It is never easy to face the death of a loved one. If the death of your loved one resulted from the negligence of another person or entity, this time could be even more challenging to come to terms with.
In Indianapolis, you have legal recourse against the person responsible for your loved one’s death. This is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits work differently from one state to another, so it can help you to work with an attorney experienced in pursuing these claims under Indiana state law.
If you have questions about your legal rights following the wrongful death of a close family member, Ben Crump Law, PLLC looks forward to providing the answers. Call (800) 593-3443 right away to schedule a free consultation with an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer.
The Basis of a Wrongful Death Claim
The facts surrounding a wrongful death claim are often similar to a personal injury lawsuit. Essentially, if the decedent had survived, they could have pursued these claims on their own. Some circumstances that commonly result in wrongful death claims include:
Motor vehicle collisions are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