Punitive Damages Award Against Dead Person Allowed

punitive damages award against dead person allowed
In 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a punitive damages award against dead person allowed.  The deceased person’s estate can be held responsible for punitive damages if a trial court awards such damages against the decedent, cutting into the share of the estate the heirs can receive.

Facts Justifying Punitive Damages Award Against Dead Person Allowed

  In June 2010, a great aunt was babysitting a five year old and a two year old child. When the mother returned, she discovered the great aunt had one hand on the five year old child’s neck and a pillow over the child’s face.  The mother rescued her children and sued the great aunt.  A default judgment was entered against the great aunt while she was alive but she died before the hearing on punitive damages.  The Ohio Supreme Court found that punitive damages were permissible because the great aunt was alive when she was found responsible.  Most of the other states do not allow punitive damages against dead wrongdoers because one of the purposes of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer.  Those other states subscribe to the notion that you cannot punish someone who is already dead.

Consequences of Punitive Damages Award Against Dead Person Allowed

  Allowing punitive damages means such damages can be imposed as a claim in probate court. This claim would be paid out of the probate estate’s assets.  While the heirs would not be held liable for the debt, the debt would be paid out of assets that the heirs stood to inherit, greatly reducing or eliminating their inheritance.

Probate Articles Related To Punitive Damages Award Against Dead Person Allowed

  Click on any of the following links to read more about Ohio probate law: Estate taxes in Ohio; Should you use online legal document services; More problems from online legal document services.  

Personal Injury Articles Related To Punitive Damages Award Against Dead Person Allowed

  Click on any of the following links to read more about Ohio personal injury law: Two trials may be required in some personal injury cases; Medical bills in personal injury cases; Personal injury tips.

Call For A Wadsworth Probate Attorney and Personal Injury Attorney

  Attorney Gigiano is a Wadsworth probate attorney in Medina County and a Wadsworth personal injury attorney in Medina County. Call now at 330-336-3330 if you need the services of a probate attorney and personal injury attorney near Barberton, Seville and Rittman.