Filing a wrongful death lawsuit

The sudden passing of a loved one is always upsetting. However, it can be even more difficult if the death was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party, such as in a motor vehicle crash. Ohio is one of many states that has a statute that permits the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against the perpetrator by the surviving family members.

Chapter 2125 of the Ohio Revised Code sets forth the parameters of the filing of such an action. It includes the party who can bring it and the potential damages, among other matters. Generally, the plaintiff filing the lawsuit has to be the personal representative of the decedent. If the victim had a valid will, that would be the executor named by the testator. The action is brought for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse, children and parents. If there are none of these surviving loved ones, then it will be for the benefit of the decedent’s closest next of kin. All of those parties possess a rebuttable presumption that they have suffered harm.

Potential damages from a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Ohio include the loss of the expected contribution to household finances that the decedent would have made, reasonable funeral and burial expenses, the loss of companionship and consortium, mental anguish and any health care expenses incurred between the time of the incident and the death of the victim.

An unexpected death caused by another party’s negligence can occur in many ways other than a car crash. The victim could have succumbed due to a hazardous condition on another person’s property or by the use of a defective product. Family members who find themselves in this position might want to discuss their situation with an attorney who has experience with wrongful death legal action.