Wrongful death occurs in tragic accidents when a life is lost because of another person’s negligent, reckless or other wrongful conduct. If you have lost a loved one in these circumstances, no amount of money can undo the death, but you may be entitled to hold responsible parties accountable and recover compensation for your family’s financial security through an Indiana wrongful death claim.
Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me File a Claim?
Under Indiana law, when someone’s death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representative of the estate of the victim may file a lawsuit against the person or entity that caused the death, provided the victim would have had legal grounds to sue if he or she had survived.
According to the state wrongful death statute (IC 34-23-1-1), a wrongful death claim must be filed within 2 years of the death of the victim. This is known as the statute of limitations.
In the case of the wrongful death of a child, either or both parents may file a wrongful death claim. The parent who has legal custody must file the claim if the parents of the deceased child are divorced. If the legal rights of the parents have been terminated, or both parents are deceased, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the guardian of the deceased child.
Bloomington Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You Recover Damages
The amount of damages that can be recovered in wrongful death claims is determined by a jury or judge. Damages may include:
- Reasonable medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost earnings of the deceased
- Loss of benefits the deceased would have received
- Loss of the love and companionship of the person who died
Damages recovered for medical, hospital and funeral expenses go to the estate of the deceased for payment of those bills. The remaining damages are distributed by the personal representative of the estate. If more than one person is awarded damages, the court will determine how the funds should be distributed.
Wrongful death damages may be awarded to:
- Widow or widower and dependent children, if any, or dependent next of kin; or if none exist,
- Nondependent parent or nondependent child.
Types of Accidents That Lead to Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death is a concept involving civil liability for a person’s death. Accidents that are caused by the breach of someone else’s duty to exercise reasonable care can form the basis of wrongful death civil lawsuits.
Types of accidents that commonly result in wrongful death claims include:
- Car accidents: As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 30,057 people died in traffic accidents in a single recent year. Driver negligence is a major contributing factor in a large percentage of car accidents.
- Bicycle accident: Drivers often fail to see or yield the right-of-way to bicyclists, causing accidents. According to NHTSA, 743 bicyclists were killed in addition to the 48,000 who were injured in traffic crashes in a recent year.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians are completely vulnerable to injuries in collisions with motor vehicles. NHTSA reports that in a recent year, 13 pedestrians were killed every day in due to a pedestrian accident across the nation.
- Truck accidents: When drivers of tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks fail to exercise reasonable care and cause accidents, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians may suffer fatal injuries. Of the 3,964 fatalities in collisions involving large trucks in a single recent year, only 17 percent of the victims were occupants of large commercial trucks, while 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles and 11 percent were bicyclists or pedestrians.
- Boating accidents: Nine people were killed in Indiana boating accidents in a single recent year. Fatal boating accidents can give rise to wrongful death claims when they result from negligence on the part someone other than the victim.
- Dog bites: There were 42 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S. in a recent year. Of the victims, 48 percent were children age 13 or younger. Among the adults killed by dogs that year, 73 percent were 50 or older. Strict liability applies to dog bites in Indiana, and dog owners can be held liable in most cases for deaths caused by vicious attacks by their animals.
Bloomington Wrongful Death Lawyers
It is always of great importance to have a professional on your side to evaluate all the facts.
Our Bloomington wrongful death lawyer can help you determine the total settlement value of the claim as well as deal with the insurance companies for you.
If someone you know lost their life in an accident, here are our rules that will help protect the legal rights of their family. Please share these rules with the family members so everyone is advised and prepared:
- Talk to a Lawyer First– Do not sign papers and say NO to any tape recorded conversations with the liability insurance company. The insurance company’s plan and strategy to use a tape recorder is for their benefit, not yours. Be smart, talk to a lawyer. Call Lloyd Law Office 855-637-1195 for FREE legal advice.
- Beware of Quick Settlements– Don’t let yourself be talked into any quick settlement proposal. You may be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
- Getting Results– Immediately get expert advice on the full value of the wrongful death claim. An injury lawyer’s knowledge, experience and know-how are the tools for accomplishing the best results.
- Collect Evidence– With the tragedy of a wrongful death, immediately get the benefit of your lawyer’s qualified advice and assistance regarding appropriate pictures and other documentation as evidence. You have heard the saying “A good picture is worth a thousand words.” This is especially true in an accident and injury claim.
- Indiana Code: Article 23: Causes of Action: Wrongful Death
- NHTSA: Quick Facts 2013
- Newsday: 2014 recreational boating accidents and deaths
- org: 2014 dog bite fatality statistics