Wrongful Death in Ohio

A wrongful death claim is a civil action in which a plaintiff claims that a person’s death was caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another individual or entity. These cases are subject to state statutes regarding who can bring the claim, when, and what types of compensation are available.

Examples of Wrongful Death Claims

A negligent or intentional act leading to a person’s death can be the subject of a wrongful death claim. These include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Motor Vehicle accident
  • Defective drug or product
  • Dog or animal attack
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Intentional act such as homicide

There are time limits upon when such an action can be brought and, as such, persons should act promptly to determine their legal rights.


In Ohio, a personal representative of the decedent can only bring the wrongful death claim. The person is usually the executor named in the decedent’s will or can be a person who is appointed by the probate court to administer the decedent’s estate.

Those entitled to damages include the surviving spouse and any children of the decedent. Parents and other next of kin with a relationship to the decedent may beneficiaries as well. A court will generally decide how proceeds from a wrongful dealth claim are distributed among beneficiaries of an estate.


The following damages are available in wrongful death claims in Ohio:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Hospital and medical expenses, if applicable
  • Loss of support from the reasonably expected working life earning capacity of the decedent
  • Loss of services from the decedent (value of childcare, household tasks)
  • Loss of companionship, care, consortium, training, education, assistance and guidance suffered by surviving spouse, children, parents or next of kin of decedent
  • Mental anguish suffered by surviving heirs
  • Loss of prospective inheritance

Wrongful death claims can be complicated and complex issues depending on the nature of the claim and the status of the party being sued. An experienced wrongful death attorney in Ohio should be consulted in these types of claims.


This blog is written and published by Laufman & Napolitano, LLC