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The Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims in Ohio 

December 4, 2023

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Losing a loved one is never easy, and when the loss is caused by someone else's negligence or intentional act, it can be even more devastating. In Ohio, families have legal options to seek compensation for their loved one's death through wrongful death and survival action claims.  

While these two types of claims may seem similar, they are distinct legal concepts. In this article we explore the difference between wrongful death and survival action claims in Ohio, who can file for compensation, and the role of an Ohio wrongful death attorney in these types of cases. 

What is a Wrongful Death in Ohio?  

In Ohio, a wrongful death occurs when a person's death is caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity. This can include cases of medical malpractice, car accidents caused by negligence, workplace accidents, and other situations where the actions or omissions of someone else resulted in the death of another person.  

Under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code § 2125.01 (2021)), the estate of the decedent and certain family members may be able to file a wrongful death or survival action claim to seek compensation for damages resulting from the wrongful death. While both types of claims seek to provide compensation for the loss of a loved one, they are distinct legal claims with their own requirements and limitations. 

Wrongful Death Claims 

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought by the surviving family members of a person who lost their life because of the negligence or intentional actions of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim allows the surviving family members to recover compensation for the damages they have suffered because of their loved one's death. This can include compensation for damages like: 
 

  • Medical expenses  
  • Funeral and burial costs  
  • Lost wages; and  
  • Loss of companionship 

In Ohio, the damages awarded in a wrongful death claim are paid to the estate and distributed to the surviving family members according to Ohio law. 

Survival Action Claims 

A survival action claim is a legal action brought by the personal representative of a deceased person's estate on behalf of the estate itself. Unlike a wrongful death claim, a survival action claim seeks to compensate the estate for damages that the decedent suffered before their death. This can include compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages. 

In Ohio, a survival action claim is brought on behalf of the estate, rather than the surviving family members. The damages awarded in a survival action claim are paid to the estate and distributed according to the decedent's will or Ohio law if there is no will. 

Who Can File for Compensation in a Wrongful Death Suit or Survival Action in Ohio?  

In Ohio, the personal representative of the decedent's estate is the only person who can file a wrongful death or survival action claim. If the decedent named a personal representative in their will, that person will typically serve as the personal representative. If there is no will or the named personal representative is unable or unwilling to serve, the court will appoint a personal representative. 

The damages awarded in a wrongful death or survival action claim are paid to the estate and distributed to the surviving family members or heirs according to Ohio law. The surviving family members or heirs do not file the claim themselves, but they may benefit from the damages awarded. 

What Role Does a Wrongful Death Attorney Play in Wrongful Death or Survival Action Claims? 

A wrongful death attorney can play an essential role in helping the personal representative of a deceased person's estate pursue a wrongful death or survival action claim. These types of cases can be complex, and it is important that those who have lost loved ones in Ohio work with an experienced wrongful death attorneywho understands the legal process and can help them navigate the system. 

By working with our skilled wrongful death lawyers, claimants gain the assistance of an experienced professional who can help them investigate the circumstances surrounding their loved one's death and gather evidence to support their claim. We will also help negotiate with the insurance companies and other parties involved in the case to reach a fair settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, we can represent the estate in court and advocate for its best interests. 

In addition to our legal expertise, our Ohio personal injury lawyers can also provide emotional support and guidance to the surviving family members. Losing a loved one can be a traumatic experience and having a compassionate and understanding attorney can help ease some of the burden and stress. 

Call Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, Ohio Wrongful Death Attorneys 

Whether you are pursuing a wrongful death claim, a survival action claim, or both, we will work tirelessly to help you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve. Our attorneys have a proven track record of success in Ohio wrongful death cases, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you. 

If you are ready to take the first step toward holding the responsible parties accountable for your loved one’s death and securing the financial future of your family, we encourage you to contact Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy today. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with us about your case.  

Don't wait, call us today to schedule your appointment and get the help you need. We love helping people protect their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve.  

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