How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?


July 1, 2019 / Wrongful Death

The unexpected death of someone you love turns your world upside down. The person who has always been there for you is gone, and the emotional and financial fallout is life-shattering. When your loss is something that could have been prevented — that’s due to the negligence or wrongful acts of another person or business — the toll may be even more difficult to bear.

How do you prove wrongful death? If you’ve lost a spouse, child, or parent and someone else is at fault, the Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers at Stephenson Rife will work hard to uncover the evidence, build an airtight case, and win you the damages you deserve. No amount of money will bring your loved one back, but you can hold the responsible party accountable.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to the death of an innocent person due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another person or entity. In Indiana, as in other states, the close relatives of the deceased are entitled to sue the party at fault and recoup damages. Examples of wrongful death cases include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Defective products
  • Workplace accidents.

How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

In order to have a legitimate wrongful death claim, you must be a close relative of the deceased. (Generally, parents, legal guardians, spouses, and children may sue.) In Indiana, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years, which, depending on the case, may be calculated from the date of the act that led to death or the date of death itself.

The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the deceased a certain “duty of care,” meaning they had a responsibility to keep the person safe or to refrain from inflicting harm. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant breached that duty, that the breach of duty caused your loved one’s death, and that you’ve suffered quantifiable damages as a result.

Take a motor vehicle wreck as an example. Your lawyer may argue that the defendant had a duty to operate his car in a manner that didn’t endanger other people on the road, that he breached that duty by getting behind the wheel intoxicated, and that this reckless decision caused his car to crash into your relative’s vehicle, leading to your loved one’s death.

Damages in wrongful death cases may include:

  • Medical expenses incurred before death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Reasonable counseling fees for the family
  • Uninsured debt incurred by a child
  • Costs of administering a child’s estate.

For cases in which the deceased was an unmarried adult with no dependants, Indiana caps damages at $300,000. There are no caps in the state.

Pain and suffering damages are generally not allowed in wrongful death cases, but you may be compensated for loss of love or companionship.

If your loved one has been killed and you believe another party is responsible, call Mike Stephenson for compassionate representation that gets results.

Featured Posts

  • Car AccidentsCan you sue for lower back injuries in a car accident?
    In Vehicle Accidents
    Car accidents can be frightening and horrific experiences, resulting in PTSD and significant physical injuries. One of the most common car accident injuries is lower back trauma. The spine is a delicate and essential collection of nerves and vertebrae. When you are thrust against a steering wheel, seat belt, windshield or other stationary object upon collision, the spine is jarred or bruised, resulting in extreme pain, numbness and […]
  • Brain InjuryTypes of brain injuries caused by medical malpractice
    In Catastrophic Injuries
    It is devastating when you take your loved one to the hospital to be treated or to a nursing home to be cared for only to have them be seriously injured or die due to medical malpractice. The very doctors, nurses and medical personnel charged with healing and protecting your loved one wind up harming them due to negligence or insufficient skills. The types of medical malpractice that can result in brain injuries include: Surgical […]
  • Spinal Injury X-RayWhat is the average settlement for a spinal cord injury?
    In Catastrophic Injuries
    If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Spinal cord injuries can be serious, and even catastrophic, which means significant medical bills, lost wages and other unanticipated expenses. You should not have to bear these costs alone, especially if you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence. Because every case is different, there is not an […]

Archives