Wrongful Death Settlements

Wrongful death refers to causes of action which allege that the victim died as a result of the negligent conduct or misdeeds of another. These claims commonly arise as a result of auto accidents, personal injury accidents, professional malpractice, workplace accidents, mesothelioma, dangerous or defective products, or other negligent or the intentional actions of others.

While this type of claim is not tried in the Probate Court, the approval of the settlement and then the allocation and distribution of the proceeds of the claim or litigation is within this Court's jurisdiction for a decedent who died a resident of Delaware County.  The application to settle a claim for wrongful death and the apportionment of the proceeds are two distinct matters for which the Court may require separate hearings.  Interested parties to be notified are those set forth in R.C. 2125.02 and including those persons identified in the case of In Re Estate of Payne, 2005-Ohio-2391 (10th Dist.).  See Loc.R. 70.1

Signed Waivers and Consents to the proposed distribution must be filed from all interested parties, or a hearing and service of notice upon those not waiving will be required.

Attorney fees for the completion of the probate proceeding required in connection with the approval of the settlement of a wrongful death claim shall be paid from the allowed contingent attorney fee unless there is no attorney involved in the representation of the injured parties.  In that event the probate attorney fees incurred in connection with filing the settlement proceeding shall be proportionately paid by the persons receiving benefits unless otherwise mutually agreed by all of the beneficiaries or otherwise directed by the Court.

Items necessary to file an Application to Approve a Wrongful Death Settlement:

  1. Decedent must have been a Delaware County resident;
  2. All the necessary forms that are filed in an Estate case;
  3. Certified copy of the Decedent’s death certificate (to be copied by Court and original returned);
  4. Original will of the decedent (if the decedent had a will and if not previously filed);
  5. Statement in Support of Proffered Settlement (when available);
  6. The base court cost deposit is two hundred dollars ($200.00); and
  7. Complete the Probate Forms listed to the right.

A thorough review should be made of Loc.R 68.4 if the settlement contemplates the use of a structured settlement contract.

Additional information