Can a Family Sue for Wrongful Death?

May 23, 2024 / Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one can be a painful and difficult experience. When that loss is due to another party’s negligence or wrongful actions, it can be even more devastating. Wrongful death cases provide a legal avenue for the surviving family members to receive compensation and seek justice for their loss. In Indianapolis, as in many other jurisdictions, it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit under certain circumstances.

Think you may be entitled to compensation after a wrongful death? Contact us today at (317) 680-2501 for a free consultation.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Indianapolis

Wrongful death, as a legal concept, refers to a situation where another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions cause an individual’s death. These actions can include many situations, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and criminal acts. Wrongful death laws exist to provide surviving family members with a means to seek compensation for the financial and emotional losses they have suffered due to the death of their loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you’re contemplating a wrongful death case, you might be curious about who has the right to bring a lawsuit for wrongful death. This depends on whether the deceased, also known as the decedent, was a child or an adult.

The Wrongful Death of an Adult

In the case of an adult decedent, Indiana law stipulates that only a personal representative can initiate a wrongful death claim. This differs from other states where family members have the authority to file such lawsuits. Typically, the personal representative is the executor of the will. However, the court will appoint a personal representative if the deceased did not leave a will.

Although only the personal representative can initiate the case, they do so on behalf of the surviving family members or the estate of the deceased. If the deceased was married or had children at the time of their passing, Indiana law allows the surviving spouse or children to seek damages for their losses. Nevertheless, it is the personal representative’s responsibility to pursue the wrongful death case for their benefit. If you’re a surviving family member, our attorneys can further clarify the procedures for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana.

The Wrongful Death of a Child

In the case of a child decedent, a separate category exists for wrongful death lawsuits under Indiana law. A child is defined as an unmarried individual under 20 years of age. This definition also extends to individuals under 23 who were enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution.

Depending on the circumstances, several parties may have the right to file a wrongful death claim for the passing of a child. Either or both of the child’s parents may file the claim. If the parents are divorced, the parent with legal custody of the child holds the authority to initiate a claim. Additionally, if the parents no longer have parental rights or are deceased, the child’s legal guardian may bring forth the claim.

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

In Indianapolis, as in the rest of Indiana, damages in a wrongful death case are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their losses. These damages can include:

  • Medical and Funeral Expenses: This includes any reasonable medical and funeral expenses incurred due to the deceased’s injuries and death.
  • Loss of Future Income and Benefits: This considers the financial contributions the deceased would have made to the family had they survived.
  • Loss of Companionship and Consortium: This compensates for the emotional and psychological effect of losing a loved one.
  • Pain and Suffering of the Deceased: In certain cases, damages may be awarded for the pain and suffering the deceased underwent before their passing.

Contact Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2501 to find out what damages you may be entitled to.

Statute of Limitations

It’s important to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Indianapolis. In Indiana, the typical time frame for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the individual’s passing. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure your claim falls within this window.

How Can Stephenson Rife Help?

The death of a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful actions or negligence is an unimaginably painful experience. In such tragic circumstances, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights and how the right legal representation can make a difference in the outcome of your wrongful death case. Stephenson Rife, a prominent law firm with expertise in wrongful death cases, can provide invaluable assistance in navigating this complex legal process.

Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

We have a team of seasoned wrongful death attorneys who deeply understand Indiana’s legal landscape. Their extensive experience in handling wrongful death cases ensures that you will have skilled and knowledgeable professionals advocating for your rights.

Thorough Investigation and Resources

A thorough investigation is crucial to any successful wrongful death case. We have the resources and network to conduct meticulous investigations, including gathering evidence, consulting experts, and reconstructing incidents when necessary. This commitment to detail ensures no stone is left unturned in pursuing justice.

Identifying Liability

Determining liability in a wrongful death case can be challenging, especially when dealing with complex circumstances. We have a proven track record of identifying liable parties and holding them accountable for their actions or negligence. This includes individuals, businesses, or entities contributing to the wrongful death.

Maximizing Damages

The experienced attorneys are skilled negotiators and litigators. They will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. This can include compensation for funeral costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and more.

Proven Track Record

With a history of successful verdicts and settlements, we have earned a reputation for achieving positive outcomes for our clients. Our accomplishments in the legal field speak to their dedication and proficiency in advocating for the rights of those who have suffered due to the negligence of others.

Aggressive Advocacy in Court

While many cases are resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods, we are known for our tenacity in the courtroom. Our attorneys are unafraid to take cases to trial if it serves the best interests of their clients. This willingness to fight for justice has led to numerous successful outcomes in wrongful death cases.

Contact Stephenson Rife Today for Legal Representation

If you’re facing the tragic loss of a loved one due to wrongful death, seeking legal assistance is vital to secure the justice and compensation you deserve. Stephenson Rife stands ready to guide you through the legal process with a compassionate touch, ensuring that your family’s rights are protected. Contact us at (317) 680-2501 for a free consultation.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, just to name a few. Mike is a proven advocate and trial attorney. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and has handled litigation in 18 states. [ Attorney Bio ]

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