What happens if someone dies from negligence?

When someone dies as a result of negligence, whether medical negligence or standard negligence, this is known as a wrongful death claim. In Indiana, wrongful death claims are covered by statute. In Indiana there are limits on who can bring a wrongful death suit and what damages can be recovered.

What is a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death claims are very similar to personal injury claims, except the injured party does not survive. Therefore, instead of the injured party filing the lawsuit, the survivors of the injured party must file the lawsuit. As with personal injury claims, the deadline to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years of the individual’s death.

Damages resulting from a wrongful death lawsuit include damages for medical bills, loss of love and companionship, and funeral and burial expenses.

Who files a wrongful death claim?

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on several things; for example, whether the deceased was a child or an adult.

Adult Wrongful Death

When the decedent is an adult, only the personal representative of the estate can file the wrongful death claim. The personal representative can be a family member or a neutral third party. Either way they must be appointed by the court.

It is important to note that while the personal representative is the one who can file the case, they do so for the benefit of the deceased’s surviving family members and unless a beneficiary, will not receive any money from a settlement.

Child Wrongful Death

When the decedent is a child, who can file the lawsuit changes. As a point of clarification, a “child” in Indiana is an unmarried person under 20 years of age.

In the event of a child’s death, one or both of the child’s parents can file the claim if the parents are married. If the parents are divorced, the parent with legal custody of the child may file the claim. Alternatively, a child’s legal guardian may file the claim.

What damages are available in a wrongful death claim?

The amount and types of damages available after a wrongful death vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the deceased at the time of their death. However, below are some general damages that may be available in the event of a wrongful death.

Funeral and Burial Expenses:

Funeral and burial expenses are a common damage that can be recovered in the event of a wrongful death. Therefore, it is important to keep copies of invoices and receipts for these expenses.

Loss of Love and Companionship:

While not possible to truly quantify, the loss of love and companionship of a loved one can be recovered in the event of a wrongful death. The amount of compensation available for loss of love and companionship varies depending on the specific facts of the deceased, but for example, in the case of an unmarried adult with no children, the recovery for loss of love and companionship is capped at $300,000.00.

Medical Expenses:

Medical expenses that are connected to the wrongful death of the decedent are also recoverable. These reasonable medical expenses include medical and hospital bills associated with the injury that caused or are related to the decedent’s death.

How can we help?

When a loved one dies, the first thing you are thinking about is often not a lawsuit. You are busy processing the loss of the loved one and focusing on your own health and wellbeing. The attorneys at Waldron Tate Bowen Land are here to help. We will evaluate the case and clarify what damages are available based on the specific circumstances of your case. We provide high quality legal services focused on helping our clients recover compensation after a life-changing loss. If you believe a loved one has died as a result of medical negligence, please contact us for a free consultation.

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