When a Tortfeasor Dies in Ohio

When we think about time limitations that affect claims, we usually think of statutes of limitations.  However, there is another important time limitation that applies when a tortfeasor passes away in Ohio.  When a tortfeasor passes away before a creditor has filed a lawsuit, there are several steps a creditor must take to collect on a claim within a certain amount of time or the claim is barred. 

What happens when the tortfeasor passes away

First, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2117.06(A)-(C), the creditor must present a claim in writing to the executor or administrator of the tortfeasor’s estate within six months of the death of the deceased.  The executor or administrator generally has thirty days to allow or reject the claim.  Second, if the claim is rejected, the creditor must file a lawsuit within two months, or the claim is barred.  There is a notable exception to the presentation requirement where the deceased had liability insurance for bodily injuries and property damage arising from the deceased’s negligence.