Blog / Wrongful Death

What is the process for pursuing a wrongful death case in Ohio?

November 28, 2022 / Chip Cooper

There are few things more traumatic than losing a loved one unexpectedly, and losing them to a situation that may have been preventable can make it even more painful. 

Depending on the circumstances, if you’ve recently lost a loved one, you may be able to bring legal action against the party with legal liability. 

This can be a complex process, however, and your time is best spent healing and processing your grief, not wading through paperwork and court filings. That’s why we think it’s vital to contact an experienced Ohio wrongful death attorney like our team at Cooper Elliott to shoulder that burden for you.

We have decades of experience litigating the most challenging and complex wrongful death and personal injury cases, and we’re ready to put that experience to work for you.

What is considered Wrongful Death in Ohio?

In Ohio, wrongful death is the term for an individual killed as a direct result of another party’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default.” 

This means, generally, any situation where a personal injury case could have been filed by an individual if they had lived would qualify as grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

How do I pursue a Wrongful Death case in Ohio?

The first step to filing a successful wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio is to work with an attorney experienced in similar cases. 

In order to file a wrongful death claim in Ohio, you will need to open an estate with the Ohio probate court, which will then appoint someone to act as the estate administrator. 

Only that administrator can bring legal action on behalf of the estate.

How are Ohio Wrongful Death cases proven?

There are three elements of every successful wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio, and working with an attorney is frequently the best way to ensure your case is able to prove all three elements. 

To be a successful claim, your lawsuit must demonstrate:

  1. There was negligence or unreasonable action on the part of the defendant or the lack of reasonable action to prevent harm. This means that the defendant owed a “duty of care” to the person who died, and that the defendant “breached” that duty.
  1. The defendant’s negligence was the cause of the harm.This means the breach of the duty of care must be the cause, either in whole or in part, of your loved one’s death.  
  1. Your lawsuit must prove the damages claimed. This is also where you will need to prove your economic and non-economic damages or losses. (In a wrongful death claim, you can seek compensatory damages caused by the death that are either categorized as economic damages or non-economic damages. Non-economic damages – such as the loss of the relationship with your loved one, including the companionship, guidance, care, and comfort they provided – are often the most important and meaningful kinds of damages.)

What is the Statute of Limitations for filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Ohio?

One of the most crucial things to remember is that the state of Ohio only allows two years to file a wrongful death claim. 

This two-year statute of limitations begins on the day of your loved one’s death.

Working with Cooper Elliott is crucial to your case

If you have recently lost someone unexpectedly and believe you may have a valid wrongful death claim, reach out to the Cooper Elliott team today. You can discuss the details of your situation with a member of our legal team in a confidential environment and get the guidance and information you need. Our experience can take the burden of filing off of your shoulders, allowing you to process your grief at your own pace while we take care of the rest.

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