike. More often though, OSHA reports that falling deaths and workplace deaths coincide. The risk of falling is drastically increased in certain occupations: Warehouse workers climbing up ladders, utility electricians scaling telephone poles and construction workers walking on roofs are all susceptible to a fall.

When there is reason to suspect a decedent's death was caused by negligence, it's important for the next of kin to seek the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney for a complete investigation – and a settlement that finds justice for the loved one's loss.

Topics: wrongful death attorney, wrongful death, wrongful death cases, wrongful deaths, wrongful death verdicts

Dealing With Wrongful Death: Navigating The 5 Stages Of Client Grief

Posted on Thu, Apr 10, 2014

While any death is difficult to bear, wrongful death comes with added grief of assigning blame. Through the process of filing a wrongful death claim, grieving family members are forced to reopen raw wounds and rehash the sensitive details of their loved ones' death.

177505621The grieving process is delicate but crucial, especially for those who have lost a loved one as a result of someone else's careless or negligent behavior. Family members pass through the five stages of grief at their own pace, dealing with each stage in their own way.

As a wrongful death attorney, it's important that you're sensitive to these five steps. Encouraging your clients to seek the grief counseling they need may help your effort to seek justice in their wrongful death suit.

  1. Denial
    Denial starts the grieving process, and it's an understandable response. Denying the reality of the situation may protect against the immediate shock of losing a loved one forever. The gravity of a loved one's death is made worse by the realization that there is a guilty party involved in the case of a wrongful death claim.
  2. Anger
    In a wrongful death suit especially, stage 2 is the most difficult to surpass. Wrongful death, by definition, is a death that occurs (accidentally) at the hands of another and is caused by reckless or careless behavior. In the eyes of the surviving family members, the defendant is to blame for their loved one's death and should be held accountable.
  3. Bargaining
    Wrongful death evokes a feeling of helplessness and vulnerability. Bargaining is ultimately the "hindsight" stage of grief – the time when family members are asking the "what-if" questions that lead to immense guilt. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, this bargaining may sound something like "What if we had found a different doctor?" In a product liability suit they may sound like "If only we had bought a different brand…".
  4. Depression
    Depression is a multifaceted phase. There is the immense regret of realizing that a loved one is gone, but there are also practical implications to a loss. If the victim was a father who was financially responsible for his four children, those kids are now without a father and without the monetary support he provided. In a wrongful death claim, this practical perspective on the loss makes family members motivated to seek justice (and support) from the guilty party.
  5. Acceptance
    A sudden or unexpected death, like that in a wrongful death case, often extends the grieving process significantly. The light at the end of the tunnel, though, is always acceptance. Acceptance mustn't be confused with happiness – rather, it is a calm withdrawal that comes from understanding the finality of the situation.

Beyond The Five Stages Of Grief
The stages of mourning may take weeks, months or years. As a wrongful death attorney, it's important that you provide support for your clients through the process while assuring them that you're seeking justice for their loved ones.

Wrongful death litigation, by its nature, stirs up painful emotions by recalling the upsetting details of an untimely loss. This may stall the grieving process because loved ones are continuously exposed to the cold courtroom reality of litigation and the emotional wreckage of wrongful death.

As an experienced wrongful death attorney, you must recognize the need for your clients to mourn properly. A wrongful death case is often quite drawn-out, lasting two years or more. At the end of an arduous battle, even a successful wrongful death verdict fails to provide closure or satisfaction for family members who have not progressed through the mourning process. Encourage your clients to seek counseling immediately to begin the grieving process with a religious figure, a psychologist or a specialized grief counselor.

Learn more about how to handle grief counseling for your wrongful death clients with compassion while fighting tenaciously for justice. Call Cooper & Elliott at 614.481.6000 or click the link below.

Topics: wrongful death attorney, wrongful death, wrongful death claim, wrongful death litigation, wrongful death suit, wrongful death verdict

Wrongful Death Compensation: Doing Right By Your Loved Ones

Posted on Tue, Apr 08, 2014

466386327Placing a monetary value on a life is an impossible task. If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to a wrongful death, being awarded compensation through legal proceedings may seem petty and meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

However, wrongful death compensation is usually an important component for surviving family members and their financial well being as they begin to move forward with their lives.

More than that, reaching a court-approved verdict or settlement is the justice you’re legally entitled to after seeing your family’s future shattered by someone else’s negligence or recklessness.

