Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful Death Attorneys in Akron, Ohio | Willis, Willis & Rizzi | We Have The Answers!

 

What is considered a wrongful death?

A wrongful death case is the result of personal injuries to your loved one that resulted in their death whether immediate or over a period of time, and the death was due to the conduct of another party.  At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have dealt with a wide variety of wrongful death cases. In some cases, it’s very clear what the cause of death was such as a motor vehicle crash or some other traumatic event such as a fall or something falling on an individual. We have also handled cases where there was an environmental or chemical exposure, ground water issues, industrial accidents, or other various causes which take time to develop and/or are not so obvious.

What happens, legally, when someone dies?

When someone dies, there is a non-human entity created in the legal world. It is called an “estate”.  A corporation is another form of a non-human legal entity. When someone dies, an estate is created in the law for the purposes of handling the affairs of the deceased. The estate will pay bills that are owed, collect money that is due, conduct business and/or prosecute or defend legal claims; including claims  for injuries. Estates are watched over by the probate courts. The probate court will ensure that all matters related to the deceased individual’s estate are handled correctly and that all necessary parties are included in the case. A fiduciary/manager/ trustee will be appointed by the probate court to be the representative of the estate and conduct business on its behalf.  The fiduciary will report to the probate court on the affairs of the estate.

Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim?

In Ohio, like other states, there exists a wrongful death statute. If a person dies as a result of their personal injuries, the estate has a claim (on behalf of the deceased) for the injuries, lost earnings, other damages and medical bills that were incurred. Additionally, the statute says there is a certain class of people that are presumed to be injured by the death of a loved one. The statue specifically identifies parents, a spouse and/or children as members of a class that are presumed to be injured people who also have a claim for their damages and injuries due to the death of their loved one.

The probate court will determine who is eligible to make a claim, and what the value of that claim will be based on the details of the relationship. For example, a minor child who loses a parent may not only have the emotional loss of love,  care and comfort , but also the loss of financially providing for their needs and care moving forward into the future.

What is gained by filing a wrongful death claim?

When a wrongful death claim is made, it provides the opportunity to discover what is out there in the way of recoverable assets. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we recently had a case where an elderly woman was killed in a car crash, and the insurance company of the at fault driver did not want to reveal how much insurance coverage was available. By law, we are entitled to know that information if we file a lawsuit. If we don’t file a lawsuit, the insurance company doesn’t have to reveal the amount of insurance coverage. Often times we have seen insurance companies play games like this in an attempt to conceal how much insurance coverage is available. By filing a wrongful death claim and lawsuit, it provides the power of the court system through subpoenas to research and determine the full extent of what is recoverable on behalf of the estate.

What if minors are involved in a wrongful death claim?

In a wrongful death claim if there are minor children and their parents are killed, a guardian will be assigned by the probate court. Often times the parents would have had a will that names a guardian to care for their children. Typically, the probate court will go along with this request but ultimately the court has the power to appoint whomever the court feels is the best guardian for the children.

Money that is recovered through a wrongful death case can be set aside by the probate court to be used to provide the necessary care for the children as they grow up.

Are there time constraints in filing a wrongful death claim?

When considering making a wrongful death claim it’s important to remember that each state has a prescribed time limit within which claims can be brought.  It is important to figure out early on what that time limit is. This is another reason to consult with competent legal counsel.

Why should I hire Willis, Willis & Rizzi as my personal injury attorneys to handle my wrongful death claim?

In any type of personal injury situation, if you have medical bills or miss time at work, you are going to need a personal injury lawyer. In this type of situation there will be multiple legal issues involved and you simply will not be equipped to deal with or recognize those issues. In a wrongful death claim situation, there will be even more entities and claims involved. It’s important to have professional and experienced advocates arguing on your behalf for the best possible outcome. Remember also that insurance companies will not simply hand you money on a wrongful death claim. Insurance companies will also want the power of the probate court to document and protect their interests as well.

At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have a vast amount of experience in dealing with wrongful death claims. We have handled wrongful death claims in multiple states for all types of injuries from traumatic to environmental or chemical exposure.

In a wrongful death case, at some point there will be a hearing at the probate court, and the probate court will being looking at the personal injury attorney or attorneys who handled the wrongful death claim for the estate. The court will either have confidence in what the personal injury law firm has done in the past, or the court will not. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have handled enough wrongful death claims over the years that the courts are comfortable with us doing the work and accepting what we present to them.  This only comes from years of experience and trust between the probate court and the personal injury law firm.

 

Call us today at 330.535.2000 and speak directly with one of our attorneys and see how we can help you, or fill out the contact form on this page. 

I’ve been in an accident, do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?

