Indiana Wrongful Death Attorneys
Indiana wrongful death attorney, Richard Truitt, has fought for over 37 years to recover the full compensation deserved by the family of victims. While no amount of monetary payments can adequately replace the loss of a loved one, the grieving process can be aided by financial stability and closure.
When Wrongful Death Occurs
When any individual is killed, it is often described as “an unfortunate accident that was no one’s fault.” When, in fact, a review by an attorney with experience in wrongful death litigation will reveal that the death was preventable and the result of an act of negligence on someone else’s part such as:
- Medical malpractice – If a physician does not exercise the appropriate judgment in keeping with the standards of his profession
- Construction site related accidents
- Auto accidents – If another motorist disregards traffic regulations
- Semi truck accidents – If a truck operator or trucking company breaks Federal and/or State trucking regulations
Three separate statutes control wrongful death claims in Indiana:
- General Wrongful Death Act (GWDA) – Code § 34-23-1-1
- Adult Wrongful Death Act (AWDA) – Code § 34-23-1-2
- Child Wrongful Death Act (CWDA) – Code § 34-23-2-1.
An experienced Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyer will have a thorough understanding of these laws and how Indiana courts have applied them to different situations, including situations that may be similar to your own.
The GWDA defines a wrongful death as one “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” In this sense, a wrongful death claim is like a personal injury claim in which the victim has died. A wrongful death can occur in many different situations, including those that involve:
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites or other animal attacks
- Construction site and other workplace accidents
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Defective drugs or medical devices
- Nursing home abuse
- Medical malpractice (such as a missed or delayed diagnosis)
Keep in mind: A wrongful death claim is a civil action. So, it is separate and distinct from any criminal action against the party responsible for the death. While a criminal action can result in punishment of the wrongdoer, only a civil action can lead to a recovery of compensation.
If the wrongful death victim was an adult, the personal representative of the victim’s estate must bring the claim. A court appoints the personal representative, who is typically a surviving family member. The “beneficiaries” who may recover in a wrongful death claim include the victim’s surviving spouse, children or other dependents.
If the victim was a child, the victim’s parents may bring the claim either jointly or individually if they are married. If the parents are not married, the custodial parent may bring the claim. If the child’s parents are dead, or if they have lost their parental rights, then the child’s guardian may bring the claim.
Many wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana result in settlements. The parties agree to the amount of damages. Often, a neutral mediator helps the parties to reach this agreement. If a wrongful death lawsuit goes to trial, then a judge or jury will determine whether the party named as a defendant in the lawsuit is legally responsible for damages (or “liable”) and, if so, the amount of damages that should be awarded.
Generally speaking, you must bring a wrongful death claim in Indiana within two years after the victim’s death. However, certain exceptions exist. For instance, if the wrongful death claim involves medical malpractice, you must file the lawsuit within two years from the date that the negligent act or omission occurred and not from the date of the death.
As in many other states, you cannot recover punitive damages in a wrongful death claim in Indiana.
The person appointed as the personal representative of the wrongful death victim’s estate may bring a lawsuit, regardless of whether all potential beneficiaries agree to do so.
If the wrongful death victim was a child, and the parents are still married, the parents may jointly or individually file a claim. If only one parent brings the claim, the other parent must be named in the lawsuit.
If the parents are divorced, the custodial parent can file the claim and won’t need to name the non-custodial parent as a defendant. The non-custodial parent may bring a claim as well. However, the parent would need to list the custodial parent as a defendant.
Generally, you can seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit that includes:
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Funeral, burial and other expenses arising from the death
- Loss of money, services and other material benefits
- Loss of love, care and affection
- Costs of bringing the wrongful death claim, including attorney fees.
An attorney can compile evidence that supports the amount of damages sought in a wrongful death claim, including bills, receipts and statements of those people impacted by the death. The lawyer can also consult with experts such as economists in order to arrive at the amount. If a claim is brought under the AWDA, there is a $300,000 cap on damages awarded for loss of love and companionship.
You cannot recover damages for your own emotional distress in an Indiana wrongful death lawsuit. However, you can seek compensation for loss of your loved one’s love, care and affection. If the wrongful death victim was a child, the lawsuit can seek a recovery of psychiatric and psychological counseling expenses for the child’s surviving parents and minor siblings.
An experienced wrongful death lawyer can provide many valuable services that are aimed at recovering maximum compensation for those who have lost a family member due to the negligence of another. Those services include:
- Preparing all paperwork for the opening of an estate and appointment of a personal representative
- Thoroughly investigating a case to determine why the death occurred, who should be held responsible and how much should be sought in wrongful death damages
- Filing a lawsuit in the proper court and handling all other required paperwork, including forms that may need to be filed with insurers
- Dealing directly with insurers to reach a settlement or, if necessary, taking the case to trial
- Making sure that any compensation recovered through a settlement or verdict gets promptly disbursed.
Keep in mind: Truitt Law Offices will not charge for any services we provide unless and until we secure a financial recovery for you.
If you believe that your loved one suffered his or her death due to the negligence of person, company or government agency, you should contact Truitt Law Offices to receive a free and confidential review of your case. We will provide a frank assessment of the case and advise you on whether you should pursue a wrongful death case. If we agree to move forward together, you can count on Truitt Law Offices to use the full extent of our skill, experience and resources to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.
Wrongful Death in the Workplace
In any case of a death occurring at work, the survivors should always consult an attorney. In many cases, a review of the facts and circumstances by an experienced attorney in wrongful death cases will show that someone else’s negligence contributed to the death.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
If you have lost a loved one due to the misconduct or negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- All related expenses, including funeral and medical bills.
- Loss of future earnings that would have been contributed by the victim.
- Loss of benefits due to the victims death.
- Loss of companionship, care and/or protection.
- Mental and physical pain and suffering.
Coping with a lost family member is never easy, especially when the death occurs without warning. If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence in Indiana, contact Truitt Law Offices today for your free interview.
Free Interview with an Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyer – No Fee until Settlement or Recovery
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Indiana wrongful death attorney Richard Truitt can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Please call us at (800) 628-2904 or contact Truitt Law Offices online. We work on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay unless we win your case. Make your first call, your only call.