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Who can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?


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Wrongful death lawsuits arise when a person is killed by another person’s wrongful act or omission. Lawsuits for the wrongful death of a loved one are a relatively new development in our legal system, and historically were not recognized at common law. In order to allow people who lose family members or loved ones to recover, causes of action for wrongful death in Fort Wayne have been created by statute and have special provisions specifying the kinds of damages available and who is able to recover. Anyone who has lost a loved one and believes that someone else may be at fault should consult with an experienced Indianapolis wrongful death attorney. Wrongful death cases can be highly complex and require highly skilled representation. Common kinds of accidents that may give rise to a Hammond wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Defective products
  • Job work injuries
  • Defective drugs
  • Bicycle or pedestrian accidents

The general Indiana wrongful death statute, found in Indiana Code 34-23-1, allows the personal representative of a decedent to recover if the decedent could have brought a personal injury action against the person who caused their death. There are three distinct statutorily created causes of action for wrongful death; the general Wrongful Death Act (referenced above), the Child Wrongful Death Act, and the Adult Wrongful Death Act. Each act provides for separate causes of action based on characteristics of the decedent and specifies the kinds of damages available.

Wrongful death claims need to be filed within two years and available damages may include:

  • Reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Costs associated with the administration of the decedent’s estate
  • Non-economic damages, such as loss of love and affection or loss of parental guidance and training

Who Can Recover under the Indiana Wrongful Death Act?

Who can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in South Bend depends whether the decedent was an adult with dependents, and adult without dependents, or a child. If the decedent had a spouse, children, or relatives that were dependent on him or her, people within those classes may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If, however, the decedent was an adult with no dependents, the only people that may recover are parents or children that can prove a “genuine, substantial and ongoing relationship” with the person who died. If the decedent was under 20, or under 23 if still in school, his or her parents may bring a wrongful death suit against the responsible party or parties. Importantly, Indiana law also allows for recovery for the death of a fetus that has achieved “viability.”

If you have lost a loved one as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages through a Indiana wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to file a claim as soon as possible, due both to the relatively short statute of limitations for wrongful death actions, and also to ensure that evidence favorable to your case is not lost or destroyed.

Anyone who suspects that negligence may have been a factor in the death of a loved one should document as much information about the incident as possible. In addition, avoid making any statements to insurance companies or authorities without first consulting an attorney. Contact our Indiana construction accident lawyer for more information.

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***Every case is unique and your results will differ. Contact us for a free case review of your circumstance.

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"After being involved in a car accident, I was very fortunate to work with Don Wruck. He explained everything to me and my family and made me feel involved in all decisions. I was very happy with the result of my case and happy to have found this firm!"
– Kayla D.
"My case wasn’t very large, but they made it easy to recover damages when the insurance company didn’t even want to cover basic costs. The firm was responsive to my inquiries, and very clear about what was required and what could be expected, during every step of the process."
– Wayne M.
"From start to finish, Wruck Paupore PC Law were the best! Knowledgeable and straightforward, they explained the process, start to finish, and gave guidance while allowing us to determine the best course of action to take. We would highly recommend them and would certainly use them again."
– Chris V.
"We are so thankful with how the lawyers and staff handled our case. The folks at Wruck and Paupore were always pleasant and helpful in all their phone calls and letters. It was always a pleasure to get their calls. We were especially pleased with their tenacious pursuit of the goal of full recovery which was far greater than we could have imagined."
– Jay Zoellner
"Attorney Wruck did an amazing job in settling my personal injury case. His knowledge and experience specific to semi truck accidents made all of the difference in the outcome of my case; the settlement exceeded my expectations! The staff at his firm was helpful, responsive and caring during a difficult time following a life-altering experience. I highly recommend Attorney Wruck and his firm."
– J B
"Attorney Wruck did an amazing job in settling my personal injury case. His knowledge and experience specific to semi-truck accidents made all of the difference in the outcome of my case; the settlement exceeded my expectations!"
– James M.
"Exceptional team. They took on my case and made sure that I was consulted on every issue. If it wasn’t for the caring staff and my legal team I don’t know what I would have done. Everyone did an awesome job thanks so much for your help."
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"Wruck Paupore was fantastic. I was informed every step of the way, they did all of the work, and I got my case settled."
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"It was awesome watching Donald Wruck at work during mediation. He really fights for his clients."
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"Wruck Paupore did more than they promised and did all of the work. I was worried about bills and dealing with insurance people. They did everything while I recovered. They were not concerned about earning money but about helping me and my husband."
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"Don did a great job on my case! Staff was amazing! Kept me in the loop the entire time. I highly recommend!!!!"
– Dana L.
"A great experience from beginning to settlement. Handled our case from start to finish. Explained every step and communicated very well."
– William H.

Your Legal Team

Your Legal Team

Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

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Understanding the Insurance Company:
Getting Results.

In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

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More than 40 Years of Experience.
Still Fighting for Justice.

For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.

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