Nothing can prepare you for the sudden loss of a loved one. Wrongful death attorney Randall “Randy” Sevenish of Sevenish Law Firm learned this with the sudden loss of his inseparable younger brother, Ralph, while he was stationed in California while on active duty with the United States Air Force.
In addition to emotional devastation, you and your family may also face overwhelming pressure brought on by medical bills, funeral expenses, and the loss of your loved one’s financial support. This is a chaotic, challenging, and confusing time for the surviving family. Serious legal mistakes can be made during this time of tragedy.
You do not have to face these challenges alone. The Sevenish Law Firm can help. If another person’s negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct caused the death, dedicated attorneys can pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf. While you focus on getting through this difficult time in your life, we will focus on seeking answers about your loved one’s death and the compensation you deserve.
An Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer can review your options with you and your family during this difficult time, and help you pursue the parties responsible for compensation.
Defining Wrongful Death
A wrongful death in the eyes of the law is any that can be directly attributed to the intentional, reckless, or careless acts of another person. Many wrongful death cases arise out of situations that would otherwise be simple personal injury claims if the victim had survived. For example, one of the most common examples of personal injury cases involves car accidents. Normally, the plaintiff in such a case is an injured driver of a car who alleges that the defendant was negligent.
However, this claim can transform into a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim in the case passes away because of the accident. The plaintiff still needs to prove that the defendant was negligent; it is simply in the process of assessing damages incurred that a wrongful death becomes relevant.
A wrongful death lawsuit can also arise out of an intentional act. Criminal acts such as murder, manslaughter, and other forms of homicide are prime examples, but even a simple assault that inadvertently results in the victim’s death can be considered wrongful in court.
If a defendant in civil court is facing criminal charges as well, potential plaintiffs should pay close attention to these proceedings. While criminal and civil cases are handled separately, the findings in one case can affect the result of the other. If a defendant is found guilty in criminal court, they cannot then argue that they did not commit the act during a civil trial.
What Compensation Can a Family Expect?
Indianapolis is subject to several state statutes meant to deal with wrongful deaths. Indiana Civil Law and Procedure 34-23-1-2 allows only the personal representative of the deceased to serve as a plaintiff in these lawsuits.
This personal representative may be named in a will, or will be appointed by the court if no will exists.
In addition, the lawsuit itself is limited in terms of the type and amount of damages that may be awarded. The law mandates that the plaintiff cannot recover damages for a person’s grief, lost future earning potential, or award compensation meant to punish the defendant. However, they may recover compensation for:
- Medical, funeral, and burial costs
- Loss of love and companionship that may not exceed $300,000
Wrongful death cases in Indianapolis, therefore, are extremely limited in the ways and means by which a plaintiff can recover damages. Still, this compensation can provide some level of comfort and closure to the family of the victim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana?
Generally speaking, a person pursuing a wrongful death claim in Indiana has two years from the date of the death to either settle the case or file a lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. However, if the case involves alleged medical malpractice, the statute of limitations requires a claim to be filed within two years from the date when the alleged medical malpractice occurred—not the date of death.
It is important for your attorney to pay close attention to the statute of limitations that applies in your case. At Sevenish Law Firm, we believe that a family should contact an attorney as soon as they are ready to take action after the death of a loved one. It is crucial to avoid undue delay. 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.
Let an Indianapolis Wrongful Death Attorney Help Your Family
A death is always a tragedy, and the loss of a loved one can throw an entire family into chaos and uncertainty. When this death is the result of another’s intentional act or recklessness, the family of the deceased has the right to seek recompense.
Indianapolis wrongful death attorneys are ready and able to hold the responsible parties liable in civil court for their actions. They handle all cases with compassion and precision to provide as much stability as possible for the family of the deceased.
If you recently lost a loved one under wrongful circumstances, contact an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer today to start building your case for compensation.