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Who is entitled to a lawsuit settlement for the death of a father and son? Can creditors take money from the settlement?

Steubenville, OH |

My son was hit and killed while riding his Harley by a driver that ran a stop signal. His 2 daughters filed the suit and won. Can creditors including the Hospital where he was taken get any of yhe proceeds?

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Best Answer

A wrongful death claim can have 2 components. The survival action which is for pain and suffering prior to the death and would include medical bills. The money apportioned to that is subject to creditors claims if they set the claim correctly. Any money left over goes by the statute of descent and distribution or a will if there was one.

The claim for wrongful death , the loss to the benficiaries listed in the statute is not sublect to the decedents' creditors other than for funeral and burial expense.

Here is a short quote from the Ohio wrongful death statute;

(A)(1) Except as provided in this division, a civil action for wrongful death shall be brought in the name of the personal representative of the decedent for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, the children, and the parents of the decedent, all of whom are rebuttably presumed to have suffered damages by reason of the wrongful death, and for the exclusive benefit of the other next of kin of the decedent. A parent who abandoned a minor child who is the decedent shall not receive a benefit in a civil action for wrongful death brought under this division.

So a parent does have a right to be considered for receipt of the proceeds. The probate Court makes the determination on who gets what. The creditor have no claim against the claim of the beneficiaries for the death.

This is not legal advice. This is just general information.You should always contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice. By giving you this information a lawyer client relationship is not created. Although I try to be accurate , you should not rely solely on this information and should get an opinion from a lawyer you speak with personally.


The answer depends on the lawsuit and the statutes that provide for the wrongful death and/or survivor recovery(ies). The lawyer for his two daughters will know the answers and be able to give them the best advice available. If, for some reason, they don't trust his advice after he/she won the case and seems to have performed well, they can certainly seek a second opinion from an Ohio lawyer who specializes in or at least emphasizes this type of case.


State laws vary significantly with respect to this question, thus, you should call the lawyer who handled the case.

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Maybe. In Ohio, your son's estate representative can bring what is called a survivorship claim for your son's own injuries, related medical expenditures, and conscious pain and suffering before his death. Those medical expenses may be required to be paid due to mandatory statutory or contractual liens. Talk to your granddaughters' attorney on what suit was brought and did it resolve the possible medical expense liens . In addition, your son's estate representative may also bring a wrongful death action. This action is brought for the sole benefit of the surviving next of kin, which includes you as a parent, for each survivor's grief damages, loss of financial support that your son provided before his death, and the related funeral and burial expenses. Talk to your granddaughters' attorney on this also.


There are several types of damages in a wrongful death case. The Personal Representative is appointed by the Probate Court to represent the Estate. The Personal Representative brings an action on behalf of the Estate. The damages can includes damages for conscious pain and suffering, and other collectable damages for the interested parties under the wrongful death statute. and damages to the surviving heirs for their loss. Since the daughters are interested parties under the Wrongful death statute they will be awarded damages. The hospital bills and expenses should be damages that are compensated for in the case. Those bills should be paid out of the estate if they are recovered in the litigation. The damages to the daughters should be separate than the damages for the estate. In answer to your question, the hospital bills should be paid either directly by the insurance company or if they are recovered as part of the litigation, than they will be paid through the estate.

You should consult an attorney in your State at once. This response does not constitute legal advise outside the State Of Michigan and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship with our offices. It is for informational use only of the general laws in the State of Michigan, only. To retain our offices, you need to sign a contingency contract with us. We do offer free consultations and we can refer clients to lawyers in your State if you call us. Visit our webpage and tell us what you think.


I suggest you talk to the lawyer who handled the lawsuit. In many cases creditors can have access to the proceeds but can also be negotiated with as to the amount

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