Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After an Injury Becomes Fatal?

When a loved one is injured, the last thing you want to think about is how it could become fatal. But sometimes, injuries are so severe they cause permanent damage or death days or weeks later. When your loved one dies from injuries sustained in an accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses under Indiana’s wrongful death statutes.

Wrongful Death Case Types

There are many instances in which you may file a wrongful death claim against an individual or entity responsible for the loss of your loved one after their injuries become fatal:

●      Car Accidents: An accident that occurs through negligence, such as a car wreck caused by a reckless driver or someone driving under the influence of alcohol. Over 25% of drivers involved in fatal collisions were driving recklessly, and dangerous driving collisions accounted for 30% of traffic deaths in 2019.

●      Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice or negligence cases occur when hospitals or doctors fail to take the actions a reasonable healthcare provider with the same knowledge would. Examples include using defective medical devices to treat patients or needlessly delaying medical treatment after an injury, causing harm. In these cases, proving the hospital’s , its staff, and/or your doctor’s liability can be a challenge without the help of an attorney.

●      Workplace Accidents: Workplace accidents are common in manufacturing plants and construction sites with unsafe working conditions and lack of PPE, and often resulting in serious injuries that can lead to death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration identifies ten standards for areas where inspections must frequently occur to prevent these accidents.

●      Product Liability: Defective car components and children’s toys can commonly lead to fatal accidents. If a car part fails, it could cause a crash. A child may swallow small components or ingest part of a toy that is improperly attached or contains a harmful material, leading to illness or death.

Your ability to file a wrongful death claim and the amount of damages you may receive is regulated by Indiana’s wrongful death laws. A wrongful death attorney can walk you through the legal process to better understand how to get fair compensation for your loss. 

How is Wrongful Death Defined in Indiana?

Indiana has three statutes that govern wrongful death:

●      General Wrongful Death Act: Indiana’s wrongful death statute states that if the wrongful act or omission has caused death, the personal representative may pursue legal action within two years of the wrongful death. The law does not set a cap on the amount of compensation under the Wrongful Death Act. However, compensation for medical and burial expenses must be appropriate. Proceeds from a wrongful death settlement go to the surviving spouse or the decedent’s dependents.

●      Adult Wrongful Death Act: Under Indiana’s Adult Wrongful Death Act, an adult wrongful death claim can be filed if the person who died was not married and had no children or dependents. The non-economic damages are capped at $300,000.

●      Child Wrongful Death Act: If a person is under the age of 20, or is under 23 and a student in certain educational institutions such as a technical school or a postsecondary school, the Child’s Wrongful Death Act may be invoked. There are no caps on how much can be given for this compensation except for medical misconduct.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Indiana, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This might be a family member or an attorney named the executor by the person who died. If a child passes away, one or both parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

A parent or child who lost a loved one may file for damages if they have shown that their relationship with the deceased was substantial and continuous. When more than one person is eligible for damages, the court will decide how the money awarded should be divided among everyone who has filed claims on behalf of their deceased loved ones’ estate.

How Much Compensation Can You Get from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

It’s possible to recover the following damages in a wrongful death lawsuit involving the death of an adult with a surviving spouse or dependents:

  • Loss of the adult person’s love and companionship
  • Lost wages of the deceased adult person
  • Reasonable medical, burial, and funeral expenses arising from the death of an adult caused by a wrongful act or omission
  • Reasonable costs of medical care from the date of injury through the date of death

For a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a death of a child, damages can be awarded for:

  • Loss of the child’s services
  • Loss of the child’s love and companionship
  • Expenses for the child’s funeral and burial
  • Reasonable medical and psychological counseling expenses for parents or younger siblings of the deceased child because of the child’s death

Contact an Indianapolis Wrongful Death Attorney

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers to learn more about your legal rights after a wrongful death. We can discuss the details of your case and answer your questions about receiving fair compensation for the at-fault party’s negligence.