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Ohio wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions: What’s the difference?

A wrongful death is any death that could have been prevented by a little more care or better precautions. When a loved one dies a wrongful death but there’s no actual crime involved, it can leave the victim’s survivors feeling a lot of frustration and anger on top of their grief.

Ohio law actually gives you a couple of different ways to hold the party who caused your loved one’s death responsible. You can file a wrongful death claim and a survival action.

Wrongful death actions focus on the losses suffered by the close relatives of the deceased. That includes things like the loss of the decedent’s income or services to their family and the loss of their companionship, guidance, care and protection (among other things). It can also include compensation for the emotional pain that family members feel over their loved one’s death.

Survival actions, however, are essentially personal injury lawsuits on behalf of the deceased. Even though they’re no longer alive, Ohio law specifically allows the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to pursue a personal injury claim for things like the deceased’s medical bills, their lost income and any pain and suffering they endured prior to their death.

In wrongful death claims, any compensation that’s obtained is usually distributed among the relatives who have filed the lawsuit. In Ohio, usually only the decedent’s spouse, parents and children can file that kind of claim. Compensation from survival actions, however, belongs to the deceased’s estate and will be distributed according to their will or the court’s direction.

If your loved one suffered a needless death, find out what options you have. The person responsible for your loss shouldn’t be allowed to walk away without any consequences.