The law provides that when one person is injured due to another person’s negligence, the injured party is deserving of compensation from the wrongful party. But what happens when an accident victim’s injuries result in an unfortunate death? The victim’s surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for the unimaginable loss they’ve sustained.
Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Indiana law defines a wrongful death as any death that is caused by the wrongdoing of another person – whether by negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Wrongful death situations can arise in any circumstance – car accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and in all other types of personal injury lawsuits.
But while wrongful death cases arise from similar circumstances as personal injury lawsuits, they represent a separate and distinct type of legal action that requires consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The biggest difference between a wrongful death lawsuit and a personal injury lawsuit is in the type of damages being sought. A personal injury lawsuit is designed to compensate an injured person for their injuries and associated costs, while a wrongful death lawsuit usually does not include compensation for the victim’s injuries.
Instead, a wrongful death lawsuit is designed to compensate the victim’s surviving family members for their losses. When a loved one passes away, there are oftentimes economic damages felt by a family that can continue for years after the death occurs. Because of those damages, wrongful death lawsuits are designed to ensure that a victim’s family is not financially impacted by their loved one’s death in the long term.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Indiana law provides specific rules about the types of damages that are available in wrongful death lawsuits. While the damages available in your case may vary depending on the specific facts, the most common types of damages sought in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses
- Loss of companionship and family affection
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Costs of counseling for family members
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In addition to strict requirements on the types of damages available, Indiana law also requires that certain individuals file a wrongful death lawsuit. Beyond these authorized parties, a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be filed. The reason for restricting who can file is so that damages are only recovered by the people who were directly harmed by the loss of life.
In cases involving adults, only the administrator of the deceased person’s estate (sometimes called the executor) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Usually, this person is named in a will, but if a person dies without a will, the administrator is their next surviving family member – usually a spouse or parents.
In cases involving children, who do not have legal estates to be administered, a lawsuit can be filed by the victim’s surviving parents or legal guardian.
Contact a Carmel Wrongful Death Attorney
While no grieving person ever wants to speak to an attorney, our team at Wagner Reese regularly represents families in wrongful death lawsuits. In fact, it is one of our specialty areas and we’re ready to assist you and your family in seeking justice on behalf of your lost loved one.
Our team of wrongful death attorneys at Wagner Reese has more than 150 years of combined legal experience, all dedicated to assisting Indiana accident victims and their families. We have locations in Indianapolis, Carmel, Evansville, Fort Wayne, West Lafayette, and Champaign for your convenience. We understand the devastating and unique nature of wrongful death lawsuits, and we’re ready to assist you and your family.
Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.