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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Ohio | Justice Delayed, Justice Denied!

Wrongful death cases are more common than one can imagine. They're filed every day throughout the country, including Ohio, and are a legal remedy to compensate the grieving family members for their loss. Such claims or lawsuits may involve medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, or product liability.


Navigating Ohio wrongful death claims can be challenging. It's crucial for the surviving family members to work with an experienced legal team. The Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have extensive experience successfully handling these types of cases, and they have recovered more than $1 billion for their clients.


Those who have lost a loved one in Toledo, Ohio, should reach out to the Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, as they can help them get the justice and compensation they deserve. They can also provide insight to how wrongful death settlements are paid out Ohio.


How a Wrongful Death Claim Works in Ohio

How a Wrongful Death Claim Works in Ohio


Under personal injury law, when an individual dies due to the negligence of another person, the surviving family members may be able to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the negligent party or their insurance company.


However, not everyone has the right to financial recovery in a wrongful death claim. Unlike most states, Ohio does not allow the deceased's family members to bring a civil action to recover compensatory damages.


The Ohio law allows only the decedent's estate's personal representative to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit or a claim in the state. They're the only person who can bring a civil action to obtain compensation for the losses suffered.


In most cases involving a will, the decedent may have mentioned in the legal document the name of the individual who can act as the estate's personal representation.


However, if the deceased dies without nominating a personal representative, the probate court will appoint one who can act on behalf of the decedent.


If the estate's personal representative is able to fight the wrongful death lawsuit successfully, the surviving family members may receive the settlement or award. These typically include the spouse, children, and parents.


It's important to note that the personal representative of the decedent's estate does not have to be related to the deceased.


What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Ohio?


When someone dies, it's essential to understand that every state has a time limit, often referred to as the statute of limitations, in which the eligible parties may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.


Failure to take legal action within the time frame mentioned under the law can bar the eligible parties from filing a wrongful death lawsuit or a claim to recover damages.


Under Ohio wrongful death law (Revised Code 2125.02 ORC), the statute of limitations for the victim's personal representative is two years, starting from the date of the decedent's death. 


It is crucial to act quickly and reach out to skilled wrongful death attorneys to determine how much time the affected party has left to pursue legal action.


Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims Involving a Defective Product

In wrongful death cases involving defective products, the victim's personal representative has two years to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent manufacturer. The clock does not start ticking until it is reasonably known that the decedent's death occurred due to the faulty product.


However, it's important to note that the personal representative of the decedent's estate must file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim within 10 years, starting from the date of sale of the faulty product. This means that the affected parties cannot bring a civil action if it has been more than 10 years since the defective item was first sold.


Gathering evidence and filing a wrongful death claim against a negligent manufacturer can be difficult. The victim's personal representative needs to work with an experienced attorney to help review the facts surrounding the case, provide guidance, and navigate the legal process.


Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims Involving a Government Agency

According to ORS § 2743.16, the affected parties can bring a wrongful death claim against a government entity within two years if they caused the death of their loved one.


The statute of limitations extends to "political subdivision," which may include municipal corporations, townships, and other bodies that are working on behalf of the government at the local level in Ohio.


Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims Involving Medical Malpractice

Under Ohio law (ORC § 2152.02(D)), the decedent's personal representative has two years to bring legal action for wrongful death against a medical provider, starting from the date of the deceased's death.


Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Ohio?


Generally, there are strict guidelines mentioned in the statute of limitations that the surviving spouse, children, or parents must follow if they wish to pursue a wrongful death case. However, there are also some exceptions under the law.


The Ohio law can extend or put a hold on the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in the following circumstances:


Minors

Suppose the decedent left behind minors, and one of them is the personal representative of the deceased's estate. In that case, the statute of limitations does not begin until the child reaches the legal age of 18. 


Legally Insane Plaintiff

After the passing of a loved one, the personal representative of the decedent's estate has the right to pursue an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit or claim against the negligent party. 


If that individual does not have the mental capacity to make legal decisions or is legally incompetent, the statute of limitations does not begin until they regain their competency or sanity.


Discovery Rule

In some wrongful death cases, it can be challenging to determine the cause of the death and the parties responsible for it. The Ohio law may extend the statute of limitations in such situations.


Suppose the cause of death or the responsible party was not reasonably known at the time of the decedent's death. In that case, the statute of limitations may not begin until it becomes known or reasonably discoverable.


What Type of Wrongful Death Damages Can the Affected Parties Recover in Ohio?


The Ohio wrongful death law assumes that there are individuals who have suffered injuries from the decedent's death, which is why the personal representative of the decedent's estate can seek damages for the surviving spouse, parents, and children.


Other family members, such as siblings, grandparents, and cousins, do not have the right to financial recovery unless they can prove that they've suffered great harm from the decedent's death.


There are several types of damages that the affected parties can recover in a wrongful death case, some of which include the following:


  • Funeral costs and burial expenses

  • Medical expenses prior to the death of the deceased

  • Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity

  • Mental anguish

  • Loss of companionship

  • Loss of consortium


Before the affected parties can recover compensation, the personal representative of the decedent's estate must prove that the defendant's negligence resulted in the death of the deceased.


An experienced wrongful death attorney can help investigate the case, gather evidence of the wrongful act, and hold the negligent party responsible for the damages caused.


How Can an Ohio Wrongful Death Attorney Help?

How Can an Ohio Wrongful Death Attorney Help?


The skilled wrongful death lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help the affected parties in Toledo, Ohio, in many ways, including the following:


Build a Strong Wrongful Death Case

Depending on the facts surrounding the case, an experienced wrongful death lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys may recommend pursuing a claim before filing a lawsuit.


Wrongful death lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming, and it may be better for the affected party to file a claim. 


To build a claim, the Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will investigate the incident, gather enough evidence to make a strong trial-ready case, and ensure that the negligent party pays for their wrongful act.


Negotiate a Fair Settlement

When experienced lawyers like Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys bring a wrongful death action against the negligent party, they aggressively pursue the negligent party's insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement.


Most wrongful death claims are settled outside of court. However, the defendant may not budge in some cases and refuse to negotiate a fair settlement. When that happens, the Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are not afraid to go to trial.


File the Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When the defendant fails to negotiate a fair settlement, it may be necessary for the affected party to pursue a lawsuit and let the jury decide on the verdict.


The legal process for wrongful death lawsuits is much different than filing claims. Any mistakes or failure to adhere to the guidelines can result in the dismissal of the case.


At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, the wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience filing these types of suits, and they can ensure compliance with the law to help expedite the entire legal process.


Head to Trial

After filing the wrongful death suit, the case is set for hearing at the trial. The Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys know the pitfalls of court hearings and can prepare accordingly. If required, they have the resources and connections to introduce expert witnesses to increase their client's chances of victory. They assist with questions such as Are wrongful death settlements tax deductible in Ohio?


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Can Help the Affected Party Pursue a Wrongful Death Suit!


Whether it's medical malpractice or a motor vehicle accident, wrongful death can have a devastating impact on the surviving family members. Although taking legal action may not bring back a loved one, it can bring some closure to the affected parties and ensure justice by holding the negligent party accountable.


Those who have lost a loved one in Toledo, Ohio, should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can help assess the case and guide the affected party on their legal option.

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