Is There a Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Suit?

February 20, 2024 / Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience. Families often seek legal recourse by filing a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable. In such cases, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice and compensation for your loss. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding wrongful death claims, including the statute of limitations, to ensure your rights are protected.

If you need legal help with your wrongful death suit, the experienced lawyers at Stephenson Rife can help. Contact us today at (317) 680-2501.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is when the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party causes a person’s death. These claims can be filed against individuals, corporations, or entities responsible for the fatal incident. Wrongful death suits aim to provide financial compensation to the surviving family members for their losses. This may include medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional suffering.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Indianapolis, the following parties are typically eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

Wrongful Death of an Adult

In cases involving the wrongful death of an adult in Indiana, only a designated personal representative has the authority to initiate the legal action. Typically, this personal representative is the executor of the decedent’s will. However, the court will appoint a personal representative if the deceased did not leave a will.

It’s important to note that while the personal representative is the sole entity allowed to file the case, they do so on behalf of the surviving family members or the decedent’s estate. If the deceased was married or had children at the time of their passing, Indiana law permits the surviving spouse or surviving children to seek damages for their losses. Nevertheless, the personal representative is responsible for pursuing the wrongful death case for their benefit. If you are a surviving family member seeking guidance on filing a wrongful death lawsuit, our attorneys can provide a comprehensive explanation of Indiana’s legal procedures.

Wrongful Death of a Child

In the case of a child decedent in Indiana, the rules differ. According to Indiana law, a child is defined as an unmarried individual under 20 years of age. It can also extend to someone under 23 who was attending a postsecondary educational institution.

The circumstances surrounding the wrongful death of a child can lead to multiple parties being eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Either or both of the child’s parents can initiate the claim. In cases where the parents are divorced, the parent with legal custody of the child holds the right to file the claim. Additionally, the child’s legal guardian can file the claim if the parents no longer have parental rights or if they have passed away.

What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Death Suit in Indianapolis?

The statute of limitations is a time frame within which a lawsuit must be filed. In Indianapolis, as in many other jurisdictions, there are specific time limits for filing wrongful death claims. Being aware of these limitations is crucial, as failing to file within the time frame may result in losing your right to seek compensation.

In Indianapolis, the statute of limitations for wrongful death suits is generally two years from the date of the victim’s death. This means that you have a two-year window from the time of your loved one’s passing to initiate legal proceedings. It’s important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, and consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney can provide you with tailored advice based on the specifics of your case.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

While the standard statute of limitations for wrongful death suits in Indianapolis is two years, there are situations where exceptions may apply. These exceptions can extend or shorten the time frame for filing a claim, depending on the circumstances. Some common exceptions include:

  1. Discovery Rule: In cases where the cause of death or the responsible party was not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations may begin from the date the cause of death was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
  2. Tolling of the Statute: In certain situations, such as if the plaintiff is a minor or incapacitated, the statute of limitations may be temporarily suspended or “tolled” until the individual can legally file a lawsuit.
  3. Government Entities: When a government entity is involved, there may be specific notice requirements and shorter time frames for filing a wrongful death claim. It’s essential to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in dealing with cases involving government entities.

Types of Wrongful Death Compensation

Our attorneys are seasoned advocates in the courtroom, equipped to identify and counter the tactics employed by insurance companies seeking to minimize the compensation owed to you and your family. Through our extensive experience in this field, we have honed the ability to respond with carefully crafted arguments to protect your case.

Our primary objective is to assist you in securing the highest possible compensation. Depending on the specifics of your situation, including whether the deceased had a spouse, children, or other family members who depended on them financially, we will strive to recover damages.

Here are the types of wrongful death compensation available in Indianapolis:

  1. Funeral and Burial Expenses: This includes the costs associated with the deceased person’s funeral, cremation, burial, and related expenses. It aims to reduce the financial burden placed on the surviving family members.
  2. Medical Expenses: If the deceased person incurred medical expenses related to the incident before passing away, these costs may be recoverable through a wrongful death lawsuit.
  3. Loss of Financial Support: This compensation aims to account for the financial contributions the deceased would have made to their family had they survived. It considers factors such as the deceased person’s income, benefits, and potential for future earnings.
  4. Loss of Services and Support: This covers the value of services and support the deceased person provided to their family members, including household chores, childcare, and other responsibilities.
  5. Loss of Companionship and Consortium: This compensation addresses the emotional and psychological impact of losing a loved one, including the loss of companionship, love, and emotional support.
  6. Pain and Suffering: In cases where the deceased person experienced pain and suffering before their passing, compensation may be available to address this aspect.

Why You Should Contact an Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have experienced emotional or financial hardships following a wrongful death caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Stephenson Rife. While nothing can replace your lost loved one, Indiana law provides avenues for seeking compensation for the loss of affection and companionship. A lawsuit can restore your financial situation to what it was before your loss.

Case Investigation

Although investigating your case may be time-consuming, we take pride in our highly efficient methods. We aim to identify all parties responsible for your loved one’s passing. This may include negligent individuals, property owners, or government entities.

Evidence Gathering

We excel in the process of collecting evidence about potentially liable parties. This involves examining police reports, reviewing phone records, gathering eyewitness statements, and seeking expert testimonies to establish negligence.

Securing Adequate Benefits

In a wrongful death case, our initial step is to file insurance claims with the responsible party’s insurance company. Additionally, we assess the loss of companionship you and your family suffered.

Direct Communication with Insurance Companies

Initiating a wrongful death case by filing insurance claims against the responsible parties is crucial. However, there are instances where the responsible party may be uninsured or inadequately insured. It is essential that you not accept an initial offer from an insurance company. We can help you take legal action to ensure you receive the complete and just compensation you are entitled to.

Trial Representation

Our experienced wrongful death attorneys are fully prepared to take your case to court without hesitation. We are seasoned in litigation and have successfully handled numerous wrongful death suits. We will manage all the necessary paperwork and vigorously advocate for the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Speak to a Wrongful Death Suit Attorney Today

Losing a loved one is a painful experience, and seeking legal recourse through a wrongful death lawsuit is an important step in finding closure and justice. Understanding the statute of limitations for wrongful death suits in Indianapolis is crucial to protecting your legal rights.

If you believe you have a wrongful death case, it’s essential to seek the guidance of an experienced wrongful death attorney. Contact Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2501 for a free consultation, and let us help you seek the justice your loved one deserves.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

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