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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

"How Do I Divide a Wrongful Death Settlement in Ohio?" - Common Legal Questions

In the aftermath of a wrongful death case, when both parties reach a settlement, there's one common riddle left to solve: "How will the court divide the amount among the surviving family members and beneficiaries?" It's a question that's legally and emotionally significant. Ohio law acknowledges the complexities of dividing wrongful death settlements.

The state's wrongful death laws recognize the emotional and financial suffering surviving family members endure due to the wrongful act or negligence causing the loss of their loved one.

From funeral and burial expenses to medical costs, there are many financial burdens to cover. Wrongful death settlements paid out can cover these costs, providing much-needed relief to family members.

How Do Courts Pay Out Wrongful Death Settlements?

How Do Courts Pay Out Wrongful Death Settlements?

All courts in every state in the US fairly distribute settlements to address the unique needs of the beneficiaries. Ohio is no exception to this principle.

Structured Settlement

These settlements provide ongoing financial support to surviving family members. They recognize that losing a loved one can have long-lasting economic consequences.

With a structured settlement, the final amount is divided into a series of periodic payments. They are often tailored to meet specific needs, such as covering living expenses, educational costs, and medical bills.

Structured settlements can offer a degree of financial security and stability. This is especially true when there are children or dependents involved.

In this event, if the plaintiff(s) recovers $300,000 in economic damages, they will receive $30,000 annually for 10 years.

Lump-sum Payment

In some cases, courts may opt for a lump-sum payment when distributing wrongful death settlements. A lump-sum payment provides the entire wrongful death settlement amount in one go.

This approach can be beneficial when immediate financial help is necessary. It can cover funeral and burial costs, outstanding medical bills, or other urgent financial needs.

The decision between structured settlements and lump-sum payments depends on various factors. This includes the financial circumstances of the surviving family members. It also involves overall expenses and the beneficiaries' preferences. 

Navigating the complexities of wrongful death claims and their distribution can be challenging. Professionals with experience in wrongful death lawsuits can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the legal process.

They understand the nuances of Ohio's wrongful death laws. A lawyer can help surviving family members decide how to receive their settlements.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Not everyone can claim a wrongful death settlement in Toledo, Ohio. The court allows specific candidates and beneficiaries to seek financial justice. It aims to provide relief and justice to those partially/fully dependent on the deceased person.

Surviving Spouse

In most legal systems, the surviving spouse is the main beneficiary in such cases. This recognition stems from the emotional and financial interdependence within a marriage.

However, partner(s) who legally married someone else before the victim's untimely death cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Dependent Parents

On the other hand, parents who were financially dependent on the deceased can also file a wrongful death claim.

This financial dependency can include various forms of support, such as regular monetary assistance or living arrangements supported by the deceased.

It's worth noting the laws may differ by jurisdiction. Plaintiffs should consult with wrongful death lawyers for more advice on wrongful death claims.

Surviving Children

Also, surviving children of the deceased are typically eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Much like the surviving spouse, children may have had financial and emotional dependence on the deceased parent.

The loss of a parent can lead to profound emotional and financial consequences for children, and the law recognizes this. Ohio courts also don't discriminate between biological, adopted, and stepchildren. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can advise on who can file wrongful death in Ohio.

Other Partial Dependents

In some cases, people who were partially dependent on the deceased may also have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

This category can include plaintiffs such as siblings or distant relatives who can demonstrate a degree of financial reliance on the deceased.

Proving financial dependence might be more complex. It can also be subject to the specific laws of their jurisdiction and probate court.

The rules and regulations surrounding Ohio wrongful death claims can be intricate and vary by location. Therefore, expert guidance is crucial in navigating this process successfully.

Personal Representative

Lastly, a personal representative may file for a wrongful death settlement if the decedent's surviving spouse, children, or parents are unable to. If successful, the court will offer the amount through structured settlement or lump-sum payment to the deceased's estate.

According to the probate court, the personal representative must equally distribute the amount among the rightful heirs.

What Is the Maximum Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Ohio?

Unfortunately, the emotional toll of losing a family member due to someone else's actions cannot be overstated. The pain, mourning, and the upheaval in the survivor's life can be all-consuming. Still, it's important to recognize the statute of limitations serves a crucial purpose.

It encourages timely action to preserve evidence, protect witnesses' memories, and ensure a fair legal process.

Under Ohio law, the legal timeframe for wrongful death cases is two years from the date of the event. However, many factors can extend or shorten the deadline. In a medical malpractice case, for example, the two-year period may start from the date of discovery rather than the date of the incident.

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Wrongful Death Case?

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Wrongful Death Case?

Losing a loved one due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing is a deeply emotional experience. It's only natural to want justice and closure as swiftly as possible, but the path to resolving a wrongful death case can be lengthy and complex.

The intricacy of the case itself can have a significant impact on the timeline. Cases that involve many parties, legal issues, or disputed facts can take longer to solve.

Court schedules, the availability of witnesses, and the court's docket can all influence how long it takes for the case to go to trial and be resolved. In short, reaching resolutions in personal injury lawsuits can take a few months to a few years. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys an also answer questions like Are wrongful death settlements tax deductible in Ohio?

Final Words

Dividing a wrongful death settlement in Ohio is a process that involves legal and emotional complexities. Legal guidance is essential in navigating the intricacies of Ohio's wrongful death laws and ensuring a fair and equitable settlement distribution.

Stating, "We Go to War for You," Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can fight for client's rights. Its team of lawyers know that each case is unique. They can handle all legal twists and turns professionally.


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