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What is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Ohio?

  • February 18, 2019
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Ohio

Section 2125 of the Ohio Revised Code sets a two-year statue of limitations for most wrongful death claims. That can be extended to 10 years for most wrongful death cases involving dangerous or defective products.

Knowing when the clock starts on the wrongful death statute of limitations in Ohio is not always easy. Nor is it always clear who has the legal right to take seek compensation and other monetary damages for a wrongful death. Consulting with a plaintiff’s attorney in Columbus who handles wrongful death cases will provide concrete answers.

In its most basic application, the wrongful death statute of limitations in Ohio runs from the date of the death caused by another person or by a company’s negligence until the anniversary of that date two years later. This is the deadline to use when a death occurs from one of the following preventable causes:

  • A car accident caused by another driver
  • A truck crash caused by the commercial driver
  • A slip or fall outside the home
  • Medical malpractice
  • Violence, even if the case is also prosecuted as a crime like manslaughter or murder

For cases involving dangerous or defective products — what lawyers call actions for product liability — the statute of limitation can be extended to 10 years from the date on which the deceased victim purchased or last used the product. Further, a person whose death can be traced to his or her unknowing use of a dangerous or defective product can have a wrongful claim case for up two years past the discovery of the cause of death.

As the state’s wrongful death law explains, any incident that would give the deceased victim the right to file a personal injury claim also gives a surviving family member the right to take legal action for the wrongful death. The state statute also specifies that any wrongful death insurance claim or civil lawsuit “shall be brought in the name of the personal representative of the decedent for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, the children, and the parents of the decedent.” In plain language: A designated family member stands in as the plaintiff in the wrongful death case.

Providing the proper notifications and paperwork are filed before the expiration of the wrongful death statute of limitations in Ohio, the plaintiff can claim all the following types of damages that apply:

  • Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent;
  • Loss of services of the decedent;
  • Loss of the society of the decedent, including loss of companionship, consortium, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, and education, suffered by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent;
  • Loss of prospective inheritance to the decedent’s heirs at law at the time of the decedent’s death;
  • The mental anguish incurred by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent.

Some of these damages can be calculated by looking at pay stubs and career trajectories; others must be estimated as emotional burdens. Partnering with an experienced Ohio wrongful death attorney will help the grieving family determine what constitutes a fair and just demand for an insurance settlement.

If you recently lost a loved one due to negligence, recklessness or an act of violence, consider reaching out to Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman to discuss your legal options. We offer free consultations on wrongful death cases, and you can connect with us online or schedule an appointment with one of our Columbus-based attorneys by calling (614) 678-3318.

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