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Wrongful Death Laws and Statute of Limitations in Ohio

Ohio law allows for a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed if negligent behavior or an omission caused the death of a person. 

Criminal Vs. Civic Action

A wrongful death lawsuit is classified as a civil action, not a criminal one. If it were a criminal case the defendant could face jail time, fines, and other penalties. In a civil action lawsuit, the defendant, or more likely his or her insurer, must pay damages to the plaintiffs, which are often family members who survive the deceased. 

In some cases, the at-fault party may be tried in a criminal case. Whether or not this happens, the family of the deceased can still file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages. 

The best course of action may depend on the level of evidence available. In a criminal case, there must be enough evidence to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” to have a guilty verdict. In a civil case, the standards are a bit lower and simply need to prove that it is “more than likely” the actions of the defendant caused the death. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a standard personal injury lawsuit, only the injured party or a parent when the injured person is a minor can file. Of course, in the case of wrongful death that isn’t an option. According to Ohio law, a personal representative of the estate can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased. This is usually a surviving spouse, parent, or child of the deceased. Whoever it may be, the representative must be appointed by a probate court to serve as the representative of the deceased person’s estate.

The Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits 

The statute of limitations is the amount of time after your loved one’s death that you have to file a suit. In Ohio, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Wrongful Death Attorney near Cincinnati 

Working with an experienced wrongful death attorney near Cincinnati will help you navigate the legal process in this difficult time. The Richards Firm has experience representing families in wrongful death cases to receive the damages they are entitled to.

We can be reached at 513-868-2731, ext. 219 or visit us at  

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