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Hammond Wrongful Death Attorney

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The loss of a loved one is always tragic, but the pain of losing them because of someone else’s negligence is unthinkable. 

If you have experienced the death of a loved one in an accident, the loss is likely accompanied by a financial burden that is difficult to think about. A wrongful death attorney in Hammond can alleviate that part of your suffering by ensuring that you don’t have to worry about money during your grief.

Where to find your wrongful death attorney in Hammond

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Hammond

A wrongful death case is similar to a personal injury lawsuit. The difference is that in a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party brings the lawsuit and makes the claim against a defendant, and in a wrongful death lawsuit, the family or estate of a deceased person makes the claim. 

To file a wrongful death lawsuit, your first step is to speak with a Hammond wrongful death attorney who can review your case. This review should be free and without any obligation to retain the attorney. However, it is an essential first step in the process. 

The stages in a wrongful death lawsuit

There are several steps in a wrongful death case. Additionally, each case is unique, and so it is impossible to tell you exactly what will happen in advance. Still, this is a basic overview of what you can expect. 

  • Initial consultation.

During this meeting, your attorney will meet with you and other members or representatives of the decedent to learn about the case, review the circumstances of the death, and consider the potential liability of the responsible party (or parties).

At this stage, the attorney will assess the viability of your wrongful death lawsuit and offer advice for moving forward. They will let you know if they are willing to take the case or not.

  • Retaining the attorney’s services.

After the initial consultation, you can choose to either retain the lawyer’s services or not. If you choose to have the lawyer represent you, you will sign a contract that outlines their services, fees, and pay structure. At Yosha Law Firm, for example, we talk you through our contract, which states that you will only be charged if you receive a settlement or court award.

  • Investigation stage

During this stage, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your loved one’s death. This may include interviewing witnesses, collecting video surveillance footage or images of the accident, reviewing medical records, examining police reports, and more.

  • Identifying defendants

The responsible party may be an individual, a group of people, an entity, or an organization. For example, if your loved one was killed in a car accident by a negligent driver, that driver may be the sole defendant in the case.

If, however, a surgeon made a surgical error that was the result of the hospital’s bad policies, the surgeon and the hospital may bear responsibility for the death.

A person handing out documents to a lawyer in a wrongful death claim

  • Documenting damages

Your attorney will work with you to determine the total of the damages incurred because of your loved one’s death. This may include medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.

  • First stage of negotiations

In many situations, the case never has to go all the way to court. One of the first ways of resolving the case is to negotiate with the responsible parties or their insurance companies before filing a lawsuit. 

If you are offered a settlement at this point, your attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not it is a good idea to accept it. Note that at this point, the responsible party will often offer a very low settlement, and the case will need to continue.

  • Filing the lawsuit

If there is not an agreeable settlement in the negotiation phase, your attorney will prepare and then file the former lawsuit. The complaint will explain the legal claims, the damages you are seeking, and the basis for holding the defendant(s) liable for the wrongful death. Typically lawsuits are filed in the court where the death occurred.

  • Discovery

The discovery phase of a lawsuit is when both parties–attorneys for the defendant(s) and the plaintiff–exchange information and evidence.

  • Next phase of negotiations

Throughout the entire process, there are always opportunities for settlement discussions. Representatives from the insurance company or the defendant’s lawyer may reach out to your wrongful death attorney to offer a settlement. 

If there is a mutually acceptable settlement offered, the case may be resolved at this point without going to trial.

  • Trial

If the case is not resolved by this point, it will be time for the case to go to trial. You can read our recent blog post about the stages of a personal injury trial for more information, as the court procedures are basically the same for both types of cases.

  • Resolution

At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will announce a verdict on the liability of the defendant. If the trial ends in your favor, you will receive a court award. Your attorney’s fees will be deducted from your total, and you will be able to use the remainder of your award to pay for your expenses and losses. 

Slip and Fall accident report as wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana

Common Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Indiana

Human negligence can cause many different kinds of accidents. In Indiana, some of the most common types of wrongful deaths are caused by the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Semi truck accidents
  • Rideshare accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bike accidents
  • Dog attacks
  • Occupational hazards
  • Slip-and-falls
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect 
  • Surgical or hospital malpractice

FAQs About Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Hammond

Every day, our attorneys at Yosha Law Firm answer questions about personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful deaths. Our hearts go out to every survivor of these tragic accidents, and we always answer our clients’ questions with as much clarity as possible. 

We know there is a lot of confusion and pain in the weeks, months, and years after losing your loved one in an accident, and our Hammond wrongful death attorneys want to help you get the information you need so that you can seek justice. 

How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana?

In personal injury lawsuits in Indiana, you have two years from the date of the accident. The two year rule is the same for wrongful death accidents, but you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file.

This is because death from an accident is not always immediate. If your loved one died weeks, months, or even years after the accident that caused their injuries, reach out to a wrongful death attorney to find out if you have the right to bring a case against the negligent party. 

Who can sue for damages after a wrongful death of an adult? 

There is one party who can sue for damages after a wrongful death: the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. However, the award is generally distributed to the decedent’s heirs by a probate court. This ensures that family members are the beneficiaries of the damages. 

Although this may seem confusing at first, this system allows just one person to bring the lawsuit and many people to benefit from the court award. 

If the decedent left a will, the damages will be awarded according to the will’s instructions. If they died without a will, then it will be divided according to Indiana’s intestacy statute.

Who can sue for wrongful death of a child?

Children rarely leave behind an estate, which makes the law regarding the wrongful death of children quite different from adults. 

Indiana law allows the parents of a child to file a wrongful death lawsuit. That includes:

  • One or both biological parents
  • One or both custodial parents
  • One or more legal guardians

Indiana law also defines a child as a person under the age of 20 or under the age of 23 if they are enrolled in a college, university, or trade school. 

In addition to claiming damages for medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of companionship, parents and guardians may also claim damages for the mental health and psychiatric treatment associated with coping with this great loss. 

If you are now responsible for uninsured debts that belonged to the child, you can also include those numbers in your request for compensation. 

When should I contact a wrongful death attorney?

We know that there are many things on your mind when you have lost a loved one, and adding one more responsibility to your plate may seem impossible. However, it is important to reach out to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. 

These cases can take a lot of time, and the sooner we can get to work, the sooner we can help you get justice for your loss. 

At Yosha Law Firm, We Help Survivors Get Justice

You and your loved ones deserve justice, and at Yosha Law Firm, we can help you get it. 

Our Hammond, IN, wrongful death attorneys know the ins and outs of Indiana’s legal system, including the best ways to get you compensation for the damages you have suffered. 

Reach out to us today or set up a free consultation so that we can review your case, learn about your loved one’s death, and help you plan your next steps.

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