The anguish of losing a loved one due to another person’s irresponsible or malicious action is devastating. It can feel unbearable, compounded by having to manage the deceased’s affairs. Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit at a time like this may be the furthest thing from your mind.
Although nothing can truly make up for your loss and the grief you’re going through, you may be able to get compensation for your losses. A caring and empathetic Carmel wrongful death attorney could provide you with the support and legal guidance you need to ensure your family’s financial security.
Wrongful death cases we represent
After a loved one’s passing, most people aren’t aware if they might have a wrongful death case. Some examples of wrongful death cases in Indiana include fatalities caused by:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Premise liability accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products (such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices)
- Animal attacks
Wrongful death cases aren’t limited to the above list, of course. If you’ve recently suffered the loss of a loved one as the result of an accident, you can contact a wrongful death attorney to explain your situation. A lawyer can let you know if your case can be considered wrongful death.
Is wrongful death a criminal case?
Wrongful death is not a crime; wrongful death cases take place in civil court, not criminal court. A criminal case concerning a death is called a murder or manslaughter case. It’s possible to have both a civil and criminal case going on concerning the same death, however these two cases are separate and distinct.
Civil vs criminal cases
In a wrongful death case, the family members of the deceased can bring a wrongful death lawsuit to seek monetary damages for their loss. In a murder or manslaughter criminal case, the defendant is prosecuted and if found guilty, may face imprisonment, jail time, or fines.
The burden of proof for civil cases is also lower than for criminal cases. Civil cases use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (which means there is greater than a 50% chance the claims are true). Criminal cases use the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard (which usually means between 90% and 100% certainty that the crime was committed).
While wrongful death is not a crime, the actions that led to it can be. It’s possible for a defendant to be sued for wrongful death in civil court and face criminal charges for the same incident.
How do you know if you have a wrongful death case?
Wrongful death, according to Indiana law, is a death that was “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another” person or entity. A wrongful death suit is like a personal injury lawsuit, but the injured person is no longer living and so cannot bring a claim on their own behalf. Someone else has to make the claim for them.
For a case to be considered wrongful death, there must be three main elements:
- The death was caused by someone else’s negligence or intent to cause harm to the deceased individual.
- There are monetary injuries related to the death that the surviving family members can receive.
- A personal representative is appointed to handle the estate of the deceased person.
As the plaintiff in a wrongful death case, you have to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased person which was breached and as a result of the breach, the decedent suffered harm.
Without experience in personal injury law or wrongful death lawsuits, you may not even be sure if you have a wrongful death case, let alone how to win one. If you have questions about a potential wrongful death suit, you should contact a Carmel wrongful death lawyer.
How to know if you need a wrongful death lawyer
If your loved one’s death was the result of an accident and you believe another person or entity bears the responsibility you might have a wrongful death case. Once you realize you have a potential case, you should consider contacting a lawyer rather than trying to handle matters on your own.
You can greatly increase your chances of obtaining the full amount of damages you deserve by working with our knowledgeable Carmel wrongful death attorneys. We know how insurance companies work and we’ve effectively bargained with them for past clients.
Wrongful death cases can be tricky to win but our team can fight to get you the best possible outcome.
How an attorney can help
If a company or organization is responsible for a wrongful death due to negligence, the legal battle can be complex. Companies usually have systems in place and their own legal representatives to safeguard them from lawsuits. An attorney can deal with companies and their legal teams for you, in addition to negotiating with the insurance company.
When it comes to gathering legal papers, collecting proof, and constructing a convincing court argument, working with a lawyer is the best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Our personal injury lawyers in Carmel will attend to all aspects of your wrongful death case. We will make sure that all deadlines for filing documents are met and all paperwork is completed accurately. We can also assess the value of your claim, so that you can request the full amount of compensation that you are eligible for.
How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth in Indiana?
Indiana places caps on how much compensation you can receive for a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Medical malpractice: up to $1.25 million
- Loss of love and companionship damages for a deceased, unmarried adult with no dependents: up to $300,000
- Death caused by a government entity: $700,000
Although the value of some types of wrongful death cases in Indiana might be set, not all are. Recovering damages after you lose a loved one can bring you peace of mind. You’re assured that the negligent party is brought to justice and you can use your compensation to help you pay for some expenses resulting from your loved one’s death, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Lost wages or benefits the deceased provided
Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana?
