Wrongful Death

Losing a family member is painful regardless of how the death occurred. However, when the death of a family member is the result of a careless or negligent act, the frustration and anger combined with the grief can be overwhelming.

If your loved one died too soon because of the wrongful acts of another person, you have the right to seek justice for your loved one and your family by filing a lawsuit with an Indianapolis wrongful death attorney.

Wrongful death claims are different from other types of personal injury claims. The victim cannot speak for himself or herself. However, you can speak for your loved one and we can help.

If you want to explore filing a wrongful death claim, contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, by calling (800) 265-9881 for a free consultation with one of our Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers.

Defining Wrongful Death

Legally, Indiana law defines wrongful death as “the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person.” In other words, wrongful death is the loss of life resulting from someone’s negligence or intentional action, such as assault, battery or murder.

For a wrongful death defendant to be found liable, the burden of proof must be met, meaning you must be able to prove that the victim’s death meets four main criteria, or elements. These elements are:

  1. Negligence - It must be proved that the death of the victim was brought about, either entirely or in part, by “recklessness, carelessness or negligent actions of the defending party.”
  2. Breach of Duty - It must be proved that the defendant “owed a duty” to the deceased.
  3. Causation - How the defendant’s negligence caused the death of the victim also must be proved.
  4. Damages - The victim’s death must have caused quantifiable monetary damages, such as hospital bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, etc., in addition to the not easily quantifiable pain and suffering the victim experienced prior to death.

Wrongful death claims are not to bring about criminal charges but are rather the civil action taken to award damages for the loss of life. Even in cases of intentional harm, the civil wrongful death suit does not depend on any corresponding criminal proceedings.

For instance, a famous example would be the cases of O.J. Simpson. While he was found not guilty of the state’s criminal charges for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, he was found guilty and therefore legally liable for their deaths in the civil wrongful death suits brought forth by their families.

Types of Wrongful Death

In the Simpson case, wrongful death was the result of an intentional act of violence. Other types of wrongful death are caused by:

  • Motor vehicle accidents - Death caused by motor vehicle accidents would include car crashes, commercial truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle crashes, etc.
  • Bicycle Accidents - Accidents involving non-motorized bicycles such as dirtbikes, racing bikes and recreational bikes that result in death would qualify as bicycle accidents.
  • Pedestrian Accidents - Pedestrians are often the unwitting victims of reckless, unsafe drivers, and in many cases, these accidents result in the death of the pedestrian. These also can be caused when the pedestrian attempts to cross a street, thoroughfare or highway.
  • Boating Accidents - Accidents involving watercraft resulting in death also may involve swimmers and personal watercraft or flotation devices.
  • Medical Malpractice - Medical malpractice wrongful deaths deal with death caused by negligence or harm done by a medical professional or healthcare worker.
  • Birth Injuries - Also known as infant wrongful death, birth injury is when the birth of a child results in death rather than life due to an injury sustained during birth or a medical mistake.
  • Abuse and Neglect - Often the case in nursing homes, abuse and neglect can result in wrongful death.
  • Supervised Activities - This applies to wrongful deaths that occur when the victim is under someone’s care and supervision at the time of death, such as in cases with child care, adult care or field trips.
  • Defective Products - These cases occur if a company’s products do not work as advertised, cause harm or have a defect that leads to the death of a loved one.
  • Premises Liability Claims (Slip and Fall Accidents) - If a loved one were to slip and fall on an unmarked wet floor at the grocery store or have another accident on someone’s premises that resulted in their death, you might qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Aviation Accidents - Wrongful death cases that are the result of airplane accidents qualify as aviation accidents, such as when a plane crashes due to pilot recklessness or airline negligence.
  • Workplace Accidents - If a loved one is killed while performing their duties at work or their workplace, you may qualify for a workplace accident wrongful death suit.
  • DUI Accidents - Accidents in which the defendant is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that result in the death of the victim qualify as DUI accidental deaths.
  • ATV Accidents - All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, can be fun but dangerous; deaths caused by falls or accidents involving ATVs result in ATV wrongful death case
  • Sporting And Recreational Accidents - Accidents that result in death that occur while hiking, ziplining, swimming, diving, horseback riding or other recreational activities fall under this category.

If you want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, call our wrongful death attorney in Indianapolis at 1-800-265-9881  for a free consultation.

