Indianapolis Wrongful Death Case Lawyers

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Losing a family member is painful regardless of how the death transpired. A person’s death is often accompanied by financial burdens, including funeral and burial expenses and medical expenses. Family members are left trying to figure out how to cover these costs amid intense grief over the death of their loved one. This is when you may consider filing a wrongful death case.

If your loved one died 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 attorney. A lawsuit can alleviate a small portion of suffering for surviving family members. Sometimes, a case can even award punitive damages to those who have lost their family member.

A wrongful death claim is different from a personal injury claim. 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 1-800-265-9881 for a free consultation with one of our Indianapolis lawyers.

Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer

personal injury cases

Personal injury cases are more successful when personal injury lawyers get involved.

When a personal injury case involves a death, the situation becomes even more complex.

Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side will help you navigate the legal aftermath of the accident without feeling overwhelmed.

What Your Lawyer Can Do for You

An Indianapolis attorney can:

wrongful death lawyer
  • Conduct a thorough investigation of the accident
  • Examine your losses and gather evidence to prove the extent of the damages you have suffered, including pain and suffering
  • Determine all liable parties involved
  • Handle all of the paperwork and other legal details
  • Deal with the insurance company
  • Represent you in court

If you want the at-fault person or entities to be held liable for the actions that caused your loved one’s death, hiring a knowledgeable attorney is the best way to make sure that happens.

How Is Wrongful Death Defined in Indiana?

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, it is the loss of life resulting from someone’s negligence or intentional action, such as assault, battery, or murder.

Wrongful death claims are not to bring about a criminal case or 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 lawsuit does not depend on any corresponding criminal proceedings.

wrongful death claims

Civil lawsuits allow surviving family members to get justice no matter what has happened with any related criminal cases.

You may also be able to sue if the liable party was an entity. After all, an entity’s negligence can also cause a death; this includes businesses, municipalities, institutions, and organizations.

Types of Wrongful Death

Types of wrongful death lawsuits include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents – Death caused by vehicle accidents would include car crashes, commercial truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle crashes, or other automobile accidents, especially those caused by reckless driving or disregarding traffic laws.
  • 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 victims of reckless, unsafe drivers, and in many cases, these accidents result in the death of the pedestrian.
  • Boating Accidents – Accidents involving watercraft resulting in death also may involve swimmers and personal watercraft or flotation devices.
  • Medical Malpractice – This kind of case means that a death occurred because of the 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 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 death.
  • Supervised Activities – This applies to when a person dies while 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 lawsuit.
  • Workplace Accidents – If a decedent’s death is caused while performing their duties at work or their workplace, you may qualify for a workplace accident lawsuit.
  • 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 cases.

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

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

2 years

In a regular personal injury claim, you have two years from the date of the accident to file any personal injury lawsuits. However, a wrongful death claim has a slightly different rule.

Instead of a statute of limitations that is set based on the date of an accident, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is set based on the date of the person’s death. You have two years after the death of your loved one to file a claim for a wrongful death case for damages.

This is because fatal accidents don’t always lead to the immediate death of a victim. You shouldn’t be limited in your search for justice by the date of the car accident. The clock for the statute of limitations starts when a person dies.

As long as the accident caused the death, you should still be able to sue for wrongful death, even if your loved one died long after the car accident occurred.

Possible Damages for a Wrongful Death Case

Even though money will not bring back your loved one, the judicial system can provide compensation by awarding a monetary judgment against the person or party who caused the death.

It’s very important to consult with an experienced Indianapolis wrongful death attorney when considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for the loss of your loved one.

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

  • Reasonable costs of medical care from the date of injury through the date of death
    This includes financial compensation for medical expenses from the time of the wrongful death action to when the wrongful death occurred.
  • Loss of financial support from the deceased person
    If your loved one was your household’s primary earner, you experience lost wages and missed future income. It isn’t fair for you to lose out on 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 expenses based on burial costs or cremation options.
  • Legal costs and expenses of pursuing a wrongful death claim
    In order to fight for your rights and win compensation, you will need to pay attorney fees for the wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Loss of affection, love, and care for surviving spouses
    While this emotional suffering cannot be measured financially, you deserve compensation for enduring it because wrongful deaths are hard on families.
  • Loss of parental guidance for surviving children
    If your lost loved one is a fellow parent or your parents, you have lost parental guidance in addition to love and care from that individual, and such a 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.

The total amount of your wrongful death settlement  will be dependent upon the specific circumstances of your loved one’s death, including their estimated life expectancy.

Limits for Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims

wrongful death case

Most of the time, there are no limits for compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there are a few instances in which the compensation for a family may be limited, based on the details of the wrongful death lawsuit. 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.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

file a claim

In Indiana, the person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit is dependent upon the age of the victim. If the decedent was an adult, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a claim.

However, a child’s death is treated differently when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits. As children don’t typically have an estate, one or both parents can file a claim. If the parents of the child are divorced, the parent with custody can file a claim.

Additionally, a legal guardian may file a claim, but only if the parents have died or no longer have parental rights over the child.

3 Important Wrongful Death Statutes

Three statutes govern wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana: Indiana Code 34-23-1-1, Indiana Code 34-23-1-2, and Indiana Code 34-23-2-1. Together, these three statutes cover claims dealing with a child’s lawful death and those dealing with adult victims.

We’ve broken down each wrongful death statute for surviving family members like you to understand.

Indiana Code 34-23-1-1

Indiana’s Wrongful Death Act is the general act that covers many of the 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.

Indiana Code 34-23-1-2

A 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, this Act places a $300,000 limit on non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Indiana Code 34-23-2-1

The 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 this 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.

How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

For a defendant to be found liable in a wrongful death case, the burden of proof must be met beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning you must prove that the victim’s death meets four main criteria.


In wrongful death suits, 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.”

Breach of Duty

It must be proved that the defendant “owed a duty” to the deceased, which they failed to uphold.


How the defendant’s negligence caused the death of the victim also must be proved.


The victim’s death 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.

Wrongful death settlements are only achievable when these four criteria are proven.

If your attorney feels these criteria can be met, you will be advised to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana

wrongful death case

Family members who lose a loved one in an accident are often overwhelmed by grief. Car accidents, medical malpractice cases, violent crimes, and other untimely deaths are incredibly difficult to cope with. Making a decision to pursue a civil case is complicated, especially if a criminal case is proceeding at the same time.

To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana, speak with an attorney who knows the importance of providing empathetic, compassionate legal support during such a difficult time. Your attorney will fight for a wrongful death settlement that holds the at-fault party or parties responsible. Your first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is to set up a free consultation.

Contact Poynter & Bucheri Wrongful Death Attorneys

wrongful death attorney

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

If you believe you lost your loved one due to someone’s wrongful actions, we encourage you to contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.

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.

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

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 when you sue for wrongful death.

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

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.