When one of your loved ones died because of another party’s criminal, negligent, or reckless conduct, your family could seek compensation in civil court. By bringing a wrongful death lawsuit, you could hold the responsible party accountable for your loved one’s death. Speak with a Beech Grove wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
With the help of a compassionate personal injury attorney, you and your family could achieve the financial stability your loved one would want for you. Although money is small comfort when you are grieving, having the resources to pursue your loved one’s dreams for their family is a way to honor their memory.
A wrongful death action is a lawsuit the deceased person’s family files in civil court seeking monetary damages. The target of the lawsuit is the party whose negligent, reckless, or criminal actions caused the event. A wrongful death lawsuit could be appropriate in various situations. A Beech Grove attorney represents families who lost loved ones in the following situations:
If someone was the victim of a violent assault, the person who committed the assault could be liable to the family for the victim’s wrongful death. The owner of the property where the assault occurred could also be liable in some circumstances.
Sometimes a death leads to criminal prosecution, as is often the case in fatal vehicle accidents and assaults. The criminal proceedings are separate from a civil wrongful death lawsuit. A family could bring a wrongful death case even if the person who caused the death has no criminal liability.
Procedures for filing and collecting damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated. The first thing to decide is who may bring the lawsuit seeking damages. A Beech Grove wrongful death attorney could help a family determine the correct person to file the action in a specific case. A parent must bring the lawsuit when the decedent is a child. The law defines a child in this context as:
A viable fetus is also a child under this statute. If the child’s parents are divorced, the parent with legal custody must file the lawsuit. The child’s legal guardian must bring the action if the parents are both deceased or lost their parental rights.
When the decedent is an adult, their estate’s personal representative must bring the lawsuit. The representative is the person the probate court named to manage the decedent’s estate – or the executor if the decedent left a Will.
The damages that a liable party must pay in a wrongful death also depend on the decedent’s age and the relationship between the decedent and the surviving family members. Indiana has separate statutes describing each situation, which a Beech Grove accidental death lawyer could further explain.
If an adult dies and leaves behind a surviving spouse, dependent children, or other dependents, the law allows the family to claim the decedent’s medical expenses related to the fatal accident and reasonable funeral and burial expenses. Damages include the income the decedent would have earned and shared with the dependents over their expected working life. Family members can also receive compensation for loss of the decedent’s love and affection.
Damages if the decedent had no dependents include only their medical expenses related to the fatal accident and funeral expenses. If the decedent left non-dependent parents or children, those family members could claim damages for the loss of the decedent’s love and affection.
Indiana Code § 34-23-2-1 allows parents to seek damages for the child’s medical costs relating to the fatal incident and funeral expenses. They also could claim compensation for the loss of their child’s love, affection, companionship, and household services. Damages could cover counseling for the parents and the child’s minor siblings, as well as attorney’s fees.
If another party’s carelessness or violent act caused a fatal injury to your loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit is a way to hold them accountable. You could bring a civil claim even if prosecutors do not pursue the matter criminally.