We are often asked whether Indiana limits the amount that may be recovered in a wrongful death case. The short answer is that there is a cap in some wrongful death actions, but in most wrongful death cases no limits apply.
Wrongful Death Act
The Wrongful Death Act, which is Indiana’s general wrongful death statute, only allows the personal representative of the dead person to bring an action. The action is brought to recover damages on behalf of the husband or wife, dependent kids, dependent next of kin, and service providers. There is no cap on damages under this law, although damages that are awarded for medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses must be reasonable.
Child Wrongful Death Act
The Child Wrongful Death Act applies only to those who are not married and have no dependents. There is also an age requirement, as the child must be either less than 20 years old or less than 23 years old and enrolled in some types of schooling. The Indiana General Assembly specifically defines the term “child” to include a viable fetus. There is no specific cap on damages under the Child Wrongful Death Act. However, time periods for which damages may be awarded are set by law.
Adult Wrongful Death Act
The only true cap on wrongful death damages applies in the third statute, the Adult Wrongful Death Act. This law applies when the person who died had no spouse, dependents, or kids, as defined in the Child Wrongful Death Act. The Adult Wrongful Death Act places an aggregate limit of $300,000 on total recoverable damages.
To read more about Indiana’s wrongful death laws, visit our earlier blog here.
In the unfortunate case of the death of a loved one, an experienced, compassionate attorney will work to protect your family’s legal rights and help you seek fair compensation for your loss. The Fort Wayne Wrongful Death Attorneys at Blackburn & Green offer free initial consultations at our office locations or at your home or hospital room. Call (800) 444-1112 or (260) 422-4400 to be connected with one of our 27 convenient office locations across Indiana, or fill out our online form to schedule a case evaluation.