The deceased person cannot file a claim, so someone else must do it on their behalf. The person bringing the claim must be the personal representative for the decedent’s estate, which is usually a spouse, adult child, sibling, or parent.
Indiana has specific rules about who is awarded damages in a wrongful death case.
- Child decedents: If the deceased was a child, the child’s parents can receive compensation.
- Adult decedents who were unmarried with no dependents: If the deceased was an adult who wasn’t married and had no children or dependents, the damages can go to either their estate, their parents, or nondependent children.
- Adult decedents who were married and/or had children: The deceased person’s survivors can receive compensation for damages if they were married and/or had children.
Not only does Indiana have rules about who is allowed to get compensation for damages, but the law also states which damages can be rewarded. If you are unsure about how to proceed with a wrongful death suit and what types of damages you might be entitled to, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana?
Typically, a personal representative of the deceased files the lawsuit. They can be a spouse, adult child, sibling, or parent. If the deceased person is a child, the child’s parents can file a lawsuit. If they are divorced, the parent with legal custody of the child when they died should be the one to bring the claim.
For the purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit, Indiana defines a “child” as one of the following:
- An unmarried person without dependents who is under 20 years old
- An unmarried person without dependents who is under 23 years old and also enrolled in a higher education program or technical school
- A fetus that has reached viability
What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Indiana?
Each state has time limits on how long after an incident happens that you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Indiana’s limit is two years from the date of the negligent act. If you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you have two years from the date of the action that caused the death, not from the actual date of death (in some cases the two dates aren’t the same).
Trying to investigate a loved one’s death, compile evidence of fault, and present a completed personal injury lawsuit in just two years — all while still grieving — can be extremely difficult. For this reason, it helps to have a Carmel wrongful death attorney by your side. At Yosha Law, we can handle the lawsuit and legal matters while you focus on moving forward after your loss.
Evidence in wrongful death cases
To win your wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensation for damages, you must prove your claim. You need evidence to back up your complaint. Gathering and analyzing evidence is time consuming and costly, so our firm can handle it for you.
The types of evidence we typically gather for wrongful death cases in Carmel are:
- Video footage of the accident (sometimes available from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras from nearby businesses)
- Photos or depictions of debris from or related to the accident
- Statements from witnesses and bystanders
- Medical reports (concerning medical malpractice or defective pharmaceuticals)
- Police reports
- Statements from the insurance company
We’ll use this and other evidence to back up your claim that the defendant was negligent, and that your loved one’s death was the result. In addition to gathering evidence for your case, your attorney can also conduct research involving interviews with expert witnesses.
How to prove wrongful death cases
Live all civil law cases, wrongful death cases have a burden of proof. The responsibility is on you and your attorney to prove the defendant was negligent; the defendant does not have the responsibility to prove they didn’t do it.
How our Carmel wrongful death attorneys can help
Our experienced wrongful death attorney in Carmel will strive to protect your interests at each stage of the proceedings, giving you the opportunity to focus on your family during this difficult time.
The emotional toll of loss, coupled with the responsibilities of funeral planning, can overwhelm a mourning family. The thought of navigating a complicated legal process may appear daunting. That’s why our seasoned wrongful death attorney in Carmel is here to provide the guidance and support you need.
Our team of attorneys at Yosha Law has taken on insurance companies and other organizations to get fair settlements for our clients. With our Carmel wrongful death lawyers helping you, you can properly grieve your loss without having to worry about all the legal aspects.
When you choose to work with our firm for your wrongful death case, we will:
- Conduct a thorough investigation
- Analyze the case to establish liability
- Identify and consult with experts and witnesses
- Communicate with insurance companies and complete paperwork
- Determine a compensation target
- Negotiate with insurance and other parties on your behalf
- Provide representation if your case goes to court
Every wrongful death case is unique. Our team is equipped to handle the specific needs and details of your case. We’re also always available to talk with you and answer your questions, or just to provide support during this difficult time.
Call Yosha Law for wrongful death in Carmel, IN
At Yosha Law, our clients are always our priority. We strive to ensure you understand the legal process and take the time to explain everything to you as much as you need it. We provide you with legal advice and guidance tailored to your situation and we respect your grieving process.
To book a free consultation and discuss your case, contact our wrongful death attorneys in Carmel, Indiana, today.