What constitutes a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is permitted when one’s death has been wrongfully caused by another party. A wrongful death claim is a civil action and is usually filed by close relatives of the victim. Tort laws vary by state and they determine who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Therefore, the laws that apply in one state do not necessarily apply in other states. The Cincinnati attorneys at Freking Myers & Reul, LLC are well-versed in current wrongful death laws in the state of Ohio and Kentucky.
Since wrongful deaths fall under common law, wrongful death claims are a civil action as opposed to a criminal action. Therefore, in order to prove a wrongful death, a preponderance of evidence must be met. This is a legal standard that means there must be enough proof to prove the defendant was negligent. This is different than criminal cases which require clear and convincing evidence (beyond a reasonable doubt).
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio?
An Ohio wrongful death lawsuit is brought on behalf of the victim’s estate. This means that those named in the will of the deceased must file the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of all beneficiaries named in the will.
In most cases, the beneficiaries will be close family members such as spouses, children, and/or parents. If the children are minors with no surviving parents, then a legal guardian may be appointed to ensure the best interests of the children are met as a result of the lawsuit.
In some cases, grandparents who are caring for the minor children may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit the same way a surviving parent would. Wrongful death lawsuits may also be filed for some elderly people, but the benefits are generally small as the children of elderly victims are typically grown and self-supporting.