Ohio state law places clear limits on who can file a wrongful death suit and when. It also explicitly defines what constitutes “wrongful death” from a legal standpoint. Here are definitions and limitations that surviving family members of the deceased should be aware of to ensure that they get the best possible outcome in the courts.
Eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit
In Ohio, only the legally defined “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death suit. In most cases, this is a surviving spouse, child or parent of the deceased. Before any settlement can be green-lighted, the probate court must appoint a “personal representative” to administer the funds.
What are common examples of wrongful death?
Motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice and accidental poisoning or overdose are some of the most common examples of wrongful death in Ohio. In addition, wrongful death claims can originate from injuries sustained on the job. This is particularly true of work performed in industrial settings, such as construction workers and firefighters exposed to asbestos or other harmful toxins.
What are the time constraints for filing a wrongful death suit in Ohio?
Ohio has a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death suits. This means that family members have a maximum of two years to file their claim; after that time period elapses, they no longer legally qualify for damages regardless of the merits of the case. After the two-year mark, the defendant reserves the right to request that the course dismiss the claim, which will likely be granted except under rare circumstances.
Under Ohio law, the legally deemed “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate is eligible to bring a wrongful death suit. If successful, they may receive compensation to help support the deceased’s surviving family.