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The death of a loved one is an extraordinarily painful experience. Many people take months or even years to emotionally recover from such a tragic loss. Unfortunately, some losses are the result of other people's negligence. If you believe your loved one passed away because of someone else's actions, you might have a wrongful death case.

A wrongful death stems from another person's negligence. In some cases, the death was not the result of negligence but intentional, willful conduct. In either case, you might be entitled to damages from the loss. People often rely on loved ones for support, financial, emotional, and otherwise. These damages should also be compensated.

It might seem callous to reduce someone's death to financial compensation, but this is the only way a court of law can attempt to serve justice. Call our Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyers about your case today, and we will provide a free case evaluation in minutes. You can reach us at (765) 885-6269 24 hours a day.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Fort Wayne?

When the deceased person is an adult, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by anyone who is the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. While we often think that immediate family members bring this kind of lawsuit, this is not always the case.

Anyone could potentially be named a personal representative. Often, the personal representative is an immediate family member. However, in many cases, the personal representative is more distantly related to the deceased or even the deceased's estate attorney if they had no close relatives.

In cases where the deceased person is a child, either the mother, father, or both parents may bring a wrongful death lawsuit under Indiana Code § 34-23-2-1. Children typically do not leave behind an estate, so there is often no personal representative in such situations, and the law does not require it. However, the rules and technical requirements for bringing such claims are extremely complicated, so it is important that you have an experienced lawyer to guide you on these issues.

In most cases, family members work with the personal representative and collaborate in bringing the wrongful death claim. Speak with our Fort Wayne wrongful death attorneys if you are considering seeking recovery as the result of your loved one's death, and we will review your options during a free case evaluation.

Examples of Wrongful Death Claims in Fort Wayne

Any untimely death may provide grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. The key to spotting where legal action for a wrongful death is available is identifying where someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful acts caused the death in question. Below are some of the most common causes of death where grounds for a civil action could arise.

  • Car accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Physical assault
  • Dangerous business premises
  • Construction site accidents
  • Defective products
  • Electrocution
  • Transportation accidents
  • Toxic exposure

If you recently suffered the death of a family member or loved one in one of the above situations, we urge you to tell your story to a Fort Wayne wrongful death attorney to determine whether you may have the ability to pursue compensation through legal action against the responsible party.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Fort Wayne

There may be considerable damages available through a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are often complicated because the damages available may differ based on your relationship with the deceased person and whether that person was an adult or a child.

In a wrongful death case, the damages recoverable include any damages the deceased person could have recovered themselves had they survived. For example, suppose the deceased died in a car accident. In that case, a wrongful death claim would include the cost of medical care provided and the value of the deceased's damaged vehicle because those are losses the deceased would have potentially recovered had they survived the accident.

Depending upon the relationship with the deceased, you may also be able to recover damages for lost love, affection, and companionship of the person you lost. These types of damages are sometimes capped in Indiana at $300,000 under Indiana Code § 34-23-1-2. However, this cap does not apply to plaintiffs who are the spouse or dependent children of the deceased person, and also does not apply to the parents of a minor child under Indiana’s Child Wrongful Death Act.

If you depended on the deceased person for support, that loss of support can also be claimed as part of your damages. For example, if the deceased person provided you with a monthly allowance to make ends meet, you could claim that lost allowance as part of your damages. Alternatively, if the deceased person provided you with a service, such as caregiving, then you can count the loss of that service and the cost to replace it in your damages calculations.

The damages available in your case will hinge on your relationship with the deceased person. Wrongful death cases often involve substantial sums of money, and it is not uncommon for millions of dollars to be at issue. However, what can be recovered depends significantly upon the unique circumstances of your case. Talk to our Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyers about the potential damages in your situation and we will review your case and your options at no cost.

How Do I Know If I Have a Wrongful Death Claim in Fort Wayne?

The elements of wrongful death are spelled out under Indiana Code § 34-23-1-1. Under the law, a wrongful death is caused by someone else's wrongful act or omission. This is a somewhat vague statement and might be difficult to wrap your head around. However, wrongful death may include a variety of circumstances.

Many wrongful deaths are based on acts of negligence. In sum, an act of negligence could include any action taken by a defendant that fails to meet a legal standard of care. The standard of care owed by a defendant in any given case will vary between circumstances. An omission would be a failure to act when the defendant knew or should have known to act. A common example would be the failure to monitor young children who end up getting hurt.

