In the last decade, the state of Ohio has wound up paying a total of approximately $13.9 million to the families of persons whose lives ended in a wrongful death. The state bore at least partial responsibility in each instance, and the deaths were caused by nonmedical negligence, such as vehicle or property negligence.
The state agency that is most often sued for negligence resulting in accidental injury or death is the Department of Transportation, which has piled up a total of 53 lawsuits in the last ten years, with about 12 cases still pending. It alone accounts for around half of the wrongful death judgments or settlements against the state, or 11 cases, with a damage payout reaching $9.8 million.
In one of the latest cases, a female motorist who died after her vehicle was hit by a falling tree was the subject of the wrongful death lawsuit. An award of $4 million was made to her family in May. Her son, a young boy, also suffered serious injuries in the same accident. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit argued that Transportation Department employees had prior knowledge for some time that the tree in question, which was already leaning forward, posed a hazard, but did nothing to remedy the situation.
In another recent award, the family of a woman was awarded $3.3 million for her death, which occurred when a truck driver collided head on with her car when he lost control of his vehicle after hitting a pothole. The lawsuit asserted that the Transportation Department had knowledge about the potholes in the area, but failed to take action to correct the situation.
There are a number of special rules for pursuing injury and wrongful death claims against the state, which require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney to achieve success.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Wrongful deaths cost taxpayers millions" Randy Ludlow, Jun. 15, 2013