There are rules regarding how long a person has to file a personal injury lawsuits. Lawmakers pass these laws, referred to as “statutes of limitations,” to help ensure that lawsuits are filed while witness recollections are still fresh and before evidence is lost. These laws also prevent people from being held accountable for things they did decades ago.
What is a wrongful death case?
Wrongful death lawsuits are a type of personal injury claim. These lawsuits are filed when someone, the decedent, loses their life due to another’s reckless negligent or intentional misconduct. This can be due to a fatal car accident, a defective product or another cause. The surviving family members are the plaintiffs, the people who file the lawsuit. Wrongful death claims may also be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate in Ohio. This is usually the person named as the executor in the decedent’s last will and testament.
Ohio’s statute of limitations requires that lawsuits be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. However, that time limit can be longer if the person filing the wrongful death action did not know they had a cause of action, and it can be shorter if the decedent’s death was caused by a defective product that was purchased more than a decade ago.
The discovery rule
The discovery rule in Ohio allows people filing wrongful death actions to pause or toll the time limit imposed by the statute of limitations when the negligent, reckless or intentional act that caused the decedent’s death is discovered at a later date. However, in order to prevent a motion to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit from being granted, the plaintiff would have to convince the judge that they did not know and could not have known about the act. Absent this knowledge, the plaintiff would not have known that they had a legal claim.
Product liability cases
The time limit in a wrongful death case could be shorter than two years if the decedent was killed by a defective product that was purchased a long time ago and the defendant is the product’s manufacturer. This is because Ohio’s statute of repose prevents manufacturers from being sued over defective products that are more than 10 years old.
If you have lost a loved one due to an accident or preventable illness, learn about your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation that can help you and your family face difficult financial times ahead.