If you believe someone else's actions or failure to act unjustly caused your loved one's death, you might have a wrongful death case on your hands. To find out for sure and to obtain a full legal review of your options free of charge, contact our Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyers.

Differences Between a Fort Wayne Civil Wrongful Death Claim and a Criminal Prosecution

If a person or entity’s conduct results in a wrongful death, they could be facing criminal action in addition to a wrongful death lawsuit. This is particularly likely if the behavior that caused the death rose above mere negligence to constitute recklessness or was intentional.

It is important that you consider the civil wrongful death lawsuit and the criminal proceedings separately, as they are distinct legal actions with their own sets of consequences. That is why the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit regardless of the existence or outcome of criminal charges stemming from the same events.

Criminal proceedings can result in fines and prison sentences for offenders. However, while these penalties may provide closure to grieving family members and loved ones, they do not yield any direct, tangible benefit. The only way to get this is through a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

Do not be discouraged from pursuing a wrongful death claim if the criminal prosecution results in a “not guilty” verdict. The standards for obtaining a conviction in a criminal case and winning a decision in a civil action are very different. For instance, to convict a defendant of manslaughter, the prosecutor must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a much higher standard than what applies in wrongful death claims, “by a preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, all a plaintiff needs to do to succeed in a wrongful death claim is convince a jury that the chances their argument is correct are greater than 50%.

For a more thorough discussion about what sets civil wrongful death actions apart from criminal proceedings, reach out to an experienced Fort Wayne wrongful death lawyer.

How Much Is My Wrongful Death Case in Fort Wayne Worth?

The value of a wrongful death case is very difficult to determine. As stated above, the damages you can claim will vary based on your relationship with the deceased person. People who were very close to the deceased and perhaps relied on them for support or services may have more valuable cases than someone close to the deceased but not dependent on them. Your familial relationship with the deceased person will also impact your right to recover.

Additionally, you have to consider how your loved one passed away. Sometimes, the actions or inaction by a defendant are so heinous and shocking that courts feel compelled to award greater damages. If the deceased person is found to have contributed to the circumstances that caused their death, you could still recover damages, but they may be less.

Call our Fort Wayne wrongful death attorneys if you are not sure if a wrongful death case will be worthwhile in your circumstances. We can assess your case and evaluate how much money your case might be worth.

Statutory Caps on Damages for Fort Wayne Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Fort Wayne, you should be aware of some of the implications of the state’s statutory language on recovery in these types of suits.

Under Indiana’s wrongful death act, if the deceased has a spouse, children, or other legal dependents, there are generally no statutory caps on the amount of damages that a wrongful death lawsuit can obtain.

There are, however, two notable exceptions where state law will limit the total amount that the court can award. One exception exists in cases of wrongful death by medical malpractice, where the state caps the total available damages at $1.25 million. Another exception is when the death was caused by a government entity, in which case the applicable cap on total damages is $700,000.

Outside of these two exceptions, a wrongful death lawsuit that arises from the death of a person with a spouse, children, or dependents is not bound by any statutory limits. However, suppose the person who suffered the wrongful death was unmarried with no dependents or children. In that case, the state caps the amount of non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit to $300,000. Non-economic damages include considerations like loss of love and companionship.

This cap generally does not affect a court in their determination of economic or punitive damages, so the total amount of potential damages is not constrained, outside of the medical malpractice and government entity exceptions noted earlier, which will apply regardless of whether the victim was married or had dependents.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Fort Wayne?

In Indiana, the statute of limitations is how the law regulates when any given civil claim can be brought in court. The statute of limitations generally provides only a two-year window within which the initial complaint must be filed for wrongful death lawsuits.

The two-year window begins on the date of the death in question, not on the date when the fatal injuries were first sustained. If you plan to sue a government entity for causing the wrongful death, you might need to satisfy certain department-specific notification requirements that could accelerate your timeline even further.

Two years may seem like plenty of time, but many are surprised at how fast the window can pass. It may take you and your Fort Wayne wrongful death attorney a substantial amount of time to assess the damages, determine who was at fault, and identify all potential beneficiaries who should be named in the suit.

Give yourself and your family the best chance at a swift and equitable recovery by reaching out to a Fort Wayne wrongful death attorney as soon as possible about your potential wrongful death claim after the untimely passing of a loved one.

Call Our Fort Wayne Wrongful Death Attorneys for Assistance

If you tragically lost someone you love in an accident or to someone else's willful conduct, our Fort Wayne wrongful death attorneys can help you get compensation. While money will not bring your loved one back, it can help you cover their final expenses. Call Wruck Paupore at (765) 885-6269 for a free case review.

Proven Results

$875,000

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Traumatic Brain Injury

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Medical Malpractice

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Post-Concussion Disorder

Man suffered headaches and other post-concussion symptoms from vehicle crash.

$1,750,000

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Woman suffering post-concussion syndrome after vehicle rear-ended by tractor trailer.

$7,250,000

Traumatic Brain Injury

Man physically assaulted at his workplace.

$945,000

Auto Accident

Woman suffered from an ankle fracture after a truck turned in front of her vehicle.

$1,525,000

Auto Accident

Man suffered back injury after head-on collision.

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

"A great experience from beginning to settlement. Handled our case from start to finish. Explained every step and communicated very well."
– William H.
"Don did a great job on my case! Staff was amazing! Kept me in the loop the entire time. I highly recommend!!!!"
– Dana L.
"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."
– Edithe P.
"It was awesome watching Donald Wruck at work during mediation. He really fights for his clients."
– Lisa L.
"Great results in our auto accident case. Everyone was very helpful and I got a fantastic result. All my bills are paid and I can move on with my life."
– Trisha L.
"Wruck Paupore was fantastic. I was informed every step of the way, they did all of the work, and I got my case settled."
– Idell J.
"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."
– Rhonda M.
"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.
"I can’t say enough about Don Wruck and the staff at Wruck Paupore PC Law Offices. When we were in our accident we were already very shaken and confused and in pain. Don and his staff took over with a gentle hand and took care of everything."
– James H
"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
"A great experience from beginning to settlement."
– William R.
"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.
"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.
"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
"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.
"Wruck Paupore didn’t just represent me. They truly understood my case, but also what I lost. They simply refused to quit. Professional, accessible, informative, transparent, immensely qualified and completely honest. I basically trusted this firm with my future. One decision I’ll never regret. There’s a certain peace of mind you feel when professionals of this level have your back."
– Pat D.

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.

Best Indiana Auto Accident Lawyer
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.

Best Personal Injury Lawyers Indianapolis
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.

Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Indiana

Real Client Testimonials


Proven Results

$875,000

Nursing Home Abuse

Woman suffering physical and emotional abuse at nursing home.

$25,000,000

Traumatic Brain Injury

Client injured in auto accident after driver ran stop sign.

$940,000

Post-Concussion Disorder

Women rear-ended while stopped at red light

$1,250,000

Medical Malpractice

Patient suffering nerve damage following hip operation.

$12,000,000

Semi-truck Accident

Woman suffering a traumatic brain injury following semi-truck accident.

$10,500,000

Slip and Fall

Woman suffering severe hip and ankle fracture after falling on defective step.

$797,000

Post-Concussion Disorder

Man suffered headaches and other post-concussion symptoms from vehicle crash.

$1,750,000

Semi-Truck Accident

Woman suffering post-concussion syndrome after vehicle rear-ended by tractor trailer.

$7,250,000

Traumatic Brain Injury

Man physically assaulted at his workplace.

$945,000

Auto Accident

Woman suffered from an ankle fracture after a truck turned in front of her vehicle.

$1,525,000

Auto Accident

Man suffered back injury after head-on collision.

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

"A great experience from beginning to settlement. Handled our case from start to finish. Explained every step and communicated very well."
– William H.
"Don did a great job on my case! Staff was amazing! Kept me in the loop the entire time. I highly recommend!!!!"
– Dana L.
"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."
– Edithe P.
"It was awesome watching Donald Wruck at work during mediation. He really fights for his clients."
– Lisa L.
"Great results in our auto accident case. Everyone was very helpful and I got a fantastic result. All my bills are paid and I can move on with my life."
– Trisha L.
"Wruck Paupore was fantastic. I was informed every step of the way, they did all of the work, and I got my case settled."
– Idell J.
"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."
– Rhonda M.
"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.
"I can’t say enough about Don Wruck and the staff at Wruck Paupore PC Law Offices. When we were in our accident we were already very shaken and confused and in pain. Don and his staff took over with a gentle hand and took care of everything."
– James H
"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
"A great experience from beginning to settlement."
– William R.
"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.
"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.
"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
"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.
"Wruck Paupore didn’t just represent me. They truly understood my case, but also what I lost. They simply refused to quit. Professional, accessible, informative, transparent, immensely qualified and completely honest. I basically trusted this firm with my future. One decision I’ll never regret. There’s a certain peace of mind you feel when professionals of this level have your back."
– Pat D.