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Losing a loved one is never an easy experience to go through, especially when the death is sudden and preventable. Wrongful death happens when a person is killed because of another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct. If your loved one was killed under these circumstances, you may be eligible to bring an Indiana wrongful death lawsuit. 

Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?

A monetary award cannot replace your loved one; however, the law does not have a more effective remedy to offer you for your loss. An Indiana wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that allows the family to seek justice on behalf of their deceased loved one.

The monetary award can help support the deceased’s surviving dependents. In some cases, the lawsuit may be used to serve as an example to others that the behavior that caused the death will not be tolerated and there are consequences. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?

In Indiana, if the deceased is an adult, the personal representative (often referred to as the executor of the estate) or the deceased’s estate is the person who files a wrongful death lawsuit. This person is usually the surviving spouse, an adult child, sibling, or parent. Either or both parents may file for a deceased child. 

What Is the Average Settlement for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlement?

No two wrongful death cases are alike, which means settlements vary depending on the circumstances of the lawsuit.

Factors such as the age of the deceased, their earning potential, medical treatment at the time of death, and more may be taken into consideration. Indiana caps wrongful death awards by juries for people without dependents at $300,000. 

The following are some of the damages you may be able to recover.

Lost of Financial Support

These damages are especially important when the deceased was the primary provider for the household. Compensation covers the income that the deceased would have provided from their future employment earnings to support dependents. 

Medical Expenses

Costs of medical care can vary greatly depending on whether the deceased person was receiving medical care for the injury or illness that ultimately led to their death.

Doctors, hospitals, diagnostic services, and pharmacies must all receive compensation, despite the outcome of treatment. 

Loss of Parental Guidance

Monetary awards cannot come close to adequate compensation for losing a parent. Surviving minors may receive financial compensation in an attempt to make up for not having their parent present to raise them and guide them. 

Loss of Affection and Care

This segment of wrongful death damages is also called “loss of consortium.” It pertains to the loss of a significant other and all the emotional and physical components of a relationship.

This compensation may be hard to quantify. The surviving spouse should be prepared to answer a lot of questions about the happiness of their marriage. 

Household Service Contribution

Running a household is difficult even with multiple people contributing. Maintaining a home, caring for children, doing chores, preparing meals, and all other things that we often take for granted are relevant in your Indiana wrongful death lawsuit. 

Burial Expenses

Funeral and burial expenses can get expensive and may be covered under your Indiana wrongful death lawsuit damages.   

Legal Fees

If you succeed in your wrongful death claim, the court will likely grant attorney fees to be paid by the defendant. Legal fees are not assessed until after the verdict. 

Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

Not every accidental death that occurs is a wrongful death. To succeed in your Indiana wrongful death cause of action, all the following elements must be satisfied: 

  • A person died;
  • A negligent or intentional act caused the death to occur;
  • Surviving family members incur losses as a result of the death; and
  • Appointment of a personal representative of the estate.  

There are many ways that wrongful death can occur. Circumstances vary with every case, and it is important to understand causation. Here are some common circumstances that may lead to a wrongful death cause of action:

  • Vehicle or airplane accident, 
  • Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances,
  • Criminal activity, 
  • Premises accident, 
  • Death during a supervised activity, and
  • Medical malpractice. 

The most difficult component of your Indiana Wrongful Death case is proving that the action of the party, whether negligent or intentional, is what led to the death of the deceased. Without the action, death would not have occurred. 

How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?

Wrongful death claims in Indiana can be complicated, and there are a lot of things to take into consideration. An experienced personal injury attorney can conduct an independent investigation into the death of your loved one to ensure that you have all the evidence necessary to prove your case.

One very important benefit of hiring an attorney early is that they can help you accurately determine how much your claim is worth. This could require extensive evidence gathering, including witness testimony. 

According to the Indiana statute of limitations, you must file your claim no later than two years after the death occurred. Failing to file within that time frame could bar you from ever filing the wrongful death lawsuit.

Your attorney can make sure all your paperwork is submitted in a timely manner, conduct settlement negotiations, and litigate if necessary. 

Contact Us Today

Navigating the legal system is difficult at best. Gerling Law has been serving the legal needs of Indiana for over 50 years. We pride ourselves on treating each client with compassion and respect.

What you are going through is undoubtedly difficult and painful. We are here to fight on your behalf for what you deserve. Contact us today for your case evaluation.

Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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