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Claiming Damages for Death or Injury Resulting from Mishaps

Steve Wagner

Earlier this month, a fire at Lake Village House took the life of a resident. According to investigations carried out by the Lake Township Volunteer Fire Department and the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, the fire broke out at the victim’s home due to a water heater’s faulty power vent, located in the basement. The victim was asleep on the couch, when the fire broke out at night. The fire apparently came up to the kitchen on the main floor. The victim woke up, saw the smoke, and called the Lake Township Volunteer Fire Service. But unfortunately for the victim, a couch blocked the front door, and fire had engulfed the only other door to the outside, through the kitchen.

In such cases of death or even serious bodily injuries due to accidents and mishaps, the representative of the victim could initiate a case of wrongful death or injury due to negligence.

Success of the case would depend on many factors, such as other circumstances surrounding the accident, and the relevant laws. In this case, the general Wrongful Death Act and the Product Liability Act would apply. The Wrongful Death Act allows the representative to claim damages for medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses, attorney fees, loss of earnings, and also non-pecuniary damages such as loss of love, care, and affection.The Product Liability Act also makes the manufacturer liable for the harm caused by the product.

However, even when there is no doubt regarding the cause of death, securing damages may not be easy. The defendant is certain to dig up remote factors in an attempt to absolve himself/herself of the responsibility. In this case, the defendant may contend that the victim did not install the water heater according to the given guidelines, the victim neglected to have in place the safety precautions recommended by the manufacturer, the main cause of death was the couch blocking the main exit, or any other factor that may come to light.

Again, there would be technical obstacles. For instance, the Wrongful Death Act requires that the case be initiated by a personal representative, such as spouse, next-of-kin, or trust, within two years. Claiming for non-pecuniary damages such as loss of love, care, and affection would require proving dependency, and support by the deceased.

Since all these matters, including the amount of the award, are at the court’s discretion, it is important to prepare for the case as comprehensively as possible. Wagner Reese, with our array of skilled, experienced and competent Indiana wrongful death attorneys will represent you in the best possible manner and we will fight to get you the money you deserve.

Call us at (888) 204-8440 for a free evaluation of your case.

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