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Ohio Wrongful Death Laws

Losing someone is one of the most emotionally painful events you can experience. It is particularly painful if your loved one died through the suspected negligence or other wrongful act of another person or entity. If you find yourself in this situation, you likely have many questions on how to proceed. Below you will find key information about Ohio wrongful death laws including a definition of the tort, the time limit for filing your claim, and where to go for more legal information.

Wrongful Death Definition

Every state has their own statute regarding wrongful death and what a plaintiff must prove in order to be successful in their lawsuit. Ohio’s definition is similar to other states. An Ohio wrongful death claim typically is brought by a family member as a representative of their family for injury damages they have suffered because their loved one died. The key is that the loved one died as a result of someone else’s wrongful action, neglect, or default. In essence it is an injury claim being brought by the surviving family of the deceased to recover damages for the untimely death of their family member.

Sometimes these claims arise when another person intentionally killed the family member. A wrongful death action is separate and apart from any criminal action the district attorney may take against the alleged killer. A famous example of a wrongful death suit involved former football star O.J. Simpson. Simpson was accused of killing two victims, one of them his wife, but was found "not guilty" at trial. However, the family of the deceased brought a wrongful death lawsuit and was able to win damages at trial. While it didn’t bring their loved ones back to life, it did allow for monetary damages for their pain and suffering.

Types of Wrongful Death Actions in Ohio

There are a number of different types of wrongful death claims that can be brought by a personal representative of the family members in Ohio. These include accidents related to:

Ohio Wrongful Death Laws: The Basics

Below you will find relevant details about Ohio wrongful death laws.


Who May Bring a Lawsuit

The law presumes the following individuals have suffered a direct loss as a result of their loved ones wrongful death and standing to bring suit:

  • Spouse of the deceased person;
  • Children, including adopted children; and
  • Surviving parents.

Note: Other family members may be able to bring a wrongful death claim, but they are not presumed to have suffered a direct loss and will likely need to prove this element to the court.

Possible Damages Available

  • Emotional pain and suffering of the deceased’s family
  • Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the deceased
  • Loss of services of the deceased
  • Loss of companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education
  • Loss of any future inheritance from the deceased

Statute of Limitations

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Ohio Wrongful Death Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help to Better Understand Ohio Wrongful Death Laws

Losing a loved one can be a devastating experience to go through. It can be even more heartbreaking if your loved one lost their life as a result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing. If you believe you have a wrongful death claim in Ohio, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away to learn more about your rights and how to seek compensation for your loss.

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