When someone causes another person to die through reckless behavior or negligence, Ohio law allows the surviving family members to sue the responsible party for damages. While a wrongful death suit cannot bring back the deceased family member, it may help the survivors reap a measure of justice.
However, sometimes a defendant in a wrongful death suit dies before the court trial can commence. This may seem like the end of the process, but the truth is that surviving family members and friends still have recourse to collect compensation.
The creation of an estate
When a person dies, the assets owned by the decedent make up an estate, which falls under the control of an executor or an administrator. The executor will distribute the assets according to the will of the decedent or intestate law if there is no will.
Before the executor provides the estate assets to heirs, creditors may file claims against the estate for unpaid debts. These claims could go to court if the executor chooses to contest the claims. However, other parties may also bring litigation against an estate.
Bringing legal action against an estate
Ohio Revised Code 2125.01 states that survivors can litigate the estate of a deceased person for damages in a wrongful death suit. It will be up to the administrator or the executor of the estate to represent the estate. In the event the court finds for the plaintiff or the executor settles the case, the survivors will receive compensation out of the assets of the estate.
Litigating an estate may involve more complications, but the end result could still yield damages for lost support, medical costs and funeral expenses. Even if a negligent party dies, you may still have options to fight for compensation.