According to the Zanesville Times Recorder, a judge recently ordered the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to pay almost $4 million to the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit. ODOT has 30 days to appeal this decision, but otherwise will be required to compensate the plaintiffs as a result of its negligence in failing to keep the roads properly maintained and safe.
Our Columbus injury attorneys know that government agencies have certain legal obligations to the public. When a government agency falls short of fulfilling its job to keep roads maintained and the public safe, injured victims or their family members can obtain compensation for their losses. In this case, the plaintiffs suffered a great loss because the ODOT's negligence led to the death of a beloved family member.
Ohio DOT Negligence Causes Death
On December 26, 2008, an Ohio family had just finished celebrating Christmas with some family members and had planned to continue the festivities with other family members. The family included a mother, father and two children: a son and a daughter. They piled into two separate vehicles, with mother and son traveling together and father and daughter heading out in a pickup truck.
Unfortunately, the mother and son did not arrive home and the rest of the family went out looking for them. The family came upon a tragic accident that occurred as a result of a tree falling on the edge of the road. When the tree fell, the mother swerved her vehicle off of the western edge of the road and hit a fence as well as several other trees.
The mother died at the accident scene and the son was taken to the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. For 13 days following the crash, he was hospitalized with serious injuries including brain swelling, a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.
Because of the mother's death and the serious injuries suffered by the son, the family took legal action. They claimed that ODOT was responsible for keeping the roads safe and that officials knew that the tree was leaning and that the bank where it was located was eroding. ODOT was thus negligent in failing to address this situation so those driving on the roads would not be put into danger. The negligence was a direct cause of the injury and harm suffered and thus ODOT needs to be held accountable for the losses.
The court found that ODOT was negligent and that the family deserved to be compensated. The family was awarded $3,996,135 in damages including compensation for medical bills, funeral costs and expenses, benefits and income the mother would have earned if she had lived, mental anguish and loss of companionship damages.
Large verdicts such as this are common in wrongful death cases and the government, like any other careless individual or entity, must made to pay when its negligence causes loss.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an Ohio car accident, call the Smith Law office today at 800-930-SCOTT to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Ohio attorney.