When you have suffered a serious injury because of someone else’s negligence or you have lost someone you love because of another party’s wrongdoing, trying to figure out how to file a claim can be frustrating and difficult. As an experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyer in Ohio, I know how challenging it can be to even think about filing a lawsuit when you are dealing with medical bills that are piling up, lost wages, and funeral costs on top of losing a spouse or a parent. Nobody should have to experience a life-changing injury that necessitates filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, yet other people behave in negligent and careless ways with some frequency.

I often work with clients who need help figuring out how to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, and I work tirelessly for my clients to ensure they have the best possible chance of getting the compensation they deserve. When you begin the process of filing a claim, it is helpful to understand the difference between a personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit. Let me give you some background information to get you started.

Both Types of Claims Arise Out of a Personal Injury

Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits both arise out of a personal injury. For example, either type of claim can arise out of a medical mistake or a car accident, yet they differ depending upon whether the injured person survives.

With a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person can file a claim for compensation against the negligent party. For example, an injured patient who got hurt because of a medical error could file a claim against the negligent healthcare provider. Or, for instance, an injured car accident victim could file a lawsuit against the careless driver who caused the crash.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the person who got hurt did not survive his or her injuries. Instead, a “personal representative” of the deceased’s estate steps into the shoes of the deceased person and files a claim against the responsible party. In other words, wrongful death law recognizes that the person who sustained fatal injuries would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit if that person had not died from the injuries. Since the injured person did not survive, the law recognizes that the personal representative can, in effect, take the injured person’s place in filing a claim. The Ohio wrongful death statute specifically states: “When the death of a person is caused by 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 . . . shall be liable to an action for damages.”

Different Plaintiffs in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims

Personal injury claims and wrongful death claims, as I mentioned above, have different plaintiffs:

  • Personal injury lawsuit: injured person files the claim.
  • Wrongful death lawsuit: personal representative of the deceased’s estate files the claim.

Statute of Limitations Differs in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Ohio 

Under Ohio law, both the personal injury statute of limitations and wrongful death statute of limitations is typically two years. This time window can vary in a personal injury lawsuit depending upon the type of injury. For instance, medical malpractice lawsuits may have only a one-year statute of limitations.

Yet even when the statute of limitations is two years in a personal injury claim, the clock starts “ticking” on a different date for a wrongful death lawsuit. With a personal injury claim, the clock starts “ticking” on the date the injury occurred (or the date a reasonable person would have discovered the injury), while the clock on a wrongful death claim begins “ticking” on the date of the deceased’s death.

Contact Me for Help with Your Case 

Whether you suffered injuries or recently lost a loved one because of someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, an Ohio personal injury lawyer can help. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Contact me at 877.944.4373 to get started on your claim.

Blog Personal Injury Wrongful Death