Wrongful death compensation is the only way to unveil the truth and receive a helping hand in moving your family forward.

Wrongful Death Compensation From A Practical Standpoint
When you lose a family member, the potential for some degree of financial damage is real. Consider the following list of damages you’re legally entitled to recover as a result of losing a loved one to wrongful death.

  • Funeral expenses and burial costs
  • Medical expenses and hospital bills
  • Loss of companionship and loss of care
  • Pain and suffering and mental anguish
  • Loss of future wages
  • Loss of pension plans and loss of inheritance
  • Loss of childcare and housekeeping
  • Loss of medical coverage
  • Punitive damages

If it weren’t for wrongful death compensation, the above damages would leave many families in financial ruin.

That’s why it’s important to consider a wrongful death lawsuit carefully in order to find the best route towards receiving a respectable wrongful death settlement or verdict.

Wrongful Death Compensation Also Holds Possibilities
Receiving wrongful death compensation helps recover certain financial damages, but it also carries with it many promising possibilities for your family’s future.

Take some time to think about the positive impact of a wrongful death settlement. The following examples are just some of the ways financial compensation could be put to use in a positive way.

  • To Establish Your Children’s College Fund
    Wrongful death compensation helps to establish a future for your children by providing them with a college education. Creating a college fund now means that money has time to grow in a secure environment.
  • To Plant The Seeds Of Positive Change
    Wrongful death compensation could be used to make a positive impact on a charitable cause you care deeply about. Funding a nonprofit organization, such as a group dedicated to fighting against the cause of your family member’s wrongful death, may aid in your own healing.
  • To Focus Time On Your Family’s Recovery
    Wrongful death compensation may allow you to take a leave from work so you’re able to focus on putting your family’s life back together. This invaluable time away from your job could make all the difference in how you and surviving family members move forward in life.

Receiving The Wrongful Death Compensation You Deserve
Wrongful death compensation is, in part, how you and your family start making sense of life again.

However, receiving a respectable wrongful death settlement requires much more than simply submitting a claim. A wrongful death lawsuit is usually very nuanced and requires an attorney with deep experience in attaining the results you deserve.

Efficiency in wrongful death lawsuit strategy, along with emotional guidance, gives you the level of confidence necessary for a positive outcome should your lawsuit head to court.

Ready to speak with a compassionate, experienced wrongful death attorney who’s ready to fight for your rights to obtain the compensation you deserve? Call 614-481-6000 or click here to speak with a Compassionate Consultant at Cooper & Elliott.

Topics: wrongful death attorney, wrongful death, wrongful death lawsuit, wrongful death compensation, personal injury, wrongful death settlement, wrongful death lawyers

Litigation Support: The Truth About Advancing Expenses For Civil Lawsuits

Posted on Thu, Apr 03, 2014

There’s really no refuting that lawsuits are expensive. In most wrongful death and traumatic injury cases, specifically, tens of thousands (evens hundreds of thousands) of dollars are spent to pursue civil lawsuits of this nature.

180692947Civil lawsuits, such as wrongful death, medical malpractice and traumatic injury, demand the world’s most experienced attorneys, expert witnesses and more.

The following is a snapshot of the possible costs associated with a civil lawsuit:

  • The expert fees are typically significant and range from $500 per hour to several thousand dollars per hour or even larger flat rates.
  • In complex motor vehicle crash cases, an accident reconstructionist expert may charge anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 just to conduct an initial investigation.
  • In a medical malpractice case, several thousand dollars may be spent just to have a doctor review the medical records, and tens of thousands of dollars may be spent when it comes to actual testimony.

These are only three examples of the many possible costs for pursuing a large civil lawsuit.

Over the course of the past 25 years, the attorneys at Cooper & Elliott have never encountered a traumatic injury victim or surviving family member of a wrongful death who is able to afford these expenses in advance.

In fact, many law firms aren’t even able to advance these expenses.

Litigation Support: Cooper & Elliott’s Standard Contingency Fee Agreement

At Cooper & Elliott, our contingency fee agreement promises to advance costs for our clients, and we don’t require our expenses to be paid back unless we prevail in the case.

Complex civil lawsuits have high costs, and we do everything possible to defray this cost for our clients and referring counsel.  We agree to only ask for reimbursements from verdicts and settlements following a jury verdict.

By absorbing the large cost of litigation, we put you in the best possible position to get the most value out of your civil lawsuit. Cooper & Elliott’s financial litigation support helps you secure the best experts for your civil lawsuit, which increases the valuation of your case.

