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Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ohio

When a loved one dies as a result of the negligent actions of another person, you may be able to sue for the person’s loss through filing a wrongful death lawsuit.  A wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio can be filed if the person who died would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit had he or she survived. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed following different kinds of incidents where death results, including car accidents, botched medical procedures, or even a slip and fall accident.

Who Can Sue In a Wrongful Death Case?

Only a limited group of people can file wrongful death lawsuits.  These people are usually immediate family members such as a spouse or the children of the deceased.  In some cases, secondary family members such as grandparents or siblings can file personal injury lawsuits on behalf of a deceased family member.  Additionally, the representative of the deceased’s estate can also file the wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages that would go directly to the estate if the lawsuit is successful.  Since the damages are received into the estate, they benefit a surviving spouse, children, or another person who is the deceased’s next of kin.  If the deceased is a child who was previously abandoned by their parents, the parents cannot recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Damages

A person filing a wrongful death lawsuit can seek damages connected to the loss of companionship, loss of support, loss of earning capacity, mental anguish or pain and suffering caused by the loss of the deceased, among other losses.  If the deceased also suffered for a while before dying, the family members or representatives may also seek damages for that suffering in addition to medical costs incurred by the deceased between the time of the injury and the time of death.

Wrongful death suits, like other personal injury lawsuits, have statute of limitations which limit the amount of time a person has to bring the lawsuit.  For most claims, the time limit is two years from the person’s death.  However, in cases involving product liability, the claims cannot be brought ten years or more after the original incident causing the injury that eventually lead to the decedent’s death.

A wrongful death claim should not be affected by whether or not the deceased person left a will.  This is because, while the person has rights to seek compensation during their own lifetime, the right to sue for wrongful death is governed by law.  The deceased cannot will the right to sue for wrongful death.  The proceeds of a wrongful death settlement or award can become the subject of probate proceedings. If there is a probate case, the probate court has to approve any proposed settlements.

An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If your loved one died as a result of another person’s negligence, and you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact experienced Columbus, Ohio personal injury attorney Ed Schottenstein of Schottenstein Law Offices for a consultation at (614) 467-8474.