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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim must be filed by a legal representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the decedent's death (called the "real parties in interest" or simply the beneficiaries).
    COLUMBUS, OH, August 15, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The laws about who can sue in a wrongful death case are set at the state level, so there is substantial variation in the process depending on where the case is filed. The people who can be considered as beneficiaries vary from state to state as well.

Beneficiaries
In all states, immediate family members like spouses and children (including adopted children) and parents of unmarried decedents can receive benefits as a result of wrongful death cases. In states where common law marriage or civil unions are accepted, the common law spouse or domestic partner may also be qualified. Many states also have provisions for more distant relatives like siblings or grandparents. In some states, unrelated persons who depended financially on the decedent could also be considered.

In addition to qualifying on the grounds of relationship to the decedent, beneficiaries must be shown to have suffered economic and/or non-economic damages as the result of the loss of the decedent. If the beneficiary cannot show financial damages, a wrongful death claim will probably not be successful.

Once a wrongful death claim is settled, the recovered damages are distributed to the decedent's beneficiaries through the probate court for the county where the decedent resided. The probate court may appoint a legal guardian to protect the interests of beneficiaries who are either minor children or are mentally incompetent. Probate courts also frequently order the proceeds awarded on behalf of dependent children to be placed in a trust until the children reach a certain age.

If you would like to find out more about who can file a wrongful death claim in Ohio, please visit the website of Robert W. Kerpsack Co., L.P.A.


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