The unexpected death of a loved one is a devastating event that no one can be truly prepared for. The emotional toll of such a tragedy can be much harder to bear when another person or entity is to blame for your loss.
Money will never replace your loved one; however, a wrongful death lawsuit can allow the family to fight for justice on behalf of their loved one by holding the responsible party accountable. Talk with a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis from Wade Law about your situation.
Types of Incidents That May Qualify As Wrongful Death
Any incident that would qualify for a personal injury lawsuit could qualify for a wrongful death claim. All it takes is someone’s wrongful act or omission to kill an innocent. If this is your situation, you may be able to make a claim.
The kinds of incidents that lead to wrongful death cases we’ve seen in our offices include, but aren’t limited to:
- Vehicle fatalities
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products and drugs
- Violent criminal acts that caused a death
- Fatal premises liability incidents, such as unguarded pools
- Fatal workplace accidents
The wrongful death lawyers in Indianapolis at Wade Law Firm can help you determine whether you have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit. All it takes is one confidential and free call and a bit of your time to tell your story.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Indianapolis, call (815) WADE-LAW
How Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Indiana, the personal representative for the decedent’s estate is the person who files a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative must file the wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of death. Usually, this is a family member.
One exception is in the death of a minor child. In this case, the parents or legal guardians with custody are permitted to file a lawsuit on behalf of their child. The parents must have custody; a parent without it cannot file.
If the decedent died without naming a personal representative, you may wish to speak with a probate lawyer first to get one declared, then work with that representative to file a wrongful death claim. If you’re willing to be responsible, you could take on that position if you qualify.
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Who Qualifies As a Personal Representative for a Wrongful Death Case?
If the deceased victim had the foresight to write a will, it is quite likely there will be a named personal representative there. That will be the first place the court will look. Any adult with the capacity to understand the responsibilities of settling an estate can qualify.
For minor children who have died in a wrongful death situation, the parents or legal guardians with custody have the authority to act as a personal representative in these matters. Non-custodial parents do not have standing to bring a wrongful death claim under Indiana law.
If neither of these cases applies, it is then up to the probate court to assign a representative. A probate lawyer can help you make a case to get assigned this responsibility. If the court grants you the position, you can move forward with a wrongful death case.
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Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
To win your case or your claim, your wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis must prove that the at-fault party was negligent. That is, they did something or let a condition exist that could kill someone that a reasonable person wouldn’t have done.
We also have to show negligence was a cause of the death. Freak accidents happen that can kill, but don’t qualify as wrongful death. There could be no negligence, or it could be shown that the fatal accident wasn’t due to whatever negligence was discovered.
Once we prove negligence, then it’s a matter of proving what damages happened because of the accident. This isn’t just the personal tragedy of losing a loved one, but the financial costs of handling the final affairs as well.
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What Types of Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are three main kinds of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The first are the economic damages related to the death. This includes hospital bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and legal expenses. Parents can also sue for loss of companionship and grief counseling.
Indiana does allow compensation for certain kinds of non-economic damages in wrongful death claims. However, under Indiana Code § 34-23-1-2, there is a maximum limit of $300,000 for lost love and companionship. After paying back debts, the remaining money from the suit can be split among the dependents of the deceased.
Let Us Help You in This Time of Great Need
We extend our deepest sympathies to you for your loss. The Indianapolis wrongful death attorneys at Wade Law will fight to win compensation to help support the decedent’s surviving dependents. For a free and confidential consultation, call today or contact us online.
Call or text (815) WADE-LAW or complete a Free Case Evaluation form