Wrongful Death Statistics

Even though money will not ease your pain nor will it bring back your loved one, the judicial system can only provide compensation to those who lost a loved one by awarding a monetary judgment against the person or party who caused the death.

It is very important to consult with an experienced Indianapolis wrongful death attorney. The types of damages and the amount of compensation you might receive depends on the facts and circumstances in your case.

Examples of the types of damages that you might be entitled to compensation for in a wrongful death action include:

  • Reasonable costs of medical care from the date of injury through the date of death
  • Loss of financial support from the deceased person
  • Reasonable expenses for burial and funeral expenses
  • Cost of attorney fees and expenses of pursuing a wrongful death claim
  • Loss of affection, love, and care for surviving spouses
  • Loss of parental guidance for surviving children
  • Loss of household services

You Can Talk to an Indianapolis Wrongful Death Attorney About Your Case!

Request a free case review with an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer at Poynter & Bucheri, LLC. You can also chat with a representative 24/7 online to get the help you need now!

Types of Wrongful Death Cases in Indianapolis

Several different situations may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana. Some of the common types of wrongful death cases that our Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers handle include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, commercial truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle crashes, etc.
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Boating Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Defective Products
  • Premises Liability Claims (Slip and Fall Accidents)
  • Aviation Accidents
  • Workplace Accidents
  • DUI Accidents
  • ATV Accidents
  • Intentional Acts Of Violence
  • Sporting And Recreational Accidents

If you believe you lost your loved one due to a wrongful act, we encourage you to contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. Your time to file a wrongful death lawsuit is limited by law.

In most cases, the statute of limitations in wrongful death laws state gives you only two years from the date of death to file your claim. However, some situations could shorten that time, such as in cases involving a government entity. Therefore, do not delay in contacting a wrongful death lawyer with Poynter & Bucheri, LLC for an appointment.

We Specialize in Helping Families of Wrongful Death Victims!

Request a free case review with an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer at Poynter & Bucheri, LLC. You can also chat with a representative 24/7 online to get the help you need now!

Understanding Wrongful Death in Indiana

In Indiana, there are three statutes that govern wrongful death: Indiana Code 34-23-1-1, Indiana Code 34-23-1-2, and Indiana Code 34-23-2-1. Together, these three statutes cover the laws regarding cases in the event of wrongful death in general, for claims dealing with a child’s lawful death and for those dealing with adult wrongful death.

While it can be confusing for there to be three separate statutes, we’ve broken them down for you below.

  • Indiana Code 34-23-1-1: Wrongful Death ActIndiana’s Wrongful Death Act is the general act that covers many of the wrongful death claims filed in the state. The law limits actions to claims filed by the personal representative for the deceased’s estate. The law does not place a limit on compensation paid under the Wrongful Death Act. However, compensation for medical and burial expenses must be reasonable. The proceeds of a wrongful death settlement under this statute are for the benefit of the person’s surviving spouse and dependents. There are caps for compensation if the claim under this act was because of medical malpractice or involves a government entity. The limit for compensation in medical malpractice cases is $1,250,000, and the limit for compensation in cases involving a government entity is $700,000.
  • Indiana Code 34-23-1-2: Adult Wrongful Death ActA claim under the Adult Wrongful Death Act may be brought when the deceased person is not married and does not have any children or dependents. Whereas there are no substantial limits to compensation in the other two Indiana wrongful death statutes, the Adult Wrongful Death Act places a $300,000 limit on non-economic damages under this wrongful death statute.
  • Indiana Code 34-23-2-1: Child’s Wrongful Death ActThe Child’s Wrongful Death Act is used when the deceased person is single, has no dependents, and is under the age of 20 years old or 23 years old if in certain types of educational institutions. There are no limits on the compensation that may be awarded under the Child’s Wrongful Death Act, except in cases of medical malpractice or cases involving government entities. In addition, the Indiana General Assembly has defined a viable fetus as a “child” in claims under this statute.

If you believe your loved one died because of a wrongful act, we encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation. Your time to file a wrongful death lawsuit is limited by law. In most cases, you only have two years from the date of death to file your claim.

However, some situations could shorten that time, such as in cases involving a government entity. Therefore, do not delay in contacting a wrongful death lawyer with Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, for an appointment.

Call 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 to request your free consultation with an Indianapolis wrongful death attorney with Poynter & Bucheri, LLC.

