What Is Wrongful Death? Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers Explain

June 17, 2022

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

What Is Wrongful Death? Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers Explain

The death of a loved one is always hard. You may experience grief, stress, loneliness, and a whole host of other emotions. On top of that, you may be dealing with expenses associated with the funeral, medical bills, and more. This difficult time can be made even worse if the death of your loved one was caused by the wrongful conduct—or lack of reasonable care—of another person. In Indiana you do not have to go through your grief and stress alone. You can fight to hold that person or business accountable with the help of Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers.

Wrongful death cases are not always straightforward. Sometimes there are multiple individuals, companies, and family members involved that can present a challenging case. An experienced wrongful death attorney like those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you navigate the law and seek the compensation you deserve.

How Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You and Your Family

When your loved one’s death is attributable to the wrongful actions of another person, it is normal to feel angry and want to seek justice. The best way to do this is by filing a wrongful death case with the help of experienced Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers. Indiana law allows eligible beneficiaries to seek compensation so that their expenses and, in some cases, counseling and future earnings are covered. A wrongful death case will not only bring the wrongdoing to light but also can help you get the compensation you need to recover financially and begin to heal emotionally.

Understanding the nature of a wrongful death case can help you choose the best counsel for the job. Here, experienced Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers define this type of claim, offer examples of common scenarios that can form the basis of a wrongful death claim in Indiana, and describe the type of compensation recoverable and the general timeline of a claim.

What Is a Wrongful Death Case?

In simple terms, a wrongful death case involves a claim filed against a person or entity that has caused the death of another due to misconduct or negligence, as defined by Indiana Code article 34-23. One way to think about wrongful death is to think of it as a personal injury lawsuit where the injured party has died and, therefore, can no longer bring a claim on his or her own so another person pursues the case against the wrongful party instead.

Indiana wrongful death attorneys can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana and seek compensation from the party who caused the death or their employer. Keffer Hirschauer LLP wrongful death attorneys work with you and your family to understand your case and the losses you have incurred or will incur and to collect evidence to support your claim before opposing party’s counsel and the courts. Without an experienced wrongful death attorney, you may feel pressured to come to a settlement that will not properly cover your expenses and the pain and suffering associated with your loss.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases

The circumstances underlying a wrongful death can arise in a number of scenarios, but several common events may form the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Car accidents are common catalysts for wrongful death lawsuits. When a driver has acted negligently, as in cases of driving distracted, drunk driving, or driving an unsafe vehicle, and caused the death of another, the operator of the vehicle can be held legally and financially liable for the death.

Indiana wrongful death attorneys can also help you seek compensation if your loved one died as the result of a crime. It is not uncommon for criminals to be criminally prosecuted for their actions causing the death of another while also facing a civil wrongful death case.

Other common types of accidents can also result in wrongful death claims:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Vehicle accidents involving a bicyclist or pedestrian
  • Workplace accidents not compensable through workers’ compensation benefits

Depending on the type of case, negotiation and litigation can be complicated and require very specific evidence and deep investigation. Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you manage your case and will fight for the maximum compensation permitted under the law.

Who Can Recover Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case?

Indiana wrongful death laws are very specific when it comes to who can recover compensation in a wrongful death case and what types of damages may be sought. Generally, damages are reserved for family, which includes children, parents, or the spouse of the decedent. Friends, distant relatives of an adult, or partners who are not married to the victim are generally not entitled to compensation.

Child wrongful death cases in Indiana are governed by the general wrongful death statute as well as the Child Wrongful Death Act (CWDA) under Indiana Code chapter 34-23-3. If a case involves a child wrongful death victim, the court can award compensation to the child’s family. This most commonly means the parents of a child but can also extend to other family members who were caring for the child at the time of the death. Some compensation may also be awarded to minor siblings of the victim. A family may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Loss of the child’s services
  • Loss of companionship
  • The child’s health care for injuries preceding the death
  • Administration of the child’s estate
  • Cost of counseling for parents or minor siblings

For wrongful death cases involving adults, the law in Indiana hinges on whether the decedent was married and/or had dependents. For a person who was unmarried with no dependents, the person’s estate, parents, or children who are not dependents can file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of companionship

For individuals who were married and/or had dependents at the time of their death, their survivors may file a wrongful death case. Generally, survivors include spouses and children. Spouses and dependents can seek compensation for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of love, affection, and guidance

In cases with multiple family members seeking compensation, wrongful death claims can get complicated fast. The Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP helps families wade through the details and ensure that the rights of their clients are protected.

Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You through All Stages of a Lawsuit

Even in straightforward cases where the wrongdoing was clear, there are still several steps to pursuing a wrongful death claim. The process starts with an investigation. This phase can involve many parties, including law enforcement, insurance companies, and private investigators, and can be lengthy and complex. Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your claim. In Indiana, you must demonstrate four different elements to win your wrongful death claim.

First, you must prove that the person caused the death of your loved one through misconduct such as negligence or intentional wrongful acts. In other words, you must prove that there was actual wrongdoing and that the death did not occur as the result of a true accident. Second, your evidence must show that the wrongdoing would have entitled the victim to compensation in a personal injury claim. Third, you must show that your loved one left behind beneficiaries who are entitled to bring the wrongful death case under Indiana law. Finally, you must show that your loved one’s death resulted in monetary damages, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship. Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers know exactly how to collect the evidence necessary to establish a wrongful death claim in Indiana and to present it persuasively to maximize your chances of success and your compensation.

Once the investigation is complete, most wrongful death cases involve settlement negotiations. In this phase, all parties in the case attempt to negotiate settlement of your claim—usually t through your lawyers or a mediator. Whether negotiations result in the settlement of your case depends on the facts and parties involved. Sometimes, settlement helps parties move forward, and it can spare you of the time and emotional impact of a trial. However, if negotiations stall, you need an experienced wrongful death attorney to litigate your claim in court. Trials involve much more time and energy on behalf of both parties and can delay resolution of your claim months or even years.

No matter what the circumstances of your case are, Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can represent you and ensure that your best interests are being advocated for every step of the way.

Do You Need Experienced Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers?

If a loved one has died as the result of the wrongdoing of another person, you need experienced Indiana wrongful death in your corner. The attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have the experience needed to pursue your case and get you the compensation you deserve. If you are not sure if you have a case, call us today for a free consultation. We take the time to help you understand the details of your case and present your available options. Call your trusted Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers today at (317) 455-4043 or get in touch through our online contact form.

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