Indiana damage recovery for a wrongful death legal claim is dependent on the status of the person who died and their surviving family members as of the date the death occurred. Supporting law relevant to wrongful death is covered in Indiana Code § 34–23–1–1 outlining specific actions regarding the death of an unmarried adult without children and Indiana Code § 34–23–2–1 for the wrongful death of a child. A legal representative of the estate must file a wrongful death case in Indiana. That person could be a surviving spouse, child, or another designated adult acting on behalf of the estate who was appointed by the court to represent the estate’s interests.
Damages are awarded to the estate itself, but can go to a decedent’s spouse, children, other family members, or designated individuals that were financially dependent on the person who died. Surviving parents or grown children could receive damages when there is no spouse, minor children or dependents. If the person who died was a child, surviving parents file a wrongful death action on behalf of their child without the necessity of a personal representative. Financial and emotional losses are considered in the wrongful death settlement award, and include compensatory and non-compensatory damages.
Multiple types of damages can be awarded in a wrongful death claim. They are meant to compensate the survivors for financial and emotional losses and can include:
Medical and hospital expenses; funeral and burial costs; attorney and legal fees.
Loss of benefits such as a pension, medical insurance.
Loss off income and wages.
Mental anguish and loss of companionship.
These type of damages are meant to punish a responsible party for wrongdoing in the hopes that it will keep them from doing something as damaging at a future time. Punitive damages are not awarded in wrongful death claims in Indiana.
Civil versus criminal action.
Wrongful death cases are civil cases and individuals can seek damages against an at-fault party for their loss. Consulting with an experienced attorney is a good idea as the law in Indiana has limitations on the types of damages an individual can be awarded in a wrongful death case.
Caps on damages.
Common restrictions include situations with no damage caps when a deceased person leaves behind a spouse or minor children, and the award is based solely on the jury’s discretion, including the amount of economic damages. There are damage caps of $300,000. when the deceased is over the age of 20, unmarried, and has no minor dependent. Medical bills, funeral expenses, burial costs, and attorneys’ fees can be awarded in addition to non-economic damages. There is also a cap in medical malpractice cases of $1,250,000 in Indiana.
Seek legal counsel.
Losing a loved one is a tragic event, and when the death is caused by the negligent acts of someone else, the emotional strain and financial hardship can be too much to bear alone. Seeking out the professional services of an experienced wrongful death attorney will be in the best interests of the family that is left behind. Call the Law Offices of Marshall P. Whalley for guidance on a civil action for a wrongful death loss in Hammond Indiana.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates
51 W 112th Ave
Crown Point, IN 46307
Phone: 855.442.7211 / 219.769.2900
Call Us: 800-672-3103