What You Should Know About Wrongful Death Suits in Indiana
Wrongful death claims vary significantly by state. In some states, wrongful death claims are brought on behalf of the surviving family members, while in others the claims are brought on behalf of the deceased party’s estate. Who can bring a wrongful death claim and what damages are available depend on the law of the state in which the claim is brought. Read on to learn about how wrongful death claims work in Indiana. If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one in Indianapolis, call a zealous Indiana wrongful death lawyer for help recovering compensation for the devastation your family has suffered.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim available after the “wrongful act or omission of another” causes the death of a victim. Typically, wrongful death claims arise after a negligence-based incident such as a car accident, medical malpractice, or an intentional act such as assault. A wrongful death claim is much like a personal injury claim, except the claim is brought by the survivors of the victim rather than by the victim on their own behalf.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?
In Indiana, the parties to a wrongful death lawsuit differ depending upon the age of the decedent. If the victim was a child, the wrongful death claim must be filed by one or both of the child’s parents. If the parents are divorced, the claim must be filed by the parent with legal custody. If the child’s parents are deceased or have otherwise been stripped of parental rights, the claim may be brought by the child’s legal guardian.
In Indiana, a “child” is legally defined as one of three things: (1) an unmarried person under the age of 20; (2) an unmarried person under the age of 23 who is currently enrolled in tertiary education (college, trade school, etc.); or (3) a child that has reached viability.
If the victim was an adult, the wrongful death claim must be brought by the personal representative of the victim’s estate.
What Damages Can You Collect in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The damages available in a wrongful death suit also vary depending upon whether the victim was a child or an adult. Whether the victim was a child or an adult, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit can seek damages to compensate for the medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident as well as for funeral and burial expenses.
If the victim was a child, the parents can also seek damages for their loss of the child’s services, companionship, and love. If the victim was an unmarried adult with no dependents, the estate representative can sue for damage caused by the surviving family’s loss of the decedent’s love and companionship, up to $300,000. If the victim was an adult with dependents, the plaintiff can also claim for loss of the decedent’s future earnings as well as loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, guidance, training, and care. Burial, funeral, and medical expenses will be paid to the estate to recoup costs, while the remainder will be distributed to the decedent’s spouse, children, and other heirs.
Call for Help Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in Indianapolis
If someone you care about was killed by someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing in Indiana, contact the skilled, effective Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers at Lee Cossell & Feagley, LLP for a free consultation on your case at 316-631-5151.