In Indiana, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed in accordance with very specific requirements. For example, a claim seeking compensation for the death of an adult must be brought by a personal representative on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. By contrast, claims seeking compensation for the death of a child may be brought by the child’s parents or guardians.
The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one can be among the most traumatic and destabilizing events in our lives. Of course, no amount of money can make up for the loss of someone held close to our hearts. However, if you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you may be entitled to legal compensation.
The Indiana wrongful death attorneys at the Truitt Law Offices are proud to provide compassionate legal representation as you grieve the loss of your loved one. We will make sure your case is properly filed and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.
What Are the Top Causes of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The common denominator in wrongful death cases is simply that the deceased’s untimely death was caused by someone else’s wrongful actions. Beyond this shared feature, wrongful death cases are a diverse category. Some accident types that commonly result in wrongful death cases include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Criminal assaults
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace injuries
What are the Steps in an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The steps in handling a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to those in most other personal injury cases. In most cases, your first step should be finding an attorney experienced in handling wrongful deaths. Subsequent steps in most wrongful death cases include:
- Gathering Evidence – As with any personal injury case, you will need evidence to establish an at-fault party’s liability. In a wrongful death suit, this may include an autopsy report, medical records, witness interviews, surveillance footage, accident reconstructions, and more.
- Determining Liability – An obvious but critical step in any wrongful death case is establishing the at-fault party’s culpability. In other words, you must prove that the at-fault party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions caused your loved one’s death. There may be more than one at-fault party depending on the case.
- Assessing the Case Value – In addition to evidence of the accident itself, you will also need evidence establishing a monetary value of your loss. Of course, no amount of money can truly compensate for the loss of a loved one. However, there are many factors that may influence the total amount of legal compensation you receive. These may include the medical treatment your loved one received prior to death, the income your family has lost, the value of the household services your deceased loved one provided, and others.
- Negotiating a Settlement – Trial can be costly, time-consuming, and unpredictable. Therefore, reaching an out-of-court settlement can be beneficial to all parties involved in your case. Your attorney can be your closest ally in negotiating a reasonable settlement and making sure you are not taken advantage of.
- Going to trial – In some cases, it is impossible to reach a settlement through negotiation. When negotiation fails, the only way to get full and fair compensation is through a trial in court. At this point, it is very important to consult with an attorney experienced in handling these proceedings.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated, and it may take months to reach a verdict and even a satisfactory out-of-court settlement. Because wrongful death suits can be time-consuming, it is best to have an attorney evaluate your case sooner than later. Our attorneys have handled many wrongful death cases and are ready to handle yours.
What Sort of Compensation is Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?
The compensation you could be owed under Indiana law depends on a number of factors. These include the age of the deceased individual, their marital status, and their number of dependents.
Compensation for Death of a Child. If the deceased person was a child, their parents may be owed compensation for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Expenses associated with the child’s healthcare, hospitalization, outstanding debt, and estate administration
- Loss of the child’s services
- Loss of love and companionship
- Grief counseling for the parents and any other minor children
Indiana’s wrongful death statute defines “child” as (1) anyone under twenty years old or (2) anyone under twenty-three years old if enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution. Damages for the wrongful death of a child are not capped.
Compensation for Death of an Unmarried Adult with No Dependents. If the deceased person is an unmarried adult with no dependents, compensation could cover:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Loss of love and companionship ($300,000 cap)
Compensation for Death of an Adult Who Is Married and/or Has Dependents. If the deceased person has a surviving spouse or dependents, they may recover compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Loss of the deceased’s future earnings
- Loss of the deceased’s love, affection, training, care, and guidance
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?
Like any other personal injury case, wrongful death actions are governed by a statute of limitations. In Indiana, the statute of limitations is set at two years from the date of the death. In nearly all cases, failure to file your case before this deadline will result in your case being dismissed in court, thereby eliminating your chance to secure legal compensation for the loss of your loved one.
Avoid this result by speaking with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The injury attorneys at the Truitt Law Offices are ready to evaluate your cases and strategize your path toward maximum compensation.
Contact an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
At the Truitt Law Offices, we understand how traumatic and painful the loss of a loved one can be in the lives of our clients and their families. If you have lost someone close to you in a wrongful death, our attorneys are here to help you understand your rights and fight for the maximum compensation allowed under the law. Contact us today for a free consultation.