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Wrongful Death And Survival Claims In Ohio: What Is The Difference?


The loss of a loved one is devastating under any circumstances, and even more so when someone you love dies as a result of another party’s negligent behavior or wrongful act. After a death caused by an intentional act of violence or negligent behavior, the surviving family members of the deceased may be eligible to obtain pursue claims against the at-fault party through a wrongful death claim and/or survival claim.

When discussions arise concerning wrongful death claims, language referring to a “survival action” might also come up. What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action in Ohio?

The main difference includes the types of losses that may be pursued and who may pursue them. For instance, in a wrongful death claim, a family member would be entitled to pursue claims related to the loss of their loved one whereas damages in a survival action may be limited to those that the deceased person would have been able to receive had they not passed.  However, our Columbus wrongful death lawyers can provide you with more information in determining what claims and losses you or a loved one may pursue related to a fatal incident.

Understanding Wrongful Death Law in Ohio 

In order to understand the difference between a wrongful death and survival action, it is essential to learn first how wrongful death cases work in Ohio.

Under Ohio wrongful death law, when a person dies as a result of the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party, the personal representative of the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. In wrongful death claims, the law recognizes that, had the deceased survived, the deceased would have been eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. However, since the deceased died from his or her injuries, the deceased no longer has the ability to file a lawsuit. Instead, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can do so.

In a wrongful death case, the personal representative must file the lawsuit within two years from the date of the deceased’s death.

How Survival Actions Can Be Connected to Wrongful Death Claims 

A survival claim is appropriate in circumstances where the deceased survived for a period of time before dying from his or her injuries. For example, if a person sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle crash and remained in the hospital on life support for several weeks or months prior to passing away, a survival action would allow the personal representative of the deceased to seek damages for the medical bills incurred by the deceased during the period in the hospital, the wages the deceased lost between the date of the accident and his or her death, and the deceased’s pain and suffering during that period.

Differently, in a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative of the decedent seeks damages for the losses that result from the death, including lost future wages, funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering of the surviving family members.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Columbus 

Do you have questions about wrongful death and survival claims? One of our Columbus wrongful death attorneys can speak with you today. Contact Brian G. Miller CO, L.P.A. for more information.

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