How Long Do I Have to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana?

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The death of a loved one is always difficult for a family to handle. However, losing a spouse or parent to another person’s negligence can be more difficult than losing them to illness.

Families often find themselves struggling with both grief and financial challenges. The one glimmer of hope is in the possibility of getting compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. If you lost a loved one, you may be able to recover a range of damages including medical bills and funeral expenses. To do this, you’ll need to work with an experienced Indianapolis injury attorney. They will investigate the case, gather evidence, and ensure you file your claim in time.

Wrongful Death Defined

Wrongful death is caused by carelessness, negligence, or recklessness. In most cases, the act that leads to death is unintentional. Wrongful death cases tend to emanate from situations in which the victim could have filed a personal injury claim if they lived. Following their death, their spouse, child or parent can seek compensation instead. 

Some wrongful death cases follow fatal car accidents. If a driver ran a red light or drove while intoxicated and caused an accident, they clearly broke the law. They breached their duty of care to other road users. It is highly likely that the victim’s death was due to recklessness or negligence. As with personal injury cases, the plaintiff has to prove the defendant was negligent and that their negligence caused the injury.

A mother giving her daughter a hug.

Wrongful death cases can also follow intentional acts including crimes like murder and manslaughter. Even a case that started as an instance of assault can result in a wrongful death claim if the victim dies. The civil claim filed by a surviving spouse, child or parent is independent of any criminal charges. However, a criminal conviction can be used to show the extent of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness. If an individual is found guilty in criminal court, they can’t say they are innocent in a related civil case. If you believe your loved one’s death was due to someone else’s negligence, you should reach out to an Indianapolis wrongful death attorney.

Time Limits for Filing A Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana

There is a statute of limitations in place for filing wrongful death lawsuits. In most cases, survivors have two years from the date of their loved one’s death. However, there are situations where you could have a longer or shorter time. If the death resulted from medical malpractice, the clock may start running from the date on which the negligent act happened.

It’s important for you to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your loved one dies. Even if you’re not sure you want to take legal action, you would get vital information. Your lawyer will advise about the time limits which would apply in your case and advise you on how to protect your right to seek damages. If you delay in seeking legal advice, time may run out before you decide how to proceed. When claims aren’t filed within the specified period, the courts are almost guaranteed to refuse to hear the matter. While some states have a different statute of limitations for claims involving children, this is not the case in Indiana. 

Even if two years seems like a long time, you need to keep in mind that wrongful death cases require a lot of legwork. Your attorney will need to investigate, do research, and find experts to give an opinion. All of this will take time. You should, therefore, get started on your case as soon as possible.

Types of Compensation Survivors Can Get

If you file your claim in time, you can get compensation for a range of losses. You can only recover damages if you can prove you actually suffered losses because of the defendant’s actions. Your attorney will assist you in making a strong case. You can expect a fight from the other side’s insurance company. However, experienced wrongful death lawyers know all the tactics they will try. They know how to respond and get you fair compensation.

Some of the damages they will seek include:

  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Mental suffering
  • Loss of companionship, love, relationship, and affection

Contact the Wrongful Death Attorneys at Stewart|Phelps|Wood Injury Lawyers Today

Nothing will bring your loved one back. However, getting compensation for your tangible and intangible losses can make life more bearable. Contact our team of compassionate and experienced Indianapolis wrongful death attorneys and learn how we can help you. Your first consultation is free.

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