Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death suit is a civil action brought on behalf those whose loved one has died because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness or intentional act. Its purpose is to compensate them, to the extent possible, for their loss.
What kinds of acts are covered by a wrongful death claim?
There are many situations in which a death can occur through negligence or recklessness. Some examples are:
- Car or truck crashes
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Defective products
- Occupational accidents
- Dangerous drugs.
Who is entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit?
When the victim was an adult, the law in Indiana permits a lawsuit to be brought by the surviving spouse of the deceased; his or her children; and any other next of kin who were dependent on the deceased. If none of these relatives exist, a person who provided medical care or paid for funeral expenses can seek restitution for the expenses they incurred.
Is there a difference when the person who died was a child?
Yes. Indiana actually has a separate Child Wrongful Death Act, Ind. Code 34-23:2-1. It allows a wrongful action to be filed by the father and mother jointly or either of them; the parent to whom custody was awarded in a divorce; or the child’s guardian.
What is the definition of “child” under this Act?
For purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit, a child means an unmarried individual, without dependents, who is less than 20 years of age or is less than 23 and a student.
Is there a time limit for filing a wrongful death action?
The general statute of limitations for filing such a lawsuit in Indiana is two years. However, depending on whether the death resulted from medical malpractice, a defective product, or some other cause, the time might be calculated from the date of the act which led to the death or the date of the death itself. This is one reason it is important for families to contact an experienced Indiana wrongful death lawyer as soon as they suspect their loved one passed away under circumstances that include negligent, reckless or intentional acts.
What types of compensation are available to survivors under wrongful death suits?
Some of the damages that can be sought are:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of the victim’s income
- Loss of benefits such as pension and medical insurance due to the victim’s death
- Loss of companionship and affection
- Mental anguish
- Attorneys fees
- When brought under the Child Wrongful Death Act, money for psychological counseling for the family.
What about punitive damages to punish the person or company responsible for causing the death?
Punitive damages are not allowed in wrongful death cases in Indiana.
Have you ever handled any wrongful death cases?
Our firm has been honored to help numerous families struggling after the loss of a family member. Read about wrongful death cases. When you contact Stephenson Rife, your concerns will be met with compassionate and earnest listening. We’ll answer your questions forthrightly and tell you honestly whether we think your situation warrants legal action. Call 317-680-2501, but don’t delay – time passes quickly, even for a grieving family.