I’ve been in an accident; do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?

When you have been in an accident, it can be difficult to know if you should hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. If you have sustained injuries and will have medical bills, you will also have legal issues associated with your personal injury claim.

If you’re not injured and there is not much damage to your vehicle, you can generally handle these types of situations without too much bureaucracy or insurance claim investigation. But once you start incurring medical bills due to personal injuries, then these claims can get very complicated, and you will have legal issues for which you will need an experienced personal injury attorney. Whomever is issuing those medical bills for your injury treatment will be looking for payment, and if your health insurance provider is paying them, your health insurance will be looking to you to get reimbursement.

We have had many situations with clients where they have handled their claims on their own and thought everything was resolved and settled until they hear from their health insurance provider that they need their money back, often for more money than the client received in the initial settlement. There are many legal issues involved in personal injury cases like the one described above.

The reality is personal injury cases have rules that have been defined by the insurance companies, and unless you have a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney like the team at Willis, Willis & Rizzi handling the case, it would be very difficult to handle the claim on your own and have a favorable outcome.

Call us today at 330.535.2000 and speak directly with one of our attorneys and see how we can help you.

The insurance company is telling me my claim is under investigation. What does that mean?

The insurance company is telling me my claim is under investigation. What does that mean?

After you have been in an accident or have incurred some other personal injury that requires an insurance claim, and you have reached out to the insurance company, or they have contacted you, the first conversation does not go like this:

“We’re sorry our insured hit you. What can we do for you? Let us stop by and pick up your medical bills. Let us drop off some money to cover your lost wages. Let us know when you have picked out a new car, and we’ll go down and pay for it.”

What you will typically hear in that first conversation is “the claim is under investigation”.

What does that mean?

And you are left wondering “What is there to investigate? The police already investigated and cited the other party.” The insurance company will also tell you “We need to take your recorded statement.” This recorded statement is usually not to investigate and determine who was at fault, it’s about the insurance company trying to contain and control your claim and to delay paying the claim as long as possible. The insurance company knows that you need the claim settled so you can get a rental car or have your car repaired or replaced, or get your medical bills paid. It’s simply a tactic to delay paying the claim or get you to accept less on the claim so that you can get the issue resolved.

What insurance claim investigation really means.

When an insurance company insists they execute a recorded statement with you as part of the personal injury claim investigation, they will ask for a lot of background information about you, as well as inquire about your injuries. During this investigation process, the insurance company is gathering information about you and making an evaluation regarding if they feel you are someone that a jury would sympathize with, or that a jury would not like. They are listening to you speak and gauging your level of vocabulary and education, they are getting information so they can do a background check on you.

When an insurance company says “investigation” and you may be thinking it’s an investigation to process the claim, it’s really a tactic by insurance companies to evaluate you and decide how they are going to handle the claim, and how much they feel they can get away with not paying on the claim.

How do I prepare for an insurance claim investigation?

When you are faced with an insurance claim investigation whether for property damage or personal injury, what can you do to prepare for the investigation? The process is all about the documentation generated as part of the claim, and one of the key pieces of documentation is the police report. The police report usually lists out what the contributing factors are in the accident, who caused the collision, and who was cited. These are all important items to know regarding your claim and case.

How can Willis, Willis & Rizzi help me with my insurance claim investigation?

At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we help our clients understand that most times, insurance claim investigation is really a keyword for “delay”. It is said in our industry that insurance companies live by the “3 D’s”: delay, deny, defend. When you have the sense that an insurance company is simply trying to delay processing the claim instead of trying to help you, that’s a strong indicator that you need to hire a personal injury attorney.

It’s our belief that clients need to be focusing on recovery and getting back to their pre-injury state of health in both mind and body. Let the team at Willis, Willis and Rizzi deal with the bureaucracy and administrative “junk” associated with insurance company claims investigations. We have the experience and expertise to handle insurance companies and position our customers for the best possible outcome in your personal injury or accident claim investigation.

Call today 330.535.2000 or fill out the contact form on this page.

Why Should I Hire Willis, Willis & Rizzi?

Willis, Willis, & Rizzi is uniquely positioned to help clients in their personal injury cases. You will see many personal injury attorneys and law firms advertising on TV and other media. These attorneys and law firms do mass volumes of personal injury cases. While these entities know how to do personal injury work, due to the volume of work they are doing it’s like being on an assembly line and you are put at the end of the line. In many situations these entities are taking in a thousand personal injury cases a week, which means they are settling a thousand cases a week. You become a number not a name and do not get personal attention.

