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Who can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio?

People often take for granted that they can comfortably spend years, if not decades, with their loved ones. The tragic reality is that not everyone lives to their full life expectancy. Some people die prematurely and leave their families struggling for closure.

Sometimes, people die decades early from illness or a mistake on the part of the deceased. Other times, their passing is obviously the fault of another party. If a business or another person is potentially at fault for someone’s death, those left behind after a tragedy may want to hold that outside party legally and financially accountable for the incident.

Ohio law does authorize wrongful death lawsuits in cases where omissions, negligence or misconduct are to blame for someone’s death. Who has the authority to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio?

Only one person can seek compensation

Family members, employers and close friends of the deceased may struggle after someone dies suddenly, but not everyone has the theoretical right to compensation after losing a loved one. The party to blame for the incident shouldn’t face multiple lawsuits but only one brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.

Either the Ohio probate courts or someone’s estate plan designate a specific person to carry out someone’s last wishes and fulfill their obligations after their death. That person is also the party with the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a tragedy.

They can file a lawsuit to seek compensation on behalf of surviving family members for the economic losses related to the tragedy. They may not necessarily benefit from that lawsuit, as the proceeds usually go toward the closest family members of the deceased party.

Spouses, parents and children can receive some of the proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits can provide families with financial support to offset the hardship caused by someone’s premature death. They can also generate consequences for the party at fault for a tragedy.

Learning more about Ohio’s approach to wrongful death lawsuits may benefit those adjusting to a recent loss. Those who take timely action may be more likely to feel as though they have secured closure in the wake of a family tragedy.