The wrongful death of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. The loss of an innocent life that had barely begun causes unbearable anguish for the family that's left behind. It is hard enough for parents to deal with the death of a child when disease or other natural causes were to blame. When a child’s life is taken in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the pain and anger are even more severe.
As a father and grandfather, Indianapolis lawyer Randall “Randy” Sevenish knows how precious children are in their parents’ eyes. He understands the agony bereaved parents feel after the death of a child. He is committed to helping parents put their lives back together after a tragic accident claims the life of a child.
Sevenish Law Firm provides compassionate representation to those who have lost children due to someone else’s negligent act. We are prepared to pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf to secure compensation from those responsible for your child’s death. While you concentrate on coping with your devastating loss, we will focus on seeking answers about your child’s death and pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to learn more. We're ready to discuss your situation in a free consultation and share the insights we have gained through more than three decades of helping the families of wrongful death victims in Indiana.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action When a Child Dies?
A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that certain close surviving relatives may bring when someone’s negligence causes the death of a family member. These claims are often brought in situations such as fatal car accidents, deaths caused by defective products, or deadly injuries suffered on someone else’s property, for example.
Indiana has a specific statute that addresses wrongful death claims involving the death of a child. According to Indiana Code § 34-23-2-1, a child is defined as a viable fetus or an unmarried person without dependents, who is either under age 20 or under age 23 and still in school.
Unlike a wrongful death claim involving the death of an adult, there's no need for a personal representative to bring a wrongful death claim for the death of a child. Instead, the deceased child’s parents may bring the suit themselves. If the parents are married, they can bring the wrongful death claim together. If only one of the married parents brings a claim, the other parent must be joined to the lawsuit.
If the deceased child’s parents are divorced, the parent who was awarded custody of the child may bring the wrongful death action. The non-custodial parent may also bring a claim, but the custodial parent must be joined to the lawsuit. If the child had a legal guardian, the guardian may bring the wrongful death claim.
It is critical to work with an experienced wrongful death lawyer like those at Sevenish Law Firm to make sure the proper parties are joined to the lawsuit. Failure to follow procedure may result in the dismissal of your wrongful death claim.
Damages Available After the Death of a Child
The types of compensation available for the wrongful death of a child are somewhat different from those that may be recovered in a wrongful death action involving the death of an adult. One of the main reasons for the difference is that adults often earn an income and provide support, while children usually do not.
According to Indiana Code § 34-23-2-1, a parent or guardian may seek the following types of damages for the wrongful death of a child:
- The loss of the child’s services if for example, the child worked in the family business or on the family farm.
- The loss of the child’s love and companionship.
- Expenses related to the health care and hospitalization necessitated by the wrongful act or omission that caused the child’s death.
- Expenses for the child’s funeral and burial.
- The reasonable expense of psychiatric and psychological counseling incurred by a surviving parent or minor sibling of the child that is required because of the death of the child.
- Uninsured debts of the child, including debts for which a parent is obligated on behalf of the child.
- Expenses for the administration of the child’s estate, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
An attorney at Sevenish Law Firm can explain the types of damages you may be entitled to under the Indiana wrongful death law, including how they are calculated and limitations on damages under the statute.
Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
When you have lost a child, it is difficult to focus on anything else in life. The attorneys at Sevenish Law Firm understand your grief. We realize that you may be putting off contacting a lawyer about seeking justice for your child’s death. That’s understandable, but it’s important to keep in mind that turning the legal matter over to a trusted advocate will relieve you of a burden during this troubled time.
Remember that Indiana’s statute of limitations generally requires a wrongful death claim to be brought within two years after the child’s death. There are some exceptions, such as in cases involving medical malpractice where the case generally must be brought within two years of the incident, rather than the death.
We believe that parents should contact an attorney as soon as they are ready to take action after the death of a child. It is crucial to avoid undue delay. We are ready to talk whenever you are.
A wrongful death case typically requires extensive investigation and consultation with experts. Additionally, research must be made into all applicable insurance policies that are involved. An attorney will need a proper amount of time to perform this work within the statute of limitations period.
Our Indiana Wrongful Death Attorneys Are Ready to Help
We know that no amount of money can bring back your child. Our goal is simply to help you find out why your child’s life was taken and to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. We also want to make sure you obtain the compensation you're entitled by law to receive. These funds can help you to move on in life.
To learn more about our experience and how our wrongful death attorneys can represent you with the integrity, honor, and discipline you deserve, please contact us today by phone or through our online form. Our consultations are always free. We charge no attorney fees unless you recover compensation.