Wrongful death suit yields nearly $4M

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A judge has required the Ohio Department of Transportation to relinquish nearly $4 million to the husband of a woman who was killed by a falling roadside tree. The wrongful death suit was filed in February 2010, but the accident occurred on Dec. 26, 2008.

Officials report that the woman had been driving back from a family Christmas celebration when a tree fell from a roadside area near Ohio 83. The tree struck the woman’s vehicle, causing her to drive off of the road, strike a fence and finally come to rest after hitting several other trees. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and her young son was hospitalized for nearly two weeks because of his injuries. That child suffered traumatic brain injury that led to brain swelling and a skull fracture, among other concerns.

The suit claimed that ODOT should have known that the roadside tree was unstable and unsafe. In fact, there were several reports of trees falling in the approximate area shortly before this deadly incident occurred.

News reports show that the woman’s husband was so affected by the crash that he was required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by his employer. He was placed on short-term disability after being diagnosed with major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. His physician argues that these problems are a direct result of the woman’s death. Further, the surviving child has shown some diminished learning capacity because of his brain injuries.

The money in this case has been awarded for medical bills and funeral expenses, along with wages and benefits that the woman might have earned. Additional funds were allocated for noneconomic losses, many of which included emotional distress, loss of consort and other intangibles. The case is currently under review by state officials, and it is not yet clear whether the government intends to appeal the judge’s ruling. It is not clear where the settlement money would come from.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of government negligence, consider seeking the services of a personal injury attorney. These professionals can protect your rights and get you the money you deserve.

Source:  www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com, “Family could get almost $4M in wrongful death lawsuit” Hannah Sparling, May. 24, 2013