By advancing expenses, you’re ridding yourself of the anxiety of your case’s costs, giving you the presence of mind to focus on what’s most important during this difficult time.

Ready to learn more about the benefits of litigation support to successfully pursue your civil lawsuit? Call 614-481-6000 or click on the button below to speak with a Compassionate Consultant at Cooper & Elliott.

Topics: wrongful death, medical malpractice, verdicts and settlements, litigation support, civil lawsuit, civil lawsuits, traumatic injury

Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Complying With Rules Of Professional Conduct

Posted on Tue, Apr 01, 2014

161871944As an established attorney, your client relationships are built on trust. Your clients have come to depend on you when they face difficult legal matters. In turn, you do everything possible to offer them litigation support.

But, what happens when your clients come up against legal matters – such as wrongful death lawsuits – that are not within your specific area of litigation experience? Have any of the following issues arisen with a current client?

  • Aspects of a client’s case require specific litigation experience. 
  • A client’s case is larger than you’re capable of handling alone. 
  • You’re an out-of-state attorney who needs to associate with local counsel.

In each of these instances, it’s critical to partner with a lawyer from outside of your firm who has specific litigation experience with your client’s legal matter.

This is especially true in wrongful death lawsuits, where the issues are complex and the cases are generally quite large in terms of witnesses, experts and costs associated with litigating. If you don’t have experience handling wrongful death cases as a regular part of your practice, you should consider referring these client cases to a wrongful death attorney who’s already accomplished in the field.

Rule 1.1 Of The Ohio (And Model) Rules Of Professional Conduct
This rule states that a lawyer must provide competent representation to a client, and also explains that, “Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

The comments to the rule note that competent representation may be provided “through the association of a lawyer of established competence in the field in question.”

Rule 7.2(e) Also Permits Lawyers From Different Firms To Share Fees
The economic reality of wrongful death lawsuits should never prohibit your clients from pursuing the justice they deserve. The Rules Of Professional Conduct are quite clear in that lawyers from different firms are able to share fees.

Under Rule 7.2(e), sharing fees is permitted if:

  • The division of fees is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer.
  • Or, each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation and agrees to be available for consultation with the client, and the client has given written consent.

When you refer your clients’ wrongful death lawsuits to an experienced wrongful death attorney, steps should be taken to ensure the referable fee complies with the Rules Of Professional Conduct.

Often, when your client faces a wrongful death lawsuit, the cost of the case is uncertain but could potentially reach into the tens of thousands – or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars. That’s why it’s important to refer your client to a wrongful death firm that’s capable of financing or advancing the costs for the case.

Ready to partner with an experienced wrongful death attorney who’s capable of handling your client’s complex, costly case? Call 614-481-6000 or click here to speak with a Plaintiff Protector at Cooper & Elliott.

Topics: wrongful death attorney, wrongful death, wrongful death lawsuit, wrongful death cases, wrongful death lawsuits, litigation support, litigation experience, ohio wrongful death attorney

Wrongful Death: 5 Key Indicators You May Have A Case

Posted on Thu, Mar 27, 2014

181982969As a close family member of an unexpectedly lost loved one, you are dealing with so much grief and confusion. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely that you’ve started peeking out from the basement of your own bereavement to view the larger picture, realizing you might be facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Since you’re only beginning to determine whether or not your family member has been victimized by a wrongful death, the following five questions about wrongful death cases are designed to help you gauge your own situation and see if you have a legitimate claim.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did someone’s actions, or failure to act, cause the wrongful death?
    This question may seem rather obvious, but it must be stated in plain terms: Does your situation suggest the negligence or recklessness of another, whether it was brought on intentionally or not?

    These wrongful death situations include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, product malfunction, workplace accidents and criminal behavior. In all of these scenarios, the person responsible for the wrongful death is cited as being responsible for negligence or recklessness.
  2. Is the defendant more responsible for the wrongful death?
    For some wrongful death incidents, such as a car accident, where to place the blame exists in a somewhat gray area. For there to be a legitimate wrongful death case, it’s important to understand who was most responsible for the unexpected death.

    This is a line that must be drawn before entering into a wrongful death lawsuit. If there’s any possible gray area (meaning a weakness in your case), the defense is going to argue their innocence and deflect all responsibility for the wrongful death back on to your shoulders.
  3. Does the wrongful death defendant have insurance coverage? 
    In any potential wrongful death case, it’s important to establish that the defendant has the resources necessary for compensation.

