Many civil lawsuits are based on accidents or intentional acts that cause someone injuries or other losses. In tragic cases, the events of the accident or the defendant’s behavior cause someone’s death. Death is handled differently in civil cases since the victim obviously cannot sue on their own behalf. Instead, someone else can file a wrongful death lawsuit on the deceased person’s behalf.
Wrongful death suits are somewhat complicated because different damages may be claimed depending on the deceased victim. The damages available in cases where the deceased person is a child or adult will be different. Additionally, the damages for married adults and those with no dependents are also different. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically filed by a deceased person’s estate representative, not surviving family members.
If you recently lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent behavior or intentional actions, you may be entitled to damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our Indiana wrongful death attorneys can help you get justice for your loved one. Call the offices of Wruck Paupore to set up a free legal consultation. Call us today at (219) 322-1166.
The legal definition of wrongful death can be found under Indiana Code § 34-23-1-1. According to the law, wrongful death is caused by someone’s wrongful act or failure to act. However, there may only be a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased person could have claimed damages had they survived. If you believe your loved one passed away because of the actions or inaction of another, our Indiana wrongful death attorneys can help you.
A wrongful act could be any negligent behavior from the defendant. Negligence tends to include a variety of accidents. Car accidents, slip and falls, and workplace accidents may all lead to wrongful death. A failure to act or a wrongful omission is a bit trickier. A wrongful omission refers to a failure to act by the defendant where action would have been appropriate. For example, if a store owner fails to place a wet floor sign out after mopping the floor, and a customer slips on the wet floor and passes away from a head injury, the store owner could be liable in a wrongful death case for failure to act.
The damages recoverable in a wrongful death case will vary depending on the identity of the deceased person. Children and adults are generally treated differently as their deaths are associated with different kinds of losses. The law regarding damages for wrongful death cases can be found under Indiana Code § 34-23-1-2. Under the law, damages generally recoverable in all wrongful death cases include medical expenses incurred by the deceased person before they passed, funeral and burial costs, and the loss of love or companionship.
When an adult is married or has dependents when they pass away, plaintiffs can include additional damages. These additional damages are related to the loss of support from the deceased person to their dependents or spouse. You could claim damages for lost earnings from the deceased person, including both current and future earnings. Any projected increases in earnings, such as promotions that the deceased person likely would have obtained, may be considered. Our Indiana wrongful death lawyers have experience calculating damages for wrongful death cases and many other types of cases.
In cases where the deceased person is a child, different rules apply, and other damages may be available. The laws for wrongful death cases involving children are stated under Indiana Code § 34-23-2. A child is anyone who is under the age of 20. The age cut-off would be 23 if the child were enrolled in post-secondary or trade schools.
Ordinarily, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate would have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, children often do not have legal estates or personal representatives. Instead, their parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the parents are divorced, whoever has custody may file the lawsuit. If the parents are not in the picture, a personal representative may be appointed to handle the case. A personal representative may be necessary in cases where a child’s death may have been caused by their parents. In such cases, parents cannot recover damages.
In general, for the wrongful death of a child, a plaintiff may recover damages for the loss of any services provided by the child, the loss of the child’s love and companionship, the costs of any medical bills incurred before the child’s passing, and funeral and burial costs.
Certain damages available in cases involving children include the costs of any psychiatric treatment for surviving family members to help them cope with the deep loss. Other unique damages include the costs of any debts left behind by the child, like student loans, and any attorneys fees related to the child’s estate. Our Indiana wrongful death attorney can help you get just compensation for your incredibly tragic loss.
Sometimes, there is a little confusion over who exactly is awarded damages in a wrongful death case. Some damages seem to be awarded to compensate for losses incurred by the deceased person and their estate. Other losses are aimed at making surviving family members whole again. Precisely who is awarded damages depends on what kind of damages are claimed.
Family members may be awarded damages when their losses are the ones in question. For example, the loss of financial support when a person loses their spouse may go to the surviving spouse. Similarly, if a child provided caregiving services to an elderly parent, compensation for the loss of those services would go to the parent.
Other damages are specifically awarded to the deceased person’s estate. Medical expenses related to the accident that caused the deceased person’s death and funeral costs are awarded to the estate. Because the damages are awarded to a deceased individual’s estate, the money would descend according to a will or probate law. The money awarded to an estate is likely to be shared among surviving family members if they are named in the will.
If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions or failure to act, you should be compensated for your incredible loss. Our Indiana wrongful death lawyers will help you fight for justice. Call our team at Wruck Paupore for a free legal consultation. Call our offices at (219) 322-1166.
Woman suffering physical and emotional abuse at nursing home.
Client injured in auto accident after driver ran stop sign.
Women rear-ended while stopped at red light
Patient suffering nerve damage following hip operation.
Woman suffering a traumatic brain injury following semi-truck accident.
Woman suffering severe hip and ankle fracture after falling on defective step.
Man suffered headaches and other post-concussion symptoms from vehicle crash.
Woman suffering post-concussion syndrome after vehicle rear-ended by tractor trailer.
Man physically assaulted at his workplace.
Woman suffered from an ankle fracture after a truck turned in front of her vehicle.
Man suffered back injury after head-on collision.
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.
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.
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.
Advertising Materials / Legal Advertising. Any testimonials or stories set forth on this website are by actual clients and their families. Such testimonials or stories are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be considered as a promise or guarantee as to the outcome of your specific case and may not be typical. Every case presents unique facts and circumstances. You case and expected outcome will likely differ from the facts of the cases listed. The only way to properly evaluate your case is to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney.