Nothing can ever truly prepare you for the death of a loved one, and the loss can be even more painful when it is caused by somebody else. One thoughtless act can be all it takes to cut a treasured life short and leave a devastated family behind to pick up the pieces.
While you cannot bring the departed back, you may be able to ease the economic burden of an untimely passing by pursuing a wrongful death claim. To improve your chances of success, reach out to the Greenwood wrongful death attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been aiding grieving Hoosiers for more than a quarter century.
To schedule a free case review with a Greenwood wrongful death lawyer, call us at (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Every state has its own set of rules governing wrongful death claims, including Indiana. Under Indiana Code 34-23-1-1, a death is classified as “wrongful” when it is “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” In the event of a wrongful death, the “personal representative” of the deceased may initiate a claim against the at-fault parties if the deceased, “had he or she…lived,” might also have done so “for the same act or omission” that caused the death.
The financial damages that may be recovered in an Indiana wrongful death claim may include reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses, which must go to the deceased’s estate for bill repayment, while other compensation could go to the decedent’s heirs.
There is a narrow window of time in which one may be permitted to bring a wrongful death action, known as the Statute of Limitations, which is two years from the date of death in Indiana. Any claimant who does not file a lawsuit or otherwise resolve a case before this window closes may be forever barred from doing so.
Our meticulous Greenwood wrongful death attorneys will make sure that all the deadlines needed to establish a valid claim are met.
Who Is Eligible to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
No matter how many people may be impacted by someone’s death, only a select few are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim on the deceased’s behalf. A claimant will typically be a close family member, and the decedent’s age will largely determine who exactly can take legal action.
Child decedents – If the deceased is a child, one or both of the child’s parents must file the wrongful death lawsuit. When the parents are divorced, the parent who has legal custody will need to file. If both parents are deceased or their parental rights have been terminated, the responsibility for filing will fall on the decedent’s legal guardian. For the purpose of these types of claims, Indiana’s Child Wrongful Death Statute defines a “child” as:
- An unmarried individual under age 20 without dependents;
- An unmarried individual under age 23 without dependents who is enrolled in a college, a career or technical school, or some other comparable program; or
- A fetus that has reached viability.
Adult decedents – When the deceased is a legal adult who does not meet any of the above criteria, a wrongful death lawsuit will need to be filed by the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate. Most typically, this would be the surviving spouse, adult children, or parents of the deceased.
Depending on the age of the decedent, there may be constraints on the nature and extent of the damages recoverable. Hensley’s Greenwood wrongful death lawyers can advise you of what you can expect if you are considering a claim.
Types of Indiana Wrongful Death Cases
A number of incidents could form the basis for a wrongful death case in Indiana. Common types of claims may include:
Traffic accidents – Auto accidents are the leading causes of wrongful death. There were 42,795 fatal crashes across the United States in 2022, with 955 deaths in Indiana alone, the majority occurring because of driver negligence.
Various factors could lead to a fatal traffic accident, including:
- Traveling too fast
- Operating a vehicle while drunk or chemically impaired
- Driver distraction
- Improper phone use
- Fatigued driving
- Driving recklessly or drag racing
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Poor weather or road conditions
Most automotive wrongful death cases are brought against private parties, such as a car’s driver or owner, but government entities may sometimes be involved, which may impose further statutory requirements.
Medical malpractice – Patients who are harmed because of improper treatment by a doctor or caregiver could recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Every year, there are about 940 malpractice cases filed in Indiana and 17,000 filed nationwide, many of them on behalf of patients who lost their lives. Examples of medical malpractice that could result in death may include:
- Failing to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Surgery and non-surgical procedure errors
- Improper anesthesia
- Medication mistakes
- Malfunctioning medical devices
- Avoidable birth injuries
A plaintiff’s attorneys will need to present compelling evidence of negligence to achieve a positive outcome in a wrongful death claim against a medical practitioner.
Product liability – Indiana law requires the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of consumer goods to ensure that they are safe before taking them to market. However, many companies place profits over duty and release dangerous products to the public. If a consumer suffers an injury from an unsafe item, he or she may file a product liability claim, which is usually based on one of the following types of negligence:
- Design defects – The product was conceived improperly.
- Manufacturing defects – The product was manufactured in an improper fashion.
- Failure to warn – The hazards of the product were not properly explained.
When a consumer’s injury is fatal, an eligible plaintiff could launch a wrongful death lawsuit. The Greenwood wrongful death lawyers at our firm are adept at marshaling complex technical information to construct rock-solid product-related death claims.
How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
A sudden death can force you to deal with a flood of emotions: sorrow, regret, confusion, but also anger – anger because your loved one did not have to die, anger because it was entirely the result of somebody else’s carelessness.
You need attorneys with the compassion to support you through this tragedy and the skill to hold the ones responsible for it accountable. You need the Greenwood wrongful death attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been helping the innocent victims of negligence since 1998.
If you decide to retain our firm, we will conduct a thorough investigation to identify everyone who may be liable within the time allotted by law. Our tenacious personal injury lawyers will leave no stone unturned as we amass the evidence to support your claim, taking legal action to prevent its destruction and coordinating our efforts with top experts if necessary. We will never let the intimidation tactics of insurance companies stop us from serving the best interests of our clients.
Obtain the Maximum Compensation Available
Once we have put together an airtight case against everyone at fault, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement that takes into account the entirety of your losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Termination of support
- Lost love and companionship
- Psychological counseling
- Punitive damages (if applicable)
And if we do not receive an offer that is equal to the value of your case, we are not afraid to go to trial for a verdict that is, unlike many of our competitors, who rarely, if ever, step foot inside a courtroom.
Though Indiana law places certain limitations on what you can recover for a wrongful death, we will always strive to obtain the maximum compensation available.
No Cost to You Until We Win
Our firm works on a contingency basis. That means that there will be no cost to you until our Greenwood wrongful death attorneys win your case.
Hensley is committed to alleviating your worries as we work tirelessly to get you the resources you need to live the life your loved one would have wanted for you.
Greenwood Wrongful Death Lawyers Here for You
Hensley Legal Group has been standing up for hardworking Indiana residents for over 25 years. If your family is still reeling from your loss, our Greenwood wrongful death lawyers will be here to get you justice.
Dial (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form for a complimentary consultation with a seasoned wrongful death attorney.
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