Any time a person dies because of someone else’s actions may be wrongful death. In Indiana, wrongful death is defined as any situation where an individual’s death is caused by a wrongful negligence or act of another person or entity. The family of a loved one who dies because of someone’s negligence can file a wrongful death claim.
A Wrongful Death Claim is a Type of Personal Injury Claim.
A person or entity that causes an individual’s untimely death is liable to the family members for damages. However, the family may file a lawsuit with the at-fault party to obtain money. This means the family must prove the at-fault party actually caused their loved one’s death. A plaintiff must prove elements to show the at-fault party was liable for the loved one’s death. These elements, which is supported by evidence such as witness and expert testimony, are:
- Legal Duty: Duty is the legal responsible for a defendant not to cause the death your loved one.
- Breach of Legal Duty: A breach of legal duty means the defendant’s actions caused the accident which harmed your loved one.
The Defendant’s caused the Loved One’s Death: The defendant’s action or inaction must 3. cause the loved one’s death. Their action or inaction may be the direct or indirect result of the accident that caused the loved one’s death.
- Damages: The family is owed damages because of their loved one’s untimely death. Damages include funeral expenses, burial expenses, medical bills and loss of companionship.
Indiana does not allow the recovery for grief a family suffers because of the death of their loved one. Also, the state caps wrongful death damages at $300,000.
Two Legal Outcomes for a Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana.
A wrongful death claim typically has two legal options: court or settlement. Going to court means that your wrongful death attorney Lafayette IN will file a lawsuit. If the case goes to court, your personal injury lawyer will have to prove each of the above elements to get you money. The other option is to settle.
Most wrongful death cases never go to court because the at-fault party is willing to pay money to end the case. A court settlement is a lump sum or series of payments given to a plaintiff in exchange for giving up legal action. This means that the family cannot file another lawsuit if they did not get enough money to cover all of their loved one’s expenses.
Statute of Limitations Places Limits on All Wrongful Death Claims.
In Indiana, family members have a restricted timeframe to file a lawsuit. This limited amount of time is called statute of limitations. The family only has two years from the date of the loved one’s passing to file a lawsuit. For instance, if their loved one died on January 20,0217, they have until January 29, 2019 to file a lawsuit. This doesn’t mean the case must be resolved in two years. If the lawsuit is not file within that two-year period, the family loses all rights to sue for their loved one’s untimely death.