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Widow of Ohio police officer files second lawsuit against Elyria

The sudden death of a spouse is something no one hopes to experience. Sadly, however, tragic accidents occur that leave spouses widowed and children without a parent. Such an incident is a lot for anyone to bear. If a spouse is killed while working, many families are entitled to workers' compensation benefits, which can help them focus on comforting one another instead of worrying about how to afford a funeral or even the next trip to the grocery store.

Not long ago, one Ohio woman went through a situation similar to this. Her husband, an Elyria, Ohio, police officer, was killed in a motorcycle accident while working. When she filed for workers' compensation, the city argued that he was not on duty so she could not collect money. The widow is now suing both the city of Elyria and the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation for a second time.

Nearly seven years ago, the Elyria police officer had just finished his shift. Because the police union was holding a steak fry, he rode his motorcycle to the store to pick up supplies. As he was on his way, a car pulled out in front of him unexpectedly. Just forty minutes after the violent collision, the officer was pronounced dead.

Following the tragic accident, the officer's wife filed for workers' compensation. The state bureau determined that the officer was in fact on duty because he was running errands related to the police union. The city of Elyria, however, disagreed. It appealed the bureau's decision, arguing that the officer was not on duty when he died, so the city should not have to pay the $250,000 it would owe her.

The woman received compensation of $34,424 before remarrying, which renders a person ineligible for benefits. Her children would be given approximately $1,300 each month until their 18th birthday or until graduating college.

The woman filed a lawsuit against the city and the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation a year ago, dropped it, and has recently refiled it.

Source: The Chronicle-Telegram, "Police officer's widow refiles suit against city of Elyria," Brad Dicken, July 28, 2011

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