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Who can file a wrongful death claim in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is devastating, but the pain can intensify if it happens due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, such as medical malpractice, an automobile accident, criminal behavior or an occupational accident (exposure to asbestos or other hazardous substances).  

Even though family members and friends have to accept the loss, they can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages suffered.

But who can file such a claim in Ohio? This guide discusses the matter:

The personal representative 

The personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim for the exclusive benefit of the surviving parents, spouse and children. However, a judge should presume they have suffered damages due to the death.  

A wrongful death claim can be settled outside court or by a jury verdict – most people take the former route. Regardless of the option chosen, all claims are presented to the probate court for review, consideration and approval. 

What damages can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit?

When a personal representative files a wrongful death claim, the court will consider pecuniary injuries. Pecuniary losses are economic. Examples include the loss of support, services, possible inheritance and medical and funeral expenses.

Family members should work with financial advisors to determine the decedent’s value. Solid evidence is needed for the jury to determine the appropriate award. 

Further, although rare, punitive damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim. This damage is not to compensate loved ones but to punish the defendant, deterring them and others from the wrongful act.

If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s carelessness, it will be best to get legal help to protect their rights.