It is our mission to help families who have been impacted by the negligent, reckless, and wrongful acts of another party. We want to help you seek justice for your loved one and your family.

What Type of Damages Are Awarded in an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Even though money will neither ease your pain nor bring back your loved one, the judicial system only can provide compensation for a death by awarding a monetary judgment against the person or party who caused the death.

It is very important to consult with an experienced Indianapolis wrongful death attorney, such as those at Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, when considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for the loss of your loved one. The types of damages and the amount of compensation you might receive depends on the facts and circumstances in your case and how well your attorneys are able to present your case and fight for your rights and those of your loved ones.

Examples of the types of damages that you might be entitled to compensation for in a wrongful death action include:

  • Reasonable costs of medical care from the date of injury through the date of death
    If your loved one was killed in an accident, emergency services were most likely called. In Indiana, the average cost of an ambulance in Indianapolis as of 2018 was between $2,000 and $2,300. Add onto this any hospital care, surgeries or attempts at resuscitation, and you have wracked up quite a bill.
  • Loss of financial support from the deceased person
    If your loved one was your household’s primary earner, you may have lost not only that individual but all of their earnings and earning potential. It isn’t fair for you to lose out on vital financial security because of someone else’s negligence.
  • Reasonable expenses for burial and funeral expenses
    The average funeral in Indiana is estimated to be about $10,000, with additional costs based on burial or cremation options. These costly expenses are brought about solely by the wrongful, untimely and unexpected death of your loved one.
  • Cost of attorney fees and expenses of pursuing a wrongful death claim
    Unfortunately, in order to fight for your rights and win compensation, you will need to hire attorneys, adding to the financial commitments brought about by the wrongful death of your loved one.
  • Loss of affection, love and care for surviving spouses
    If you lose your spouse in a case of wrongful death, you have lost unquantifiable love, care, friendship, partnership and affection. While this emotional suffering is not something that can be measured easily financially, you deserve compensation for enduring it.
  • Loss of parental guidance for surviving children
    If your lost loved one is a fellow parent or your parent, you have lost parental guidance in addition to love and care from that individual, and such an emotional toll deserves compensation.
  • Loss of household services
    Losing a member of your household also means losing their contributions to the upkeep of your home, cars, items and any other investments and daily tasks they might have been involved in.

Losing a loved one can bring about a range of emotions and grief, but losing a loved one prematurely due to the negligent or even intentional wrongful actions of another can be unbearably traumatic. If this happens to you, you have the right to seek compensation for your suffering.

Call (800) 265-9881 for a Free Case Review. No Attorney Fees, Unless You Win.

Our experienced wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee, which means if you do not win your case, you will pay no attorney fees.

Limits for Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases

In many wrongful death actions, there are no limits for compensation. However, there are a few instances in which the compensation for a family may be limited. Our Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers work diligently to recover the maximum compensation for families who have lost a loved one because of the wrongful acts of another party.

Contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC, by calling (800) 265-9881 for a free consultation with one of our Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers, and let us help you fight for your rights and those of your loved ones.

We’re here to provide a smooth legal process and help you hold the right person and/or company responsible for the loss of your loved one. We’ll give you a voice in the Indiana legal system and help you get every penny you deserve.

 

Video Transcript
Hi, my name is Rich Bucheri from Poynter & Bucheri injury attorneys, and today I want to talk about the importance of consulting an attorney right away in potential cases of wrongful death. Anytime anybody passes away unexpectedly, especially if it was a result of an accident, usually the last thing on a person's mind or the family's mind is, hey, we need to get an attorney to sue. But unfortunately, like in all serious cases, the sooner that you can get someone investigating the facts of the situation, the more likely that you're going to be able to preserve your claim. In cases where it's an auto accident, then steps need to be taken to determine if we need to preserve the accident scene in some way or the vehicles that were involved in it, any other evidence that there may be that needs to be preserved, and somebody needs to be working on that right away.

In order to do this, we may have to open an estate so that we can get a special representative appointed to handle the things that need to be handled in order to be able to get the investigation underway. Medical bills start coming in and in wrongful death cases, the proceeds of the wrongful death cases will be applied to pay the medical bills. And so someone needs to be on top of gathering those medical bills and making sure that the medical bills and the funeral expenses are calculated so that when the time comes for the settlement proceeds to be distributed, that those things get taken care of and won't fall to any one member of the family.

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