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Time is finite, so every second that we have with our friends and family is priceless. As Ohio Wrongful Death lawyers, we know that there is no greater tragedy than a life cut short by someone’s carelessness or negligence. At Sawan & Sawan, our personal injury lawyers have combined decades of experience fighting tirelessly for families that have suffered preventable losses in Ohio . As a family of lawyers, these type of cases necessarily take on a personal dimension for us – which means that we fight every wrongful death case as if it happened to us. If a loved one have been involved in a wrongful death, call our family of personal injury lawyers today to set up a free, no risk consultation.
Wrongful Death Law in Ohio
In Ohio, wrongful death claims are governed by Ohio Revised Code Section 2125. Per this statute, whenever a death is “caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued… the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued… shall be liable to an action for damages.” In short, any time someone would have a personal claim if they were still alive, the remaining representatives may have a wrongful death claim. Ohio law specifically singles out liability for wrongful acts, neglect or default.” Typically, a “wrongful act” is an intentional act of violence or the like, whereas neglect is essentially carelessness.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit?
In a typical wrongful death cases, the primary damage involves the loss to the remaining family – in particular the surviving spouse, parents and children. While you may logically think these individuals should all have the right to bring suit, Ohio law requires that a personal representative be named. This process involved interfacing with the probate Court to open an estate and obtain the appropriate Court order to permit the personal representative to act. The personal representative is required by law to bring the suit for “the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, the children, and the parents of the decedent, all of whom are rebuttably presumed to have suffered damages by reason of the wrongful death, and for the exclusive benefit of the other next of kin of the decedent.
Damages Available in Ohio Wrongful Death Cases
Ohio law has a “rebuttable presumption” that any spouse, child or parent of a deceased individual suffered damage by reason of the wrongful death. This means that the law regards it as true unless the other side is capable of demonstrating alternative facts that negate this. One the amount of these damages are assessed and collected, these damages are paid out based on the will of the deceased or the default rules of intestate succession. In Ohio, damages in a wrongful death action take the form of factors such as:
- The loss of income and ability to financially support the deceased’s family; and
- The value of the child care and household services the deceased contributed; and
- Any reduction in prospective inheritances caused by the untimely death; and
- Loss of consortium, companionship, advice and presence; and
- Mental anguish suffered by the surviving family.
Ohio Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Every State has timelines in which you must bring a civil claim – such as a wrongful death suit – which is known as the Statute of Limitations. Failure to file a lawsuit within this timeframe often results in the inability to bring your case, so time if of the essence. In Ohio, the wrongful death time period if contained in Ohio Revised Code §2125.02. According to this statute, a civil action for wrongful death shall be commenced within two years after the decedent’s death. It’s important to remember that Ohio does have some exceptions to this timeframe, so if you have any question about this at all, it’s best to consult a wrongful death Attorney today to schedule a free consultation.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan
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