Question

Which Family Members Can Pursue A Wrongful Death Claim In Ohio?

John P. O'Neil

Answered by:
John P. O'Neil

Located in Mayfield Heights, OH
Elk & Elk Co., Ltd.

John P. O'Neil - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: John P. O'Neil

Elk & Elk Co., Ltd.
Mayfield Heights, OH

Fax: 440-442-7944

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Answer

The loss of a loved one can be difficult from an emotional, financial and legal standpoint. Surviving family members may struggle financially after the main income earner dies. Family members may not know what steps to take with their insurance company to ensure that the accident-related expenses are covered. 

After a loss, family members may be interested in pursuing a wrongful death claim to cover expenses such as hospital bills, lost wages and funeral expenses. 

But they may have questions about who, exactly, can pursue a wrongful death claim — and how the process works. 

In Ohio, the following family members can pursue a wrongful death claim: 

  • The deceased’s spouse
  • The deceased’s parents
  • The deceased’s children 

The parents of a deceased child may not seek damages if the parents abandoned the child. 

Other relatives of the deceased, such as grandparents or siblings, may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim if they can demonstrate that they suffered a compensable loss.

Multiple parties may seek damages through a wrongful death claim, in cases where there is a surviving spouse, child/children, and/or parent/s. The amount awarded to the beneficiaries depends on the consanguinity, or closeness, between the deceased and the surviving relative. For example, if the deceased had two children, the damages would be awarded equally among those two individuals because they have equal affiliation to the parent. 

Determining Loss 

Damages may be available for the following losses: 

  • Loss of income
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of companionship, consortium, advice, guidance, etc.
  • Loss of prospective inheritance
  • Mental anguish 

The surviving family members of victims of all types of accidents may consider filing a wrongful death claim. Some of those accidents may include: 

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Dangerous product accidents
  • Dangerous property accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth injuries 

In most cases, family members have a period of two years from the date of the death to pursue a wrongful death claim. However, it is advisable to act early, if possible. These cases can be complex and time-consuming. Survivors may wish to seek the counsel of an attorney soon after losing a family member. 

Exploring All Legal Options Following An Accident 

Losing a loved one in an accident is devastating to family members left behind — and the financial losses are tangible. 

If you have lost a loved one in an accident and wish to learn about your legal options, it is advisable to speak to a wrongful death attorney.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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