    Entering a wrongful death case without knowing the defendant’s insurance policy limits or other assets is a common mistake. It’s a vital piece of information to determine the potential wrongful death settlement, which is really important to the victim’s recovery.
  4. Is the wrongdoer responsible under the law for the wrongful death?
    In certain cases, the law may insulate or provide defense to the wrongdoers, allowing them to avoid responsibility for a wrongful death. In this scenario, there must be a direct causal link between a violation of a duty or law and the wrongful death in order to establish a wrongful death case.
  5. Does the evidence support your wrongful death case?
    So long as you have firm evidence that supports your wrongful death case, you should proceed with the lawsuit. This evidence may be in the form of medical records supporting negligence, or a crash reconstructionist’s data that points to the defendant as the cause of the wrongful death.

If the evidence points to fault, negligence or carelessness by another, it is crucial to begin the investigation and start lining up experts and other witnesses at the earliest possible moment. Insurance companies begin mounting their own evidence as soon as they learn about the wrongful death claim.

Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit may seem like an arduous task right now. But, as you search for understanding during this difficult time, court-approved justice is the only way to bring out the truth that your family deserves.

Ready to learn more about wrongful death cases and understand if your current situation warrants teaming up with an attorney? Call 614-481-6000 or click on the button below to speak with a Compassionate Consultant at Cooper & Elliott.

Topics: wrongful death, wrongful death lawsuit, wrongful death cases, wrongful death claim, wrongful death settlement, wrongful death case, wrongful death lawyer, medical malpractice

3 Ways To Determine Wrongful Death Damages In A Lawsuit

Posted on Tue, Mar 25, 2014

describe the imageThe wrongful death of a loved one has devastating effects on your client’s next of kin. The emotional impact they’re already experiencing is overwhelming. However, the economic impact they may face due to wrongful death damages is equally harmful to the already-fragmented world in which they now live.

Receiving compensation for wrongful death damages may not be your area of legal focus, but it’s important to help your client understand his or her legal rights and why it’s necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

First and foremost, it’s important to let your client know that the court doesn’t discriminate on wrongful death damages – whether the decedent was the primary earner of the family or performed all of the necessary tasks to run a household. The point of pursuing wrongful death compensation is to replace vital elements of a functioning family unit.  These integral family basics include any loss of income, care for the household or ability to pay bills.

The following three situations exemplify how a lost loved one’s role, in terms of the family’s future, plays a part in recovering wrongful death damages:

  1. If the decedent was employed …
    It’s important to carefully and thoroughly calculate wage loss, including both the past loss of wages (if the decedent was injured and unable to work before passing) and the loss of earning capacity going forward.
    To get an accurate calculation of all lost wages, the decedent’s earning history should be documented and an economist should be retained to perform an analysis. The analyst should include consideration of the value of all benefits.
  2. If the decedent provided household services …
    Although no one paid the decedent to mow the lawn, do the laundry, prepare meals or perform the dozens of other tasks necessary to run a household, these household services have measurable value when it comes to wrongful death compensation. An economic analysis should also cover this area of loss.
  3. If the decedent was a minor …
    Determining the loss of earning capacity of a minor decedent is frequently overlooked in wrongful death cases. Although it’s challenging to anticipate what a young person’s career path would have been, skilled experts are able to make reasonable projections.
    With the presentation of sufficient information, courts have permitted projected loss of earning capacity for minors (even when the decedent was an infant). An experienced wrongful death attorney provides crucial knowledge about how to navigate these issues.

There are a variety of entry points in the legal pursuit of wrongful death compensation. When you refer your client to an experienced attorney with a proven track record for achieving favorable wrongful death settlements, they know exactly how to approach your client’s case to uncover the lost damages.

It’s also important to know that the right wrongful death attorney understands the financial hit your client’s family is taking, and therefore willingly offers financing options or entirely advances the uncertain costs of the case.

Ready to refer your client to a wrongful death attorney with a proven track record for recovering all necessary damages through court-appointed compensation? Call 614-481-6000 or click here to speak with a Plaintiff Protector at Cooper & Elliott.


Topics: wrongful death attorney, wrongful death, wrongful death lawsuit, wrongful death settlements, wrongful death cases, decedent, wrongful death damages, wrongful death compensation