Wrongful Death Lawyer in Indiana
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Indiana Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you recently lost a loved one as a result of someone else's negligent or reckless behavior in Indiana, you may need to speak with an Indiana wrongful death damages attorney.
While nothing can undo the hurt and loss that you may be experiencing, a wrongful death lawyer can help you to recover the compensation you may be entitled to, which can cover the costs you’ve endured due to this unexpected tragedy while also giving you the means to move forward with your life.
Specifically, a wrongful death lawyer in Indiana can help you navigate the legal process and determine the types of damages that you may be eligible to recover. The support of a qualified and dedicated attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case, particularly when your family may be dealing with the fallout from this accident and are attempting to determine what your new life looks like going forward.
No amount of money can ever replace a loved one that you have lost in a preventable accident, but the law does protect your legal rights to recover compensation and may be a powerful support system for you as you proceed forward. The support of a qualified and dedicated attorney can help you avoid many common pitfalls in a wrongful death case. There is a great deal at stake for the future of your family when you start a wrongful death claim, and an attorney who has ample experience in Indiana wrongful death law could be the difference necessary to recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
To learn more, contact Morgan & Morgan, America’s largest personal injury law firm, for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We can discuss your case and your legal options as you take your first step toward recovery.
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What Indiana Statutes Address Wrongful Death Damages?
The extent and nature of damages recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana are dependent on the status of the decedent at the time they passed away and his or her survivors when the person passes away. Indiana Code 34-23-1-1 determines actions for wrongful death generally and Indiana Code 34-23-2-1 governs the wrongful death of a child, whereas Indiana Code 34-23-1-2 covers the wrongful death of an unmarried adult without dependents.
Having a legal adviser to help talk to you about the different applications of these Indiana wrongful death damages laws can assist you with determining whether you have grounds to pursue filing such a lawsuit and the different provisions that may apply.
If you're not sure if your ongoing wrongful death case meets the grounds to start a lawsuit in Indiana, this is a great opportunity to meet with a qualified attorney who can walk you through that process. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have extensive experience in reviewing these kinds of cases and helping to direct craving family members to their next steps.
When Can a Personal Representative File a Case?
When the death of a person has been caused by a wrongful omission or action of another party, the personal representative appointed to handle the administration of the deceased's estate can file an action against that party. This is intended to represent the fact that the person who passed away might have been eligible to file an action against the responsible party for an injury due to that same omission or act.
Indiana's General Wrongful Death Act (GWDA) has been revised several times since it was originally enacted in 1881. Recoverable funds under the wrongful death act include reasonable hospital medical burial and funeral expenses, as well as the lost earnings of the deceased person due to the wrongful act or the omission of some act. Indiana's courts have typically found that a surviving spouse, children, or other next of kin dependents all maintain some right to damage recovery for things like loss of affection or love from the deceased party.
What Is a Personal Representative?
A personal representative is an individual who may also be referred to as an executor, and the primary role of this individual is to handle all probate and estate administration tasks. Depending on the value and number of assets inside someone's estate, this could be an extensive process that requires a great deal of care and preparation. Before appointing someone as your personal representative, be aware of this level of responsibility and make sure that this person is comfortable taking on these roles if necessary.
A personal representative or executor who is dealing with the fallout from a wrongful death will have much more responsibility and many tasks to keep track of than someone handling the transfer of a few assets in another case.
Your personal representative can be appointed within your estate planning will, and if no will exists, the court is responsible for identifying this person and appointing them to that role.
What Benefits Are Paid Out to the Estate?
Damages for the funeral, medical, and even burial expenses apply specifically to the estate. The remaining damages given in a wrongful death case in Indiana, however, are paid out for the benefit of surviving dependents only, to be distributed in the same manner as the personal property of the decedent. Under the Indiana wrongful death act, attorney fees are not recoverable when the decedent passes away with living descendants.
What About Non-Dependent Children?
Dependent family members of a wrongful death victim are eligible to seek damages for loss of love/affection, but this does not apply to parents of those lost to the negligence of another or non-dependent children. The legislature determined in 1999 that family members of an adult with no dependents who passed away because of another person's negligence should also receive damages for loss of love/companionship.
How Is Wrongful Death Described in Indiana Law?
Indiana's wrongful death statute relates to the cause of a wrongful act. It can also be an omission of a person, ultimately leading to someone's fatal injuries. Many different kinds of instances can form the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit, such as medical malpractice and negligence-associated incidents like a vehicle or truck accident or intentional act like a crime.
Much like a personal injury lawsuit allows an injured victim to recover compensation for the injuries they sustained due to a preventable accident, a wrongful death claim is entitled to compensate parties for the losses of a decedent who cannot bring a claim on their own behalf. Bear in mind that if a criminal charge also applies to the case at hand, this is managed separately than the personal injury wrongful death lawsuit. One single act, however, can lead to a wrongful death claim and criminal charges.
Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Suit In Indiana?
Indiana law outlines who is able to open a wrongful death claim, and this primarily depends on whether the person who passed away was a child or an adult when the death occurred. For adults, the deceased party's family members may be eligible to open a wrongful death lawsuit. However, only the executor or personal representative of that deceased's estate can open a wrongful death claim.
In a wrongful death lawsuit that is related to a deceased child, the case has to be filed by either both or one of the kid's parents. If the child's parents are no longer married, the parent who maintains legal custody must file that case. If both of the parents have had parental rights terminated or are deceased, then the case can only be started by the guardian for the child. Children are defined as unmarried individuals without any dependents who are younger than 20, a fetus that has reached viability, or a person under 23 who is not married and is enrolled in a career, college, technical school, or similar program.
How Long After Someone's Death Can We Open a Wrongful Death Claim?
Each state, including Indiana, has specific rules about how long after someone's death you have to open a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death lawsuits have to be started under a specific window known as the statute of limitations. In Indiana, the statute of limitations cap is no more than two years beyond the day the person passed away. This deadline applies to nearly all cases and cannot be extended except in rare circumstances.
Do I Really Need an Attorney for a Wrongful Death Case?
There are numerous kinds of situations where you may be curious about whether or not you need an attorney to assist you with compensation in a wrongful death case. Wrongful death cases in Indiana are extremely complicated and often require the insight of a qualified and dedicated lawyer. The right attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of the case by explaining your legal rights to you and helping you to determine the best course of action moving forward.
Your lawyer is a powerful advocate for every aspect of your personal injury claim and remains committed to doing everything they can to help you with the outcome of your case. You deserve to have someone who is knowledgeable about this legal process and who cares about the future for your family.
If you need to learn more about Indiana wrongful death damages, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free case evaluation.