At Willis, Willis, & Rizzi we concentrate on personal injury work and we push on our client’s behalf for an outcome that is in their best interest. We have had victories in the Ohio Supreme Court, Federal Courts, Federal Courts of Appeals, State Courts of Appeals, and trial courts. We work tirelessly to expose coverages where claims were made that no coverage existed and challenging health plans when they say they are entitled to take their money back from you.  

When you have a small firm like Willis, Willis, & Rizzi who is dedicated to the practice of law and takes each personal injury case personally and very seriously, it can be a real benefit to clients who need a strong advocate fighting for their best interests. Our fee is no different than any of the big advertisers. Using the big advertising firms is akin to eating fast food but paying prices of the best steak house in town. If you are going to pay for the best steak house in town, you ought to get the steak that goes with it.

The big advertising firms claim to have collected millions for their clients – they have – by handling a large volume of clients. We have collected millions for our clients as well – only we do it with large recoveries for a smaller set of clients. Would you rather your attorney be thinking about how best to maximize your recovery or thinking about their next advertising campaign?

I’ve been injured and can’t work. What am I supposed to do?

When you have been injured and unable to work, it can be a very stressful and frightening time. At Willis, Willis, & Rizzi we help clients every day to navigate the uncertainties of personal injury situations and to position themselves for the best possible outcome. In situations like these, it’s important to understand that you are facing two issues: you have medical issues as well as legal issues. In our experience, nothing can really happen on the legal front in terms of resolving your personal injury case until you resolve the medical front. You have to get better! Priority number one is you have to get back to your pre-injury state of health.

It’s also very important to have a team in place representing your interests. There are multiple other sides in your personal injury case including hospitals, healthcare providers, and insurance companies who already have a team in place working towards a result that is in their best interest. While you are working to regain your health, these other teams are on the ground running toward their goals. You need to have someone working on your behalf for a result that is in your best interest. While you are working on getting back to health, there are legal issues that need to be resolved. Willis, Willis, & Rizzi is here to help you.

How am I going to pay these bills?

When you are out of work due to a personal injury you will be facing both medical bills as well as non-medical bills. On the medical bill front, the team at Willis, Willis, & Rizzi can help to ensure that hospitals and medical providers are directing their billing to the appropriate parties.

For non-medical bills like rent, utilities, and other living expenses sometimes there are things we can do based on how a clients’ coverage is written to help clients get some money to help cover these items. In other situations, we can write letters to landlords for our clients asking for an agreement that they be paid out of the personal injury case. There are avenues we can explore but it is important to remember that there is nothing in the law that states these parties have to cooperate with you.

What if I was injured at work?

In the State of Ohio, we have workers compensation. If you suffer a personal injury at work, workers compensation is there to help with a percentage of lost wages and to cover medical bills. If you have on-going long term injuries, workers compensation can provide some disability to help you.

Many workplace injuries happen due to the negligence of someone other than your employer. For example, you are driving a company vehicle and you are hit by someone who runs a red light or stop sign.  You are still eligible for workers compensation and can avail yourself of the entire workers comp system, but you also now have a claim against the driver of the other vehicle. It’s important to have a team like Willis, Willis, & Rizzi on your side to help you navigate these complex situations.

Why Should I hire Willis, Willis, & Rizzi?

Willis, Willis, & Rizzi is uniquely positioned to help clients in their personal injury cases. You will see many personal injury attorneys and law firms advertising on TV and other media. These attorneys and law firms do mass volumes of personal injury cases. While these entities know how to do personal injury work, due to the volume of work they are doing it’s like being on an assembly line and you are put at the end of the line. In many situations these entities are taking in a thousand personal injury cases a week, which means they are settling a thousand cases a week. You become a number not a name and do not get personal attention.

At Willis, Willis, & Rizzi we concentrate on personal injury work and we push on our client’s behalf for an outcome that is in their best interest. We have had victories in the Ohio Supreme Court, Federal Courts, Federal Courts of Appeals, State Courts of Appeals, and trial courts. We work tirelessly to expose coverages where claims were made that no coverage existed and challenging health plans when they say they are entitled to take their money back from you.  

When you have a small firm like Willis, Willis, & Rizzi who is dedicated to the practice of law and takes each personal injury case personally and very seriously, it can be a real benefit to clients who need a strong advocate fighting for their best interests. Our fee is no different than any of the big advertisers. Using the big advertising firms is akin to eating fast food but paying prices of the best steak house in town. If you are going to pay for the best steak house in town, you ought to get the steak that goes with it.

The big advertising firms claim to have collected millions for their clients – they have – by handling a large volume of clients. We have collected millions for our clients as well – only we do it with large recoveries for a smaller set of clients. Would you rather your attorney be thinking about how best to maximize your recovery or thinking about their next advertising campaign?