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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP | Dec 19, 2016

Ohio's Wrongful Death Statute: The Basics

Categories: Wrongful Death

wrongful deathWrongful death litigation is a recourse for individuals who have lost loved ones through the fault of another. The laws that define wrongful death and determine its application are detailed in Chapter 2125 of the Ohio Revised Code.

As defined by Ohio state law, wrongful death occurs as a result of a wrongful act, such as negligence, which the decedent would have been able to recover damages for were it not for the consequential death. The death may be caused by an individual, corporation, state or foreign country.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Only certain individuals may file a wrongful death suit. The surviving spouse, children, and the parents of the decedent – all of whom are presumed to have suffered due to their loss – may all be beneficiaries of awarded damages. However, if a parent abandons a minor who later dies a wrongful death, the parent will not be a beneficiary of any awarded damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. If a child is conceived when the decedent was alive and born after the death, that person is also a beneficiary of a civil action brought to court.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Ohio

There is a timeframe, called the statute of limitations, during which one may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the state of Ohio, the statute is two years beginning on the day of the decedent’s death. There are some exceptions to this. With product liability cases, for example, the statute is still two years, but with the Discovery Rule, it may be extended up to ten years from the date it was discovered (or should have reasonably been discovered) that the product caused the decedent’s death.

Damages & Financial Compensation

Those who have gone through the life-altering event of losing a loved one may be entitled to receive substantial monetary compensation aimed to alleviate damages suffered such as:

  • Loss of financial support from the decedent.
  • Loss of the decedent’s company, such as companionship, consortium, care, advice, protection, training, education.
  • Mental anguish suffered by the aforementioned next of kin.
  • Loss of services of the decedent.

Ohio’s wrongful death statute is important because it allows people to hold wrongdoers accountable for irresponsible, reckless, negligent, or dangerously careless actions. When corporations, businesses, and other entities cut corners, people die or endure terrible injuries, and lives are often forever altered. Those who suffer the consequences, such as the loss of a loved one, have the ability to pursue justice and restitution through wrongful death litigation.