It is a natural impulse to want to seek justice when someone dies because of another party’s behavior. Whether you blame a business or an individual for your family’s recent loss, you may hope to pursue a wrongful death claim as allowed under Indiana personal injury statutes. Essentially, you can sue someone or a business for causing a death.
The process of pursuing litigation after a tragic family loss can intimidate some people. When you know the first steps that you need to take, you will have an easier time connecting with financial compensation because of your family’s recent tragedy.
Clarify if it is a wrongful death
For your family to have the right to pursue a civil claim, there needs to be evidence that wrongful actions by the other party, obvious recklessness or negligence on their part caused the death. In fatal car crashes, police reports and traffic cameras can help show that someone broke the law or acted in a clearly unsafe manner prior to the collision.
Explore who has the right to file
Most Indiana wrongful death claims come from the personal representative of the deceased party’s estate. They file the lawsuit and recover whatever they can, and then they distribute the proceeds from the lawsuit among the closest family members of the deceased in accordance with state law. Parents have the right to directly file if the death involved a minor child.
Determine the financial impact of your loss
While it may feel crass, you need to ask for a specific amount of money in a wrongful death claim. You need to calculate the losses your family has suffered and will likely suffer in the future. Indiana allows you to seek the medical and funeral expenses your loved one incurred, their lost earnings, the non-economic loss of their love and companionship and the services they provided to the family.
Recognize that you may need help
One of the biggest mistakes people make with wrongful death claims other than waiting too long and allowing the two-year statute of limitations to expire is that they try to handle it alone and end up making mistakes.
An attorney will know exactly what you need to do to file a successful claim. They can manage all the details so that you can focus on supporting the rest of your family and processing your grief as you adjust to life without your loved one.
Properly managing the first few steps of a wrongful death claim can help your family hold someone accountable when they cause a preventable death.