When a loved one passes away, it leaves a lasting impact on the loved ones left behind. In Ohio, if the death was caused by the negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct of another party, the family may be able to pursue a wrongful death action.
Wrongful death actions provide compensation to surviving family members, not only for the loss of their loved one but also to hold the person who caused their death accountable.
Filing a wrongful death action
In Ohio, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the wrongful death action. This person may appointed by the court, especially if the deceased person did not have a will. The court may appoint the deceased person’s spouse, adult child, or parents.
The personal representative acts in the best interest of the estate and the surviving family members, who are entitled to recover damages.
The family members may be entitled to economic damages including loss of financial support, which is based on the deceased person’s income and other financial contributions they would have made to the family, and loss of services, such as the value of household contributions, like childcare.
Non-economic damages may include loss of companionship, mental and emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
It’s important that the personal representative files the wrongful death claim timely to avoid losing the right to pursue the action for damages. There may be some limited exceptions, but, generally, the claim must be filed within two years of the person’s death.