Losing a family member is one of the hardest experiences that anyone has to go through.
Understandably, when their death is the result of someone else’s careless or reckless actions, your grief can turn to anger.
Depending on the circumstances of their death, your family may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, wrongful death compensation might ease the unexpected financial burden you’re facing.
To determine whether you have a claim, contact the Indiana wrongful death attorneys at Gerling Law.
Understanding Wrongful Death in Indiana
If you lost a loved one, we extend our sincere condolences. We understand what a difficult time this is for you and your family, and we want to help. At Gerling Law, our wrongful death lawyers represent families who have suffered the tragic death of a family member caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. We offer compassionate yet aggressive representation. Our top priority is to help you get justice for your family’s loss.
From a legal perspective, Indiana law considers a wrongful death to be one that is caused by the “wrongful act or omission of another.” The compensation received in a wrongful death claim is meant to provide you with some monetary relief from the economic hardships and emotional anguish your family is currently experiencing.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Each state has specific laws addressing wrongful death claims and who has legal standing to file a claim. In Indiana, only the personal representative of the estate can bring a wrongful death claim. The personal representative is someone who is named in the deceased’s will or other estate plan documents, or that the court appoints. In cases where the deceased was a child, one or both parents can start a wrongful death lawsuit.
Although the personal representative is the one filing the wrongful death lawsuit, the family members will be the beneficiaries who will collect any compensation from a wrongful death award or settlement. Typically, the people entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case include:
- The surviving spouse;
- A child who is a dependent of the deceased;
- A surviving dependent who is next of kin; and
- Surviving parents of a deceased child.
Depending on the circumstances, the personal representative may collect an award if the deceased is an adult who died with no spouse or dependents. But damages are limited to expenses incurred as a result of the deceased person’s final injury and death. Any financial compensation covers funeral expenses, hospital and medical bills, legal fees, etc.
You have only a limited time to bring a wrongful death claim in Indiana. The deadline is within two years of the person’s date of death. Failure to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the allotted statute of limitations means your case will likely be dismissed. A dismissal means you cannot pursue any compensation for your financial losses and emotional anguish.
What Qualifies as “Wrongful Death”?
Numerous accidents and events can give rise to a claim for wrongful death. At Gerling Law, some of the most common causes of wrongful death lawsuits we see come from:
- Car accidents;
- Large truck accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Boating or recreational vehicle accidents;
- Train or bus accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Birth injuries;
- Daycare accidents;
- Defective products;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Nursing home abuse and neglect;
- Construction accidents; and
- Explosions and fires.
Many other incidents give rise to a wrongful death claim as well, including deaths resulting from criminal acts. Perhaps the victim was killed by a home intruder or shot during a carjacking. If there is a criminal case pending against the defendant, this does not preclude you from pursuing financial compensation for damages through a civil lawsuit.
Damages Covered by Wrongful Death
When you bring a claim for wrongful death, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation from the economic losses and mental anguish you are experiencing as a surviving family member. Depending on the circumstances, you might receive damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Medical and hospital expenses; and
- Loss of love and companionship.
Parents who have lost a child may additionally recover for resulting psychological services for the parents and minor siblings.
Wrongful death claims focus on the financial losses and emotional anguish of the family members left behind. The estate’s personal representative may also file a survival action in conjunction with the wrongful death claim if the victim lived for some time before passing away. In a survival action, the estate could recover compensation for the deceased’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
Be advised, Indiana law caps wrongful death damages in certain situations. The amount will vary based on the age of the deceased, the surviving family left behind, and the cause of the wrongful death. For example, wrongful death claims against the government or those arising from medical malpractice claims could be capped.
Get Help from the Experienced Injury Lawyers at Gerling Law
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions, don’t attempt to pursue a claim on your own. Let our Indiana wrongful death attorneys assist you. We understand the emotional and financial devastation you are experiencing. At Gerling Law, our team recognizes the challenges and complexities of the Indiana legal system. We are here to guide you through every step of the claims process. Our wrongful death lawyers will take care of all the details so you can concentrate on your family.
To learn more about how we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit, contact Gerling Law to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. With our decades of personal injury experience, we can help you get the compensation your family needs to start to move on with your life. Complete our free case review form online or call us at 1-888-GERLING. Remember, Go with Experience. Go with Gerling™.