Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful Death Dan - March 4, 2020
Wrongful death written on piece of paper on desk

A wrongful death occurs when someone is killed due to another person’s wrongful action or inaction.  Under Indiana law, a surviving member of the victim’s family or a beneficiary can file a lawsuit for wrongful death in a number of circumstances. Examples include a supervised activity (like a school field trip) to a car crash to medical malpractice to murder. To find out whether you have a claim, you should speak to an experienced Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can.

Whether the death occurs with intent or negligence, the surviving family members cannot get their loved one back. These are tough and trying times, typically filled with anger and sadness. Achieving some sense of justice can help with healing and closure.

How to Win a Wrongful Death Claim

Winning a wrongful death claim does not require a claimant to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was at fault.  It requires a lower legal standard of proof, known as a “preponderance of the evidence.” Establishing something by a preponderance of the evidence simply means proving that something is more likely than not.  It can be thought of as the difference between being 100% sure (beyond a reasonable doubt) and 51% sure (preponderance of the evidence).

It is important to comply with all state statutes that affect a wrongful death claim.  All states have wrongful death statutes that prescribe the procedures for filing a claim.  In addition, wrongful death claims will be subject to a state’s statute of limitations, which, in Indiana, is 2 years from the date of death in most circumstances.  If you think you may have a wrongful death claim, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Fort Wayne Wrongful Death Attorney before it is too late.

What Damages Can be Won with Wrongful Death Claim

The following are brief explanations of types of damages that may be available in a wrongful death claim.

Pecuniary (Financial) Damages

Pecuniary damages usually make up the bulk of survivors’ recovery in a wrongful death claim. They typically include:

  • Cost of medical care and funeral expenses
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of services, love, care, and affection
  • Loss of training and guidance of dependent children
  • Loss of companionship, parental guidance, and household services
  • Counseling expenses
  • Uninsured debts
  • Cost of the legal expenses

A claimant will have to offer evidence to support the claim, which often involves expert testimony.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded if the defendant’s behavior was so bad that the jury feels the need to deter others doing what the defendant did in the future.  As in most states, these are not allowed in Indiana for wrongful death suits. They are, however, possible in personal injury cases in some circumstances.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Fort Wayne Wrongful Death Attorney

The loss of a loved one is a traumatic event. The lawyers of  Blackburn & Green are here to fight for you through these difficult times and are committed to seeking as much compensation as they can for survivors under Indiana law. Call (260) 422-4400 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer in Fort Wayne.

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