After losing a loved one, it may be intimidating to go through the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio. While nothing can bring your loved one back, a wrongful death claim helps provide the compensation your family needs to recover.
Here are the basic things you need to know about filing a wrongful death claim in Ohio and how Bensinger Law can help.
What Is Wrongful Death?
The state of Ohio defines wrongful death as any death caused by the negligence of another person.
Generally, wrongful death lawsuits occur when the deceased person dies before being able to file their own personal injury lawsuit. In the case of wrongful death lawsuits, another party files the claim on behalf of the deceased.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Ohio?
According to Ohio Revised Code § 2125.01, the personal representative of the deceased must file a wrongful death suit. While this may be a spouse, child, or parent, it could also be a lawyer, a financial advisor, or the executor of the estate.
Ultimately, it depends on whether the deceased assigned an executor before their death. If they do not appoint an executor, the probate court appoints a third-party representative to oversee the lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ohio
Currently, the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Ohio is two years from the date of death. This means that the representative must file a claim before the deadline. If the representative doesn’t file the claim within the time limit, the court may refuse to hear the case.
There are some rare instances where the statute of limitations may change. For example, injuries caused by a government employee or entity require a separate filing with the agency responsible.
Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
In wrongful death cases, the deceased’s survivors may seek damages from those responsible. While it’s impossible to assign a value to human life, the law enables families to seek damages for a variety of economic and non-economic losses.
The court usually awards these damages to the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. However, there are certain circumstances where other family members may recover damages.
Economic damages are any calculable losses sustained by the surviving family members of the deceased. In other words, these losses must be tangible and have a standard cost. This includes things like medical bills for treatment before death, funeral expenses, loss of future income, to name a few.
Non-economic damages are any losses that can’t be calculated with traditional methods. In essence, non-economic damages refer to the intangible, subjective losses incurred by the family after a loved one’s death. This includes:
- Loss of support and guidance,
- Loss of companionship,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Mental anguish.
There are a few different ways an attorney may calculate non-economic damages. However, many use the multiplier method, which multiplies the total economic damages by a whole number.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
The amount of time it takes to complete your wrongful death lawsuit depends on many factors. Usually, settling a case takes less time than going to trial.
However, the best way to know the length of your case is to speak with an experienced Ohio wrongful death attorney. They can give you an estimate based on the specific circumstances of your case.
How Does the Court Distribute Compensation?
Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio? Whether the representative of the deceased settles or wins a judgment, the distribution method is the same. At the end of the proceedings, the court may reimburse the person who paid the funeral expenses or award those funds to the representative to pay for the services.
Afterward, the representative distributes the compensation based on the shares set by the court for each beneficiary. The share percentage differs from case to case. In some instances, the court may award an equal percentage to each beneficiary.
However, if the recipients want to determine the distribution for each person, the court allows this as well.
Need Help with Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ohio?
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another is difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Attorney Aaron Bensinger knows how devastating the loss of life is for families.
He will manage your case from start to finish and pursue the justice your family deserves. To schedule a free consultation, contact Bensinger Law today at 419-455-1410. Aaron is proud to serve clients throughout Ohio from his practice in Lima.