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Indianapolis Wrongful Death Attorneys

The unexpected loss of a loved one can leave a family with undue emotional and financial hardship. If someone you love has passed as a result of negligence, you may be able to recover damages that may help you and your family recover from the loss and hopefully move forward.

What Counts As Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that can be filed by the survivors of a deceased person when the negligent actions of another led to the decedent’s death. There are a number of scenarios for which a wrongful death claim can be brought against a liable party, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability

If there is a criminal case going forward against the person or entity responsible for your loved one’s death, it is still possible to bring a civil wrongful death lawsuit against them.

What To Know About Wrongful Death In Indiana

According to Indiana law, the family of a wrongful death victim can legally file a lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits are intended to compensate a family for the injury to the victim, as well as the loss of financial and emotional support. The survivors of a wrongful death victim can sue for medical expenses incurred for the care of the person who was injured as well as for funeral and burial expenses. The survivors can also be compensated for the earnings the decedent would have earned in the future.

Determining the decedent’s future earning capacity will likely require expert testimony. Additionally, the survival statute may allow a family to recover for the loss of care, comfort and society as a result of the death of their loved one.

Wrongful Death FAQs

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a situation where someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act. It is a civil action that can be brought on behalf of the deceased’s statutory beneficiaries.

Who Is Entitled To Wrongful Death Benefits?

Indiana permits the personal representative of the decedent’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The person or people who receive the proceeds from a wrongful death claim are governed by statute and are case-sensitive. Depending on the circumstances, the parents, spouse or children of the victim of a wrongful death may be the legal heirs. Friends, siblings, and even are not entitled to the proceeds from a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death estate is different from a regular estate in that it is not controlled by a will and creditors cannot make claims against wrongful death damages.

What Compensation May I Be Eligible To Receive After The Loss Of A Loved One?

An untimely death can prove shockingly expensive. No amount of money can bring someone back to life, but it can pay for funeral costs and other damages such as:

  • Hospital bills
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of love and affection

These are only a few examples. You can sit down with us to discuss the particulars and learn which other damages you could recover.

Are There Caps On Wrongful Death Damages?

There can be, depending on the circumstances. For example, an unmarried person with no living parents or children has a wrongful death claim for only the costs of funeral, burial and last medical expenses. That same person, if married, would have no cap on the amount of damages a jury could award for their spouse’s loss of love, support and affection. Although certain other legal caps, such as the medical malpractice caps or Indiana Tort Claims Act caps, could still apply.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations For Wrongful Death Cases In Indiana?

Yes. You must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s death. If you miss this deadline, you lose the right to recover compensation.

What Types Of Accidents Qualify For Wrongful Death Actions?

Any act caused by another party’s wrongful act or omission can count as a wrongful death accident. The following are the types of accidents that qualify for wrongful death actions:

Tragically, these accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Fortunately, we can help you through it.

Are Wrongful Death Damages Distributed Pursuant To A Will?

No.  A wrongful death claim does not go through a regular probate estate.  The damages are specifically set by statute to pay for last medical, funeral, & burial expenses and to certain surviving family members as set by statute.

Are Wrongful Death Damages Subject To Claims By The Deceased Person’s Creditors?

No.  A wrongful death claim does not go through a regular probate estate.  For the same reason that the proceeds are not distributed pursuant to a will, creditors have no legal claims to the proceeds of a wrongful death claim.

How Long Do I Have To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Indiana?

In Indiana, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the person’s death. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the death to ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines, especially if the claim involves a governmental entity because the Indiana Tort Claims Act puts additional requirements on the claimants.

What Kind Of Evidence Do I Need To Prove A Wrongful Death Claim In Indiana?

To prove a wrongful death claim in Indiana, you will need to provide evidence that the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act caused the death of your loved one. This may include medical records, witness statements, accident reports, expert reports/investigations, and other documentation.

How Is Compensation Distributed In A Wrongful Death Settlement?

The compensation in a wrongful death settlement is typically distributed to the surviving family members of the deceased person as set by statute. The specific distribution will depend on the individual circumstances of the case.

Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Punitive Damages are generally allowed in Indiana.  They are NOT, however, available in wrongful death cases because they are specifically excluded by the language of the wrongful death statute, Indiana Code 34-23-1-2.

Do I Need An Attorney For A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Indiana?

While it is not required to have an attorney for a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana, it is highly recommended. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Can A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed If The Deceased Person Did Not Have A Will?

Yes, a wrongful death lawsuit can still be filed even if the deceased person did not have a will.

Can A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed If The Deceased Person Was Partially At Fault For Their Own Death?

Yes, Indiana follows a comparative fault system, which means that a wrongful death lawsuit can still be filed even if the deceased person was partially at fault for their own death. However, the damages that can be recovered will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the deceased person.

Get Help After A Loved One’s Wrongful Death

The questions on this page are only the starting point. Our Indianapolis wrongful death attorneys at Ladendorf Fregiato & Bigler can sit down with you or speak with you on the phone to answer any other questions you have. You can schedule a complimentary consultation by calling 317-842-5800 or by using our online contact form. We are ready to help you.