Everything You Should Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Indiana

Grieving woman who lost her husband offering flowers

Did you lose a loved one in an untimely accident in Indiana? Did someone’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions cost them their life? Unfortunately, preventable accidents are a leading cause of fatalities in Indiana, and surviving family members are often left to pick up the pieces without answers or justice.

If someone in your family died due to someone else’s careless actions or failure to act, know that you’re not alone. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can help you seek compensation and a measure of closure.

The Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyers at Truitt Law Offices have more than 40 years of experience helping grieving families fight for fair compensation.

A lawsuit can be a way to hold whoever caused their death responsible for what they’ve done and seek a measure of justice on behalf of the deceased. A wrongful death suit can also help you recover the money you’ll need to cover your funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and other expenses.

For more information on wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana, contact our office for a free consultation.

What Is an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury claim made by the surviving family members of someone who has died in an accident that was someone else’s fault.

Specifically, Indiana law defines wrongful death as any death caused by someone else’s wrongful actions or an act of omission. This definition includes accidents due to negligence, such as car accidents or medical malpractice, as well as intentional acts like assault or murder.

What Types of Events Can Result in an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Some of the most common events that can lead to wrongful death include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products
  • Intentional acts of violence

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?

The parties eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana depend on the age of the person who died. If the deceased was a child, then one or both parents, or the child’s legal guardian, can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

For wrongful death claims, Indiana law defines a child as:

  • Someone who is not married, has no dependents, and is younger than 20 years old.
  • Someone who is not married, has no dependents, is younger than 23 years old, and is enrolled in college, a career or technical school, or some other educational program.
  • A fetus that has reached viability.

Daughter crying on the death of her father.If the deceased was an adult, then the only party who can file a wrongful death lawsuit is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. The personal representative is sometimes referred to as the “executor” of the estate. The personal representative is frequently a family member, but the deceased can name anyone they want as their personal representative. Regardless of who is representing the deceased’s estate, it’s up to them to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Types of Damages Are Available in an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Compensation in wrongful death claims is tricky because specific rules say what compensation can or cannot be awarded in a lawsuit. Broadly speaking, compensation in wrongful death cases works like this:

  • If the deceased was a child, the parents or legal guardian could be awarded compensation for the loss of the child’s services, the loss of the child’s love and companionship, the child’s health care expenses, the cost of counseling for the parents or young siblings, and any outstanding debts the deceased had.
  • If the deceased was an unmarried adult with no dependents, the deceased’s estate could be compensated for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and the loss of love and companionship.
  • If the deceased was married or had surviving dependents, the deceased’s estate can be awarded compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, the loss of the deceased’s future earnings, and the loss of love, affection, care, guidance, and training.

How Is Wrongful Death Compensation Distributed in Indiana?

In wrongful death lawsuits related to the death of an unmarried adult without dependents, any compensation for medical bills and funeral and burial expenses goes to the estate. Any remaining compensation will go to the deceased’s parents or non-dependent child. To claim any compensation, the deceased’s parents or non-dependent children must prove that they had an ongoing, substantial, and genuine relationship with the deceased.

If the deceased was married or has any surviving dependents, their estate will claim any compensation related to medical bills and funeral or burial costs. Any remaining compensation goes to the deceased’s surviving spouse, any dependent children, or the deceased’s other dependent relatives.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?

All personal injury lawsuits in Indiana, including wrongful death claims, are subject to the Statute of Limitations. This law gives you two years from the date of the deceased’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have not filed a wrongful death lawsuit by this deadline, your case will almost certainly be thrown out, and you’ll lose your chance to recover compensation.

Do You Need an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawyer?

In a word, yes.

First, you’re in no shape to work on a wrongful death lawsuit if you’ve just been through a family tragedy. A wrongful death lawyer can handle the legal grunt work while you focus on healing and dealing with your grief.

Second, wrongful death lawsuits aren’t easy to win. You’ll need convincing evidence that the party responsible for your family member’s death was somehow negligent and that their negligence directly led to the untimely death. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will know what evidence to look for to prove negligence so you can claim fair compensation for the loss you’ve suffered.

If you’ve lost a loved one and have questions about wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana, contact Truitt Law Offices today for a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…