What Is The Process For An Ohio Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
After a loved one is fatally injured in an accident or because of another party’s wrongdoing, it can be difficult to consider the possibility of moving forward with a lawsuit. Our Columbus wrongful death attorneys know how devastating it can be to lose a loved one and to consider focusing on anything but the grieving process. Yet we also know how critical it can be, for multiple reasons, to file a wrongful death claim. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving family members can obtain compensation to cover the costs of their loved one’s funeral, as well as any remaining medical costs incurred between the time of the injury and the time of death. In addition, a wrongful death case can allow you to hold the party responsible for your loved one’s death.
What is the process for an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit? While each case will have its own facts and circumstances, the following is the general process of a wrongful death claim in Ohio.
Determine Whether You Have a Claim Under Ohio Law
First, you will need to work with an attorney to determine whether you have a likely wrongful death claim under Ohio law. According to Ohio law, a plaintiff can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit following a death that “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.” In other words, if the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived, then a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate.
Identify the Party Who Will Need to File the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under Ohio law, the only party who can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the personal representative of the deceased. This is another term that refers to the executor of the deceased’s estate. If you are not the executor of the deceased’s estate, then you will need to determine who the named executor is in order to move forward with a lawsuit. If you are the executor of the estate, you can be eligible to file. In the event that the deceased died intestate (i.e., without a will) such that no executor was named, the court will appoint a person to serve as the personal representative.
File the Wrongful Death Lawsuit and Seek Damages
Next, the personal representative of the deceased will need to file the wrongful death lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. In the lawsuit, the personal representative will seek damages on behalf of the deceased’s surviving family members.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, discovery will occur. Discovery is the stage of the process in which both sides will seek information to support their side of the case. Discovery involves depositions (which is sworn out-of-court testimony), and requests for documents.
Move Onto Trial
The case will move onto trial. At any point during discovery, as well as during the trial phase, the parties can settle. Otherwise, the judge or jury will ultimately decide whether the personal representative will win the case and what type of damages will be awarded.
Contact a Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have any questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit or need help with your case, you should get in touch with a Columbus wrongful death lawyer at the law firm of Brian G. Miller CO., L.P.A. who can assist you.