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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

A Victim's Guide: How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Ohio

When a loved one dies due to someone else's actions, family members face not only deep emotional pain but also complex legal challenges.


This situation is known as a wrongful death, and in Ohio, specific laws guide how to file a lawsuit for such cases. Dealing with the legal framework of wrongful death lawsuits requires a clear understanding of the Ohio wrongful death law.


Understanding these laws is crucial for a successful wrongful death claim, offering a path to compensation for those left behind.


What Is Wrongful Death in Ohio?

What Is Wrongful Death in Ohio?


In Ohio, wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to another's unlawful act, neglect, or fault. The law (Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.01) allows surviving family members or a personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit helps them recover damages for funeral costs, lost income, and emotional distress.


A wrongful act can range from a car accident due to negligent driving to failing to provide safe conditions at work. If someone wants to claim wrongful death, the situation must be such that if the deceased had lived, they could have sued for personal injuries themselves.


Who Can Start a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?


Specific rules determine who can start a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio. Understanding these roles is crucial for those affected by a loved one's death due to negligence or a wrongful act. For more information, a Toledo wrongful death law firm may be able to help.


Personal Representative

The personal representative of the deceased's estate must file a wrongful death lawsuit. This person is either named in the will or appointed by a probate court if there is no will.


Moreover, the personal representative acts on behalf of the deceased's estate and the surviving family relatives to recover damages. Their responsibilities include gathering and presenting evidence, filing the claim, and representing the interests of the estate in court.


The Role of Family Members

While the personal representative files the lawsuit, the actual beneficiaries of any awarded compensation are the surviving family members.


These typically include the surviving spouse, children, and sometimes other relatives based on their dependency on the deceased. Relatives can contribute by providing the necessary information and documentation to support the case.


They rely on the personal representative to manage the legal process and ensure that the rightful compensation for funeral costs, lost income, and emotional suffering is pursued under Ohio law.


How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Ohio


Filing an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit involves several critical steps to ensure the case is valid and timely.

Ohio law requires wrongful death lawsuits to be filed within two years from the date of death. This time frame, known as the statute of limitations, is crucial as it dictates the urgency with which the personal representative of the dead's estate must act.


Delaying beyond this period can result in the loss of the right to file the lawsuit and recover compensation for funeral and burial costs, lost income, and emotional damages suffered by family members.


Gathering Necessary Documentation and Evidence

Substantial evidence and documentation are needed for the representative to support an Ohio wrongful death claim. This includes medical reports, death certificates, and proof of financial loss.


Evidence of the wrongful act, such as accident reports or witness statements, is also crucial. Such documentation will help demonstrate the link between wrongful action and death, a key element in establishing liability in these cases.


Filing the Lawsuit

The process begins with the preparation of a detailed complaint outlining the circumstances of the wrongful death, the parties involved, and the compensation being sought.


Furthermore, the personal representative, guided by experienced wrongful death attorneys, must file this complaint in the appropriate probate court.


This legal action officially starts the lawsuit and sets the course for legal proceedings that may involve negotiations for settlements or, if necessary, a court trial to resolve the claim.


Possible Damages and Compensation


In wrongful death cases, various types of damages can be claimed to compensate the family for their loss. Essentially, the damages awarded can be broadly categorized into economic and non-economic types, each addressing different aspects of loss.


Economic Damages

These include tangible costs such as funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned if they had lived, and medical bills related to the final illness or injury.


Economic damages are typically simple to calculate based on receipts and the deceased's earnings history.


Non-economic Damages

On the other hand, non-economic damages are more subjective and cover the emotional and psychological impacts of the loss. They include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, guidance, and care provided by the deceased. 


Calculating non-economic damages is more complicated as it involves assessing the impact on the quality of life for remaining family members.


Calculation of Damages

Damages in a wrongful death suit are calculated based on several factors:


  • Economic impact: This involves the total financial contribution the deceased would have made to their family over the course of their expected lifetime. Actuaries or other financial experts often provide testimony on these figures.

  • Relationship to the deceased: The nature of the relationship between the claimants and the dead influences compensation, particularly for non-economic damages. A surviving spouse, children, or dependent family members typically receive higher compensation for emotional losses.

  • Circumstances of the death: Lastly, the details of how the wrongful death occurred, such as whether it involved medical malpractice or a clear wrongful act, can affect the amount of damages awarded, especially if the conduct was egregious.


Each wrongful death claim is unique, and the specific circumstances dictate the final compensation. An Ohio wrongful death attorney plays a crucial role in helping family members understand these elements and achieve a fair settlement. They also have insight on how to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in Ohio.


Is an Ohio Wrongful Death Lawyer Important?

Is an Ohio Wrongful Death Lawyer Important?


Wrongful death cases are complex and require proving specific legal criteria to establish fault and secure compensation. These challenges often necessitate skilled legal assistance to navigate the intricacies of Ohio wrongful death claims effectively.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys brings deep expertise and dedicated support to these sensitive cases, ensuring that every step is handled with precision, from filing the wrongful death suit to final judgment. They're also able to explain how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Ohio.


Our experienced Ohio wrongful death attorneys are committed to securing justice for family members affected by a wrongful death.


At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we honor our motto, 'We go to war for you,' ensuring we do everything to enhance our client's chances of a successful wrongful death action.


Wrapping Up


Handling a wrongful death case requires skilled legal expertise due to the complexity of these claims. Professional guidance is crucial in securing the justice and compensation that family members deserve.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys stands ready to provide comprehensive support and representation in these sensitive matters.


Our team of dedicated Ohio wrongful death lawyers is equipped to handle every aspect of a client's case with care and professionalism.


For a free consultation, family members are encouraged to contact us. At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we support the rights of our clients and fight for them tirelessly.

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