The sudden death of a loved one due to the negligent actions of another party can be a trying and difficult time for an Ohio family. In such cases, the surviving family members or a personal representative of the deceased may file a wrongful death suit against the negligent party to receive damages. However, sometimes a negligent party actually dies before the filing of a wrongful death suit.
For whatever reason, like a disease or a sudden accident, a person responsible for the death of someone else passes away prior to any court action. This may complicate the efforts of surviving family members of a negligence victim to receive compensation. With the negligent party deceased, it would seem the family has no one to hold responsible for the death of their loved one. In reality, this is not the case.
The Ohio Revised Code explains that family members or the personal representative of a wrongfully deceased person may still litigate the estate of the negligent party. The executor of the estate will be in charge of defending the estate. Courts may consider the same kinds of damages as if the negligent party was still alive, like a loss of consortium, a loss of prospective inheritance, or mental anguish. If the estate executor loses the case, the executor will have to pay damages to the family members out of the assets of the estate.
This provision in state law prevents the death of a reckless party from closing the door on a family receiving compensation for the loss of a loved one. Because the circumstances of wrongful death cases will vary, do not read the preceding information as a substitute for the advice of a legal attorney; it is only intended as general information on this topic.