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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Compensation for a Loved One's Passing: Who Can File Wrongful Death in Ohio?

Unfortunately, many people die in accidents caused by someone else's actions. Surviving family members often experience intense emotions, depression, despair, and anxiety after losing their loved ones.


However, they don't have to go through this alone and can fight for their loved one's rights if the fatal accident was caused by a negligent party. If the deceased person used to contribute to the household, and they're suffering financially due to this unfortunate outcome, survivors may even be able to recover compensation.


Ohio law establishes who can file a wrongful death case and what they must do to pursue compensation for the damages and pain they have suffered since their loved ones passed away. Here's more information about this.


What Are Wrongful Death Claims?

What Are Wrongful Death Claims?


If a person dies due to someone else's negligent actions in Ohio, their surviving family members can hold the at-fault party accountable for their behavior and pursue compensation through a process similar to a personal injury lawsuit.


According to the Ohio wrongful death statute, people can file a claim where the wrongful or negligent act would have entitled victims to recover compensation if they had not died due to the accident.


Understanding What a "Wrongful Death Act" Is


In Ohio, the wrongful death statute says that people can file a claim on behalf of their deceased loved ones if they died due to another individual's wrongful act, default, or neglect.


Under state law, a wrongful act occurs when there's intentional violence, such as assault. When someone breaches their duty of care, which indicates that people are required to act reasonably to avoid injuring others, and that leads to fatal injuries, this is considered "legal negligence."


These are some examples of negligence that often lead to wrongful death cases in Ohio:

  • Distracted driving

  • Drunk driving

  • Aggressive driving

  • Medical malpractice

  • Nursing home abuse

  • Properties with hazardous conditions

  • Defective or dangerous products

As mentioned, Ohio law states that wrongful death action will be available to family members if a victim would have been able to recover damages for personal injuries if they had survived because the accident that harmed them was caused by another person's negligence or intentional behavior.


What Damages Are Available in an Ohio Wrongful Death Case?


If claimants win the wrongful death case, courts will order damages, which defendants must pay to compensate plaintiffs. In Ohio, the deceased person's survivors or estate can seek compensation for the following:

  • Loss of support according to the victim's earning capacity

  • Loss of the prospective inheritance that dependents might have had if their family member had survived

  • Loss of the victim's services, including housework and childcare

  • Loss of the decedent's companionship, guidance, care, counsel, advice, society, or instruction

  • Mental anguish due to surviving family members' suffering because of the death of their loved ones

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?


Although this legal action is available to family members of a person who died in an accident caused by another individual, that doesn't mean all their relatives can file a wrongful death claim.


Ohio wrongful death claims can only be filed by certain individuals. Since the damages that can be awarded in these cases depend on the loss these people experience, this legal action is often available to the surviving spouse and children.


In this state, anyone who is named as the legal representative of the deceased person's estate must file a wrongful death case. A probate court can appoint this individual if it isn't designated in the victims' will.


However, even if filed by the legal personal representative, the money awarded is divided among the family members and dependents who suffered losses due to their loved one's death.


How Are Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits Distributed?

In a wrongful death case, damages awarded as compensation are distributed based on inheritance rights. This is defined by state intestate succession laws.


Family members typically include all dependents of the deceased person, such as the surviving spouse, children, and parents. Siblings, grandparents, and other relatives are only entitled to damages if they can prove that they suffered legally compensable losses.


Surviving spouses who get remarried before the wrongful death case is resolved don't necessarily lose their percentage of damages. However, Ohio laws dictate that courts must consider their remarriage when determining losses.


What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Ohio Wrongful Death Claim?

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Ohio Wrongful Death Claim?


It's important to know the answer to questions like How long do you have to file wrongful death in Ohio? Surviving family members should file a wrongful death claim within a specific period according to the statute of limitations. In Ohio, it's two years from the date when the victim died.


If the wrongful death lawsuit is not filed within that period, the court will likely refuse to hear the matter. However, this deadline may change due to some exceptions that allow the deceased person's survivors to take legal action against the at-fault party even more than two years after the death.


Should The Deceased Person's Survivors Seek Help from a Wrongful Death Attorney?


The death of a family member can be an overwhelming and extremely painful experience. Victims not only lost a loved one but may also suffer financially if they contributed to the household.


Furthermore, in order to pursue compensation and hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions, surviving family members must take legal action. This process can be very stressful and complex, especially when they don't have the legal support they need.


However, the deceased person's family members don't have to go through the legal process alone. Instead, they can seek help from an Ohio wrongful death lawyer to build their cases and recover fair compensation for their suffering.


A wrongful death attorney has extensive experience helping people understand their rights after a loved one dies. Plus, experts will do everything possible to win the case to recover the compensation they deserve. They can also advise on questions such as are personal injury settlements taxable in Ohio?


Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we have extensive experience in wrongful death cases and are ready to fight for affected parties' rights if their loved ones die due to someone else's action. Contact us today!

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