What qualifies as a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful Death Dan - June 15, 2018


What qualifies as a wrongful death?

One of the worst experiences a person can have involves the death of a loved one. For this reason, a wrongful death can be one of the most frustrating cases that one can possibly fight.

The specific laws regarding wrongful death vary from state to state. In the state of Indiana, it is defined as a situation where “the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” Essentially, it can be treated as a personal injury lawsuit where the person who has been injured is now deceased. Because the person who has been injured cannot be the plaintiff for the case, the estate of the injured person serves as the plaintiff. Essentially, their goal is to establish liability on the part of the defendant, who they believe displayed negligence that ended up causing the death of their loved one. A wrongful death claim is not a criminal lawsuit, but a civil one. A criminal lawsuit can be filed in addition against the person who is believed to be guilty for causing the death, but this would be entirely independent of the wrongful death claim itself. In the state of Indiana, the only person who can file a wrongful death claim is the personal representative of the estate of the injured/deceased party. It is possible, however, for damages to be awarded to more than one person, depending on the specific case. There are many people who are strongly affected by the death of a loved one, including children, parents, siblings, etc.

It is important to keep in mind that there is a time limit for the filing of a wrongful death claim. In the state of Indiana, this time limit is two years from the date of death of the deceased person. It is very rare that the court will be willing to hear the matter if the family does not make sure to file the claim on time. If they are able to file a claim on time, they will be suing for liability that will come in the form of civil damages. These damages are meant to compensate the state, as well as surviving family members who have been affected by the death. In the state of Indiana, the claim can cover the following expenses: medical and hospital expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and any lost benefits and wages that would have been earned by the deceased had they survived. Additionally, damages can cover the costs of the wrongful death lawsuit itself. However, the state of Indiana does not allow damages that are based on grief suffered by family members, as this is not seen to be measurable in terms of monetary amounts. In adult wrongful death actions, there is a $300,000 cap on damages.

If you are dealing with the death of a loved one and think that you may be able to file a wrongful death suit, you should talk to an experienced attorney to see what your options are. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to help you through this difficult time with compassion and with the knowledge and experience to put together the best case possible. Blackburn & Green has handled many of these cases. Contact them at 1-800-444-1112 for a free consultation at one of their 27 offices.

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