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Understanding Ohio’s wrongful death laws

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult event an Ohio family can face. If the loved one died because of the wrongful act or negligence of someone, the loss is even harder to take. Oftentimes one or more of the family members file a wrongful death action against the people they believe caused the death.

As FindLaw explains, a wrongful death action can result from any number of situations, including the following:

  • Vehicular accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products
  • Occupational accidents or exposure to hazardous substances and/or conditions
  • Fires in houses or buildings

Who may bring a wrongful death action

In Ohio, people who are presumed to have suffered a direct loss because of their loved one’s wrongful death have standing to bring a wrongful death action. Such people include the surviving spouse, surviving biological and adopted children, and surviving parents. The suit must be brought within two years of the date of death.

The Ohio Bar Association states that a wrongful death lawsuit is analogous to a personal injury suit. The plaintiff(s) must prove that someone’s fault caused the decedent’s death.

Possible wrongful death damages

A wrongful death action is a civil suit wherein the plaintiffs seek monetary damages for their losses. Such damages may include the following:

  • Loss of the support and services the decedent would have been expected to provide
  • Loss of the companionship, protection, advice, assistance, guidance and educational benefits the decedent would have been expected to provide
  • Emotional pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death and/or of the family after the death
  • Loss of future inheritance from the deceased

Obviously, winning a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring the loved one back. The monetary damages can, however, help the family recover from their economic losses occasioned by the death. In addition, it also can give them a sense of closure and justice.

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