It goes without saying that coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one presents many challenges. Nothing will ever truly be the same, and no amount of money can truly replace what you and your family have lost. But, holding the at-fault party accountable is important, and recovering the compensation that is available can be essential for your family’s long-term financial stability.
Understanding the Process of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Ohio
As Columbus wrongful death attorneys, we frequently get asked which family members can file claims following a loved one’s untimely passing. The answer to this question is not what most people expect.
Under Ohio law, only the victim’s personal representative has the ability to file a claim for wrongful death. Family members do not file claims individually. Instead, the personal representative files a claim on behalf of the victim’s estate, and any damages that are awarded become estate assets.
What does this mean for you as a member of the victim’s family? It means that your ability to receive compensation for your loved one’s death will be determined by the terms of his or her estate plan. If your loved one did not prepare an estate plan, then Ohio’s “intestacy” laws will apply. This can present challenges of its own, and navigating the process successfully requires the advice and representation of an experienced Columbus wrongful death attorney.
What to Do Following a Family Member’s Wrongful Death
But, the fact that you cannot file a wrongful death claim on your own does not mean that there is nothing you can do. Following the wrongful death of a loved one, family members should:
1. Engage a Law Firm to Conduct an Investigation
In order to pursue a wrongful death claim, it is first necessary to determine what company holds financial responsibility for your loved one’s untimely passing. This means engaging a lawful to conduct a comprehensive investigation. Any family member can contact a law firm—even if he or she is not the victim’s personal representative.
2. Identify Your Loved One’s Personal Representative
If possible, you should try to identify your loved one’s personal representative. You can do this if you have access to your loved one’s will. If you don’t (or if your loved one did not leave a will), a Columbus wrongful death attorney will be able to assist with determining who can file your family’s wrongful death claim.
3. Learn More about Ohio’s Wrongful Death Laws
Ohio’s wrongful death laws are complicated, and learning more about the law can help you feel more comfortable with the process of seeking just compensation. You can read our overview of Ohio’s wrongful death laws to learn more.
Speak with a Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney for Free
If you would like to know more about filing a wrongful death claim in Ohio, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call 888-444-7440 or request an appointment online today.