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Can the Victim’s Family Sue for Vehicular Homicide in Indiana?


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Indiana does not have a “vehicular homicide” statute that specifically applies to driving-related killings. However, a reckless driver who causes a fatal accident can be charged with “reckless homicide.”

After a reckless homicide, the victim’s family can pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. In this suit, they can seek multiple categories of monetary damages. Our attorneys can help recover the full range of compensation available in your case.

If your family member was killed because of an accident caused by a reckless driver, get help seeking the damages you deserve. Reach out to our Indiana wrongful death lawyers today by calling Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166. Our experienced lawyers can review your case for free.

Suing for Vehicular Homicide in Indiana

In Indiana, when someone is killed because of an accident caused by a reckless motorist, the killing will be referred to as a “reckless homicide.” Reckless driving occurs when motorists operate their vehicles without regard for others’ safety.

Multiple activities may be considered reckless driving. For example, a driver who engages in drag racing on a public street will be guilty of reckless driving. Further, a motorist who repeatedly swerves out of their lane or refuses to share the roadway will also be considered a reckless driver. After fatal accidents, our attorneys can help victims’ families determine if a reckless homicide occurred.

Perpetrators of reckless homicides will face criminal penalties that may include jail time. However, they can also face civil consequences through wrongful death lawsuits filed by victims’ families. A wrongful death is a death that occurs because of another person’s negligent or intentional act. Accordingly, a reckless homicide will be considered a wrongful death. After such deaths, victims’ families can sue at-fault parties for the many economic and non-economic damages they incurred.

The categories of monetary damages awarded in your lawsuit may depend on several factors. During your free case review, our Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyers can help determine which forms of compensation may be pursued.

Who Can Sue for a Vehicular Homicide in Indiana?

After a fatal accident in Indiana, only certain family members of the deceased will be permitted to file wrongful death lawsuits. The party who may file a particular case can differ depending on whether the person who passed away was a child or an adult.

Death of a Child

For a wrongful death lawsuit involving the death of a child, the case must be brought to court by the parents of the victim. If the victim’s parents are divorced, the lawsuit must be filed by the parent who has legal custody of the deceased. If both of the victim’s parents have passed away or parental rights have been revoked, then the wrongful death case should be filed by the victim’s legal guardian. For the purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit, the following parties will be considered a child:

  • Someone younger than 20 years old who is unmarried and without dependents
  • Someone younger than 23 years old who is unmarried and enrolled in college, a career and technical school, or a similar program
  • A fetus that has reached viability

After a fatal accident involving a child’s death, our Hammond wrongful death lawyers can help find the right party to file the case. Accordingly, victims’ families may recover the monetary damages available to them.

Death of an Adult

After a deadly crash involving the death of an adult, the wrongful death lawsuit should be filed by the victim’s personal representative or “executor.” The personal representative is the person who was chosen to administer the deceased person’s estate. To serve as someone’s personal representative in Indiana, you must be at least 21 years old and of sound mind.

After fatal accidents involving adults, our experienced Indiana wrongful death lawyers can help ensure victims’ families take the appropriate steps toward compensation.

How Long Do Victim’s Families Have to Sue for Vehicular Homicide in Indiana?

After a deadly motor vehicle accident, the victim’s family will typically have two years from the date of the crash to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation. This time frame is set forth by I.C. § 34-11-2-4. Noncompliance with this deadline could cause potential plaintiffs to miss out on important monetary damages.

Furthermore, plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits must collect evidence to support their claims. As time passes, pertinent evidence may be difficult to gather and preserve. For example, witnesses can forget certain details pertaining to accidents, and physical evidence can deteriorate. Accordingly, you should contact our Indiana wrongful death lawsuit as soon as possible after a fatal collision. The sooner you get in touch with our team of experienced lawyers, the more easily we may collect the information needed to win your case.

Settling a Wrongful Death Lawsuit vs. Taking a Wrongful Death Lawsuit to Trial After a Vehicular Homicide in Indiana

In most wrongful death cases, plaintiffs must face the difficult decision of reaching settlement agreements or taking their cases to trial. After reaching a settlement agreement, the defendant will pay the plaintiff an agreed-upon sum of damages in exchange for their case being voluntarily dismissed.

There are multiple potential benefits to settling early. By settling early, parties to a lawsuit may save on several expenses that accompany the decision to go to trial. Furthermore, plaintiffs who settle early can obtain payment more quickly.

Still, settling early is not always the best decision. Defendants typically try to settle cases for less than they are worth. By taking your wrongful death lawsuit all the way to trial, you may recover additional payment. Our experienced Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers can help assess any settlement offers presented in your case so that you may decide if going to trial is the right path for you.

If Your Family Member Suffered a Deadly Accident in Indiana, Our Lawyers Can Help

If your family member was killed because of an accident caused by a reckless driver, seek assistance from our experienced South Bend wrongful death lawyers by calling Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.

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

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