Blog / Wrongful Death

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Ohio

February 28, 2023 / Conversations Digital

It can be hard to think of filing a lawsuit after losing a loved one. Does it just pile on top of what is already a difficult time? 

At Cooper Elliott, we do whatever we can to lighten that burden. And in our clients’ experience, lawsuits can often provide answers and help bring some closure, as you strive to achieve justice for your loved one’s wrongful death

In Ohio, families of victims killed due to someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct can file a lawsuit to seek accountability and compensation for their losses. But it’s important to note that a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio can only be brought up to two years from the date of the victim’s death. If you’ve lost a loved one to a wrongful death and want to discuss filing a lawsuit, our wrongful death attorneys at Cooper Elliott have the experience and compassion to help you fight for the answers and accountability you and your family deserve.

What is considered wrongful death in Ohio?

In Ohio law, wrongful death is defined as a “wrongful act, neglect, or default.” 

  • A wrongful act is typically an intentional or overt act of violence against another, such as assault. 
  • Neglect, on the other hand, is the breaching of the duty of care that leads to fatal injury. This could include medical malpractice, hazing, faulty construction, or car accidents due to drunk driving, distracted driving, or road rage.

In order to win a wrongful death case, the suing party must be able to prove the act that led to the death was due to another party’s negligence.

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Ohio?

Certain types of cases in Ohio have time restrictions for filing that are known as statutes of limitations

Generally, the statute of limitations in Ohio for wrongful death is two years from the date of the decedent’s death

In some cases, there can be exceptions even after the two-year window has passed if someone did not know and could not have known that their loved one died due to negligence. This is called the discovery exception or rule. 

But these situations can depend on the unique facts of each case, so it’s best to talk with a lawyer about the specific details.

Who can file for wrongful death in Ohio?

In some states, a wrongful death claim must be brought by members of the deceased individual’s family, including their spouse, surviving children, parents, or other close family members. 

However, Ohio law requires an individual representing the deceased’s estate to file the lawsuit. 

This may be someone designated explicitly by the deceased in their will or, in some cases, an individual appointed by a probate court. 

In these types of claims, the personal representative can seek compensatory damages caused by the death designed to “compensate” for the losses the family has experienced.

Some wrongful death compensatory damages are economic damages. These economic damages can include:

  • Lost income the decedent would have made to support their family if they had lived
  • Lost benefits related to the individual’s employment (for example, pension or retirement funds)
  • The cost of services the decedent provided that are now lacking, such as childcare, housework, and home maintenance
  • Potential inheritance that the individual would have left had they continued to earn
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Other wrongful death compensatory damages are non-economic damages. These are often the most important and meaningful kinds of damages when a loved one has been lost. These non-economic damages can include:

  • Loss of companionship and love from the decedent
  • Loss of care and assistance from the decedent
  • Loss of advice, guidance, and counsel from the decedent
  • The anguish and mental impact of the premature death of a loved one on the members of the family

Call our attorneys at Cooper Elliott today

Our Ohio-based wrongful death attorneys have decades of experience handling complex cases. Our clients experience life-changing loss, so we work hard to ensure they receive the proper guidance and protection they need to get justice. Don’t hesitate to call us regarding your case.

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