How to File an Ohio Lawsuit on Behalf of a Loved One | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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When a loved one can't represent themselves due to death, severe injury, or age, you may have the right to file a lawsuit or insurance claim on their behalf
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
May 9, 2024

Ohio’s laws about filing lawsuits on behalf of others can be challenging. It can often feel overwhelming, especially since all you want is justice and financial relief for your loved one.

Fortunately, the Ohio injury lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick (KNR) are here to guide you. Let us navigate the process, protect your loved one’s rights, and empower you to hold the negligent parties accountable.

Who Can File a Lawsuit in Ohio?

Anyone can file a lawsuit, but the case will be dismissed if they don’t have the legal right to make a claim. In Ohio, the eligibility to file depends on the type of case and the injured party’s condition.

Fatal Accident & Wrongful Death Cases

When a loved one passes away due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, Ohio law allows specific family members to seek compensation for their loss. Those who can file a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Biological or Adopted Child

Other close relatives, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, or long-term partners, may also recover monetary compensation if they can prove they suffered due to the deceased’s death.

For example, suppose a father dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. In that case, his wife can file a wrongful death claim seeking damages that may include compensation for the deceased’s lost income, the emotional distress inflicted, and funeral expenses.

But if you’re considering legal action after a tragic accident, try to remember that wrongful death claims are complicated matters, with large corporations and insurance companies typically involved. You’ll need to prove things like the defendant’s liability, calculate fair compensation for non-economic damages (like emotional distress), and demonstrate the impact of the loss on each family member. Additionally, you must adhere to Ohio’s two-year statute of limitations and navigate potential disputes.

Claims & Lawsuits on Behalf of Children

Ohio Civil Procedure Rule 17(b) outlines that a parent or legal guardian can file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of a child. This is crucial when another party injures a child, and parents are responsible for the medical bills and other expenses. Parents have the right to pursue compensation to cover these costs.

Suppose a faulty playground slide hurts your child. As their parent, you can legally file a lawsuit against the manufacturer to cover the child’s medical expenses and pain and suffering.

However, such claims involve challenges like obtaining court approval for settlements, adhering to the statute of limitations, addressing comparative negligence, and accurately estimating long-term care costs for a young child. Working with an experienced attorney can help you avoid obstacles and secure the best possible outcome for your child.

The Rights of the Incapacitated

A representative (like a guardian or fiduciary) can file a lawsuit if someone cannot represent themselves due to mental or physical incapacity. For example, if your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury or is in a coma after an act of negligence, a spouse or parent could seek legal action to recover the cost of medical bills and lost wages.

Claims involving incapacitated individuals may run into challenges like obtaining the proper documentation to establish legal standing, demonstrating the extent of the victim’s incapacity, proving liability, and accurately estimating future costs. But with legal help, you can be prepared and better handle your loved one’s case.

What if There’s No Representative?

If there’s no existing representative, the court may appoint a “guardian ad litem” to handle the personal injury lawsuit or take other steps to protect the interests of the minor or incompetent person.

Filing a Successful Lawsuit for Someone Else

Filing a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one requires careful consideration and strategic planning. Here’s how you can navigate this complex process effectively:

Establish Legal Standing

Ensure that you have the legal right to file a claim, which depends on your relationship with the victim:

  • Wrongful Death: You are the spouse, parent, child, or another qualified relative.
  • Children: Provide documentation verifying you are the parent or legal guardian.
  • Incompetent Persons: Show that you are the appointed guardian or fiduciary.

Prove Liability and Damages

To build a strong case, you’ll need to establish the other party’s negligence and the extent of damages incurred by your loved one. This involves:

  • Evidence from the accident or incident.
  • Medical records and financial documents.
  • Consulting with expert witnesses.

Be Aware of Legal Procedures

Successfully navigating court rules and procedures is crucial:

  • File the lawsuit within the statute of limitations (typically two years in Ohio).
  • Ensure all legal paperwork is accurate and complete.
  • Attend hearings or meetings on behalf of your loved one.

Anticipate Legal Challenges

Be prepared to face common legal challenges, such as:

  • Disputes over your right to represent the victim.
  • Comparative negligence claims from the opposing party.
  • Complexities in calculating damages, especially for long-term injuries or future earnings.

By working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can overcome these challenges and better advocate for your loved one.

Need Help Filing a Lawsuit for Someone Else? Contact KNR

Filing a lawsuit for someone else is a complex process. That’s why working with an experienced and respected personal injury attorney is crucial. At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our team has recovered millions for thousands of Ohioans and is dedicated to holding the right parties accountable for the harm they inflict.

Get a Free, No-Risk Free Consult

Let us explain your loved one’s rights and your options in a way that minimizes your stress and maximizes the compensation your loved one deserves. Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.