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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Learn How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Indiana 

Losing a loved one is undeniably one of life's most challenging experiences. However, when that loss is due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, it creates the need to pursue justice. 


Indiana law has many procedures governing wrongful death lawsuits. The process can be very tricky to navigate. An Indiana wrongful death lawyer can make it simple and easy for family members to understand what they need to do next. They can also provide guidance through how to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in Indiana.


Step 1: Reporting the Accident 

Step 1: Reporting the Accident 


Whether it was a car crash, a workplace incident, or medical malpractice, it's essential to document the details of the wrongful act as soon as possible. 


However, for many, this step can be emotionally challenging. Recounting the events leading up to a loved one's passing can reopen wounds and stir up intense emotions. 


Still, it's a necessary part of the process to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions.


Step 2: Filing the Wrongful Death Case


After reporting the accident, the next step is filing the wrongful death case. In Indiana, as in most states, victims need to follow specific legal procedures and deadlines. 


This typically involves preparing and submitting a formal complaint to the appropriate court, outlining the details of the wrongful death claim.


Step 3: Negotiating or Going to Trial 


The next phase involves negotiations with the responsible party or their insurance company. This can be a complex and emotionally taxing process, as both sides seek to reach a resolution that provides fair compensation for the damages incurred.


In some cases, negotiations may lead to a settlement agreement, allowing the family to avoid the uncertainties and expenses of a trial. 


However, if they cannot reach a fair settlement, the case may proceed to court, where a judge or jury will determine the result of the wrongful death lawsuit. For more information, the best wrongful death attorney in Indianapolis may be able to help.


Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Indianapolis, Indiana? 


Children who have lost a parent due to wrongful death have the right to file a claim seeking compensation for their loss. 


Indiana law understands the profound impact that the loss of a parent can have on a child's emotional well-being and financial security.


A wrongful death suit, in this case, will help the rightful child recover compensation for their future education and livelihood. 


On the other hand, the surviving spouse of the deceased also has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana. 


Also, parents who have lost a child due to a wrongful death may file a claim seeking compensation for their loss. 


It doesn't matter if the parents of the departed are divorced at the time of the death. At times like this, the parent with the legal custody of the deceased person will have to file a wrongful death lawsuit.


In some cases, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. 


How Long Is the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? 


The deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Indianapolis is two years. Surviving family members have 24 months from the date of their loved one's death to file a wrongful death claim in court. 


Once this period expires, the opportunity to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit may be lost forever.


This timeframe may seem generous at first glance, but in reality, two years can pass by quickly, especially when dealing with the emotional aftermath of a loved one's passing. 


A wrongful death attorney specializing in personal injury lawsuits can help surviving family members grieve and heal in their own time. They can also assist with how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Indiana.


How Is the Wrongful Death Compensation Distributed?


In most cases, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate is responsible for overseeing the distribution of wrongful death compensation.


The beneficiaries of wrongful death compensation typically include the surviving family members of the deceased, such as the spouse, children, and parents.


Also, the personal representative will divide the compensation into separate shares for each beneficiary or distribute it in a lump sum, depending on the circumstances of the wrongful death lawsuit.


What Is the Average Settlement Amount in an Indiana Wrongful Death Claim? 


In cases involving medical malpractice, Indiana law imposes a cap on the amount of compensation the court can award.


The limit stands at $1.8 million. Regardless of the extent of the damages the victim and their family suffer, the maximum amount of compensation they can receive for medical malpractice in wrongful death cases is the above-mentioned amount.


Government Entity's Negligence 

There are also caps in place on the amount of compensation the court can award when the negligence of a government entity contributes to a wrongful death. Thus, the limit for such cases is set at $700,000. 


Child Decedent

On top of that, Indiana law allows for compensation for losses up to a deceased child's 20th or 23rd birthday. The child's legal guardian will receive the distributed amount. 


Unmarried Decedent with No Dependents

Lastly, unmarried adults with no surviving spouse or family member will receive compensation capped at $300,000. 


What Does Wrongful Death Compensation Include?

What Does Wrongful Death Compensation Include?


Economic damages are quantifiable losses gained due to the wrongful death of a loved one. 

This can include medical expenses incurred before the victim's passing, funeral and burial costs, lost wages the deceased would have earned, and the value of household services provided by the decedent. 


On the other hand, non-economic damages include compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering endured by the deceased before their passing, loss of company, guidance, etc. 


The court may also award the victim's family punitive damages to punish the responsible party for their reckless behavior. However, compensation may not always include this type of damage, as the law awards it to victims only if there was ill-intention involved in the act. 


In cases where the deceased was the primary breadwinner or caregiver for their family, the court may also consider future damages in the calculation of wrongful death compensation.


This can include projected future earnings and benefits that the departed would have provided to their family members, as well as the value of future household services that will now need to be replaced. 


Final Words 


The loss of a loved one leaves an unforgettable mark on the hearts of surviving family members, forever altering the landscape of their lives. It's a journey etched by grief, anger, and a longing for justice that can never fully be quenched.


Families who decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit do so to seek compensation for their loss and honor the memory of their loved ones.


The lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys stand next to victims dealing with wrongful death claims. Stating, "We Go to War for You," our free consultation sessions can help clients open up about their issues without financially committing to a counsel. 

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