A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought against either a person or entity thought to be responsible for the death of an individual. Every state has its own rules and statutes under which wrongful death claims can be filed, including time limits, types of damages one can claim, and who can claim them. In Ohio, only a person may serve as a personal representative of a deceased person’s estate. An entity, such as a corporation, cannot file such a claim.
The following family members are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Ohio:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased individual.
- The surviving children, including adopted children, of the deceased individual.
- The surviving parents of the deceased individual.
Siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members are not typically presumed to have suffered a loss and, therefore, are not usually able to file wrongful death lawsuits. If they are able to demonstrate to the court that they have suffered a compensable loss, however, it is possible that they can recover damages.
Surviving family members who are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit must also file their claim within a specific time frame. In the state of Ohio, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death, though there are a few exceptions. To understand if the statute of limitations applies to your claim, it is important to discuss the details of your case with an experienced attorney to avoid missing the window of time for filing.
In regards to damages, a wrongful death claim may include compensation for the following:
- Loss of support
- Loss of the services the deceased person provided, such as child care
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of prospective inheritance
- Mental anguish