Families who suffer the loss of a loved one may seek financial justice if the death was caused by another person's behavior. A wrongful death action is the legal avenue for seeking compensation and damages. Plaintiffs, however, should be aware of some basic information about this legal cause of action.
These lawsuits require proof that the deceased person lost their life because of another person's negligence, recklessness or intentional actions and not by the victim's action or inaction. The victim's family must also demonstrate that they suffered measurable damage from that death.
There are many grounds for this action. These usually include a fatal car crash, medical malpractice, workplace accident or unlawful act associated with the commission of a crime.
Surviving spouses, children and parents are among the family members who can file these lawsuits.
They can seek medical and burial expenses, compensatory damages for the lost wages that the deceased family member would have earned during their normal life expectancy and damages for the surviving family members' pain and suffering resulting from their loved one's death. But, there must be proof of these damages and expenses.
In Ohio, these actions must be filed within two years from the family member's death or the discovery that the death was wrongful. Failure to meet this deadline can result in the permanent loss of their right to file a lawsuit.
Family members also need to open a probate estate because they will file the lawsuit on behalf of their deceased family member. Courts may also require that a guardian oversee the best interests of any children involved in the lawsuit.