Accidental death is a common cause of fatalities in Ohio. People die in household accidents, incidents on the job and also car crashes. All are examples of accidental death. However, just because a death is accidental doesn’t mean it was unavoidable or that no one is responsible.
When someone causes the death of another person through their actions or by default or neglect, the situation may be a case of wrongful death. In a wrongful death scenario, the representative of the decedent’s estate brings a claim against the person or entity responsible for their loss of life. The family relationships of the deceased will dictate whether such an action is possible or not.
Only immediate family can benefit from wrongful death claims
Ohio has relatively restrictive rules regarding the filing of wrongful death claims. Family members usually can’t file on their own behalf when they suffer losses due to the death of a loved one. Instead, someone representing the estate of their deceased loved one has to initiate litigation.
If the lawsuit proves successful, the compensation awarded will then go to the family members of the deceased. Spouses, children and parents are technically the only ones with the statutory right to receive compensation through a wrongful death claim in Ohio.
If someone has no surviving parents, did not marry and does not have children, their closest loved ones or romantic partners will likely not be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Additionally, parents who had abandoned their children cannot bring a claim after that child dies. Otherwise, immediate family members dealing with the emotional and economic fallout of a sudden loss can sometimes file a wrongful death claim to seek both justice and compensation.