Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Cases
The statue of limitations in wrongful death cases can be complicated. That’s why you need the help of a skilled attorney at Kisling, Nestico & Redick who can help you throughout the legal process.
When you suffer a sudden and tragic death in your family, it is difficult to face significant legal questions. You need time to grieve and handle your loved one’s funeral arrangements. In the days or weeks following your loved one’s death, you have enough to handle with coming to terms with how your life moves forward.
Yet there comes a time when you have to take a closer look at why your loved one was killed and whether you have the right to move forward with a wrongful death claim. Under Ohio law, when an individual is killed because of another person or business’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then you may have the right to seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
If you have questions about filing a wrongful death claim and what the statute of limitations on this type of claim is, call our experienced Ohio wrongful death lawyers of Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW. We are here to explain your rights and legal options. If you choose to move forward with a claim, we will guide you through the process step-by-step.
How an Ohio Wrongful Death Claim Works
Not just anyone is entitled to file a wrongful death claim. Under Ohio law, the personal representative for the deceased person’s estate files the suit. The personal representative may be you, another family member, an attorney, or someone else. The representative does not have to be related to the deceased.
The compensation the representative pursues is on behalf of the decedent’s surviving parents, spouse, and children. These are the individuals the law assumes have been injured by the death. Other family members, including siblings, grandparents, and cousins are typically not entitled to compensation from a wrongful death claim unless they can prove they suffered compensable losses.
The representative can seek compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses sustained prior to your loved one’s death
- Loss of the individual’s income
- Loss of the individual’s benefits like health insurance or a pension
- Loss of a prospective inheritance from that family member
- Mental anguish
- Loss of your loved one’s services like housework and childcare
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium, which is the intimate relationship between spouses
To gain compensation, the representative’s lawyers must be able to prove the other party’s negligence led to your loved one’s death. If there is enough evidence to establish this, then your loved one’s estate may obtain an insurance settlement or jury award. This will then be distributed to the surviving parents, spouse, and children in proportions based on Ohio law.
Ohio’s Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
There is a time restriction that limits how long a personal representative has to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio. You have two years from the time of the decedent’s death to file the claim. If you file a wrongful death claim after the two-year time period has passed, then the defendant can ask the court to dismiss the case and the court more than likely will.
The Discovery Rule
There are certain exceptions that may give you more time to file a wrongful death claim beyond two years after your loved one’s death. One of these is known as the discovery rule. If you were unaware and could not have been aware that you had a potential legal claim at the time of your loved one’s death, then your statute of limitations does not begin to run until you have enough information to reasonably suspect you have a legal claim. This is known as tolling the statute of limitations.
The discovery exception applies even if you found out about the other party’s negligence more than two years after your loved one’s death. If you learned about another person or business’s involvement in your loved one’s death weeks, months, or years later, contact a wrongful death lawyer at Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away. We can review whether the statute of limitations has passed for your case and inform you of your legal options.
Other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are other situations that may extend the statute of limitations. One such example is if the injured party is mentally incompetent. The statute of limitations waits until that individual is determined to be mentally fit before moving forward with a case. Another issue that affects a wrongful death claim’s statute of limitations is if the party at fault is imprisoned, hiding, or in some other way absent. In this situation, the statute of limitations does not begin to run if you are unable to locate the potential defendant.
Contact Our Ohio Wrongful Death Lawyers For Help
If you lost a parent, spouse, or child in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced wrongful death attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. We have years of experience handling wrongful death claims, including those that have extended beyond the statute of limitations. We will carefully review your situation, explain your legal options, and guide you through the process of pursuing compensation for your loss.
Call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW, or contact us to schedule your free and confidential consultation.