Ohio Wrongful Death Laws

The Ohio Wrongful Death Statute can be found in ORC Ann. 2125.01.  Pursuant to the Act, when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued or the administrator or executor of the estate of such person,  shall be liable to an action for damages.

This is notwithstanding the death of the person injured and although the death was caused under circumstances which make it aggravated murder, murder, or manslaughter.  When the action is against such administrator or executor, the damages recovered shall be a valid claim against the estate of such deceased person.

No action for the wrongful death of a person may be maintained against the owner or lessee of the real property upon which the death occurred if the cause of the death was the violent unprovoked act of a party other than the owner, lessee, or a person under the control of the owner or lessee, unless the acts or omissions of the owner, lessee, or person under the control of the owner or lessee constitute gross negligence.

When death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default in another state or foreign country, for which a right to maintain an action and recover damages is given by a statute of such other state or foreign country, such right of action may be enforced in the state of Ohio.  Every such action shall be commenced within the time prescribed for the commencement of such actions by the statute of such other state or foreign country[i].

An application to approve a settlement and Distribution of Wrongful Death and Survival Claims (Standard Probate Form 14.0) shall contain a statement of facts, including the amount to be allocated to the settlement of the claim and the amount, if any, to be allocated to the settlement of the survival claim.  The application shall include the proposed distribution of the net proceeds allocated to the wrongful death claim.  The fiduciary shall give written notice of the hearing and a copy of the application to all interested persons who have not waived notice of the hearing.  Notwithstanding the waivers and consents of the interested persons, the court shall retain jurisdiction over the settlement, allocation, and distribution of the claims.  The application shall state what arrangements, if any, have been made with respect to counsel fees. Counsel fees shall be subject to approval by the court[ii].

The amount of damages recoverable by civil action in the courts for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, shall not be limited by law[iii].

[i] ORC Ann. 2125.01

[ii]Ohio Sup. R. 70

[iii] Oh. Const. Art. I, § 19a


Inside Ohio Wrongful Death Laws