If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, you already know too well how devastating this situation can be. Whether the incident was due to drunk driving, medical malpractice, police brutality, domestic violence, or a tragic accident, nothing will be able to take away your hurt right now. However, an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer may be able to fight on your family’s behalf to file a claim for financial damages.
We’ll take a closer look at a few main points you should know about pursuing a wrongful death case in Indiana.
Indiana wrongful death cases can cover a very broad range of tragedy
Indiana wrongful death law applies when “the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” While this wrongful act can certainly be intentional, like murder or another violent act, this can also apply to actions that weren’t necessarily intentional. An act of negligence — and even an act of omission, or a failure to act — can be grounds for a civil lawsuit.
Some common types of wrongful death suits include defective products, theme park accidents, premises liability, truck accidents, and medical malpractice. If the responsible person(s) or company owed and breached their duty of care to the deceased, and if that breach contributed to that individual’s death, the surviving party (typically, family members like parents, spouses, or children) can hold those who were negligent responsible with a wrongful death claim.
Indiana places damage caps on certain wrongful death cases
Many states place limits on the damages in wrongful death cases filed against the government, and that’s the case here in Indiana. In fact, there are a number of other types of wrongful death cases in which Indiana law imposes limits on the civil damages plaintiffs can receive.
If the person who died was an adult with a spouse and/or surviving children, there is no damage limit. The same rule applies if the deceased was a child under the age of 20 (or under the age of 23 if they were enrolled in college). However, if the deceased was an adult over 23 years of age without a spouse and no minor children, there is a cap for non-economic damages at $300,000. Medical, funeral, burial, and attorney expenses can exceed this limit. And in cases of medical malpractice, damages are capped at $1.25 million. If a wrongful death suit is filed against an Indiana government entity (like a school, town, or the state itself), damages are capped at $700,000 total.
There are strict statutes of limitations on Indiana wrongful death cases
There are many reasons you’ll need an experienced wrongful death lawyer for cases like these. But out of the 1,315,561 lawyers currently practicing in the U.S., Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers will understand that these claims need to be filed quickly. In Indiana, a wrongful death lawsuit has to be filed within two years of the death of the deceased. If you wait until after that date, the case will be dismissed.
Although it may be difficult to take action in your grief, it’s important to make sure others are held responsible. At Hayes Ruemmele, we work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to help them get everything they deserve.