Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Ohio?

January 16, 2013

Wrongful Death

Ohio wrongful deathWrongful death must have been caused by the wrongful actions, neglect, or default of another person or, in some cases, the actions of more than one party.  In response, someone must take legal action against the party or parties who are deemed responsible for the death.  The person taking legal action is usually a surviving spouse, parent or child.  A more distant relative of the deceased (who is not a biological relation or not an adoptive parent) is usually not able to recover under a wrongful death statute (law).

The Ohio wrongful death statute specifies that only a person may file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person.  The person who files the lawsuit is known as the personal representative of the decedent.  The personal representative files the wrongful death claim in their own name.  If the claim is successful, the wrongful death settlement is split between the beneficiaries of the person who died.

Courts award damages to the survivors of the deceased based on varying theories of loss.

Theories of recovery include pecuniary loss.  The defendant must compensate the plaintiff for the money that the deceased would have provided if he or she had lived.  This includes income, pensions, retirement and even services such as taking care of children.

It is also possible to collect compensation for the loss of the deceased’s love, guidance and companionship for the many years they would have been expected to live.  This is especially important for children who have lost a parent.  Some states, including Ohio, allow wrongful death survivors to collect punitive damages as well.

There was a time when wrongful death statutes did not exist.  When a person died, the rights surrounding the cause of death died at the same time.  If an injured person filed suit and died before the case ended, the case was dismissed.   There was no legal right to recover for a loved one’s wrongful death until the early 1930s in Ohio.

A wrongful death claim involves many different Ohio laws.  The details of every wrongful death case are different.  If you believe that you have a wrongful death claim based on the loss of your loved one, contact Slater & Zurz LLP for a FREE CASE REVIEW and a free consultation with one of our experienced Ohio attorneys.

If you believe a family member died wrongfully in an incident at work, car accident or other action involving negligence, or default, get the guidance you need to proceed.  Ask the questions you need answered.  Call us at 1-888-353-0379 or visit our website at www.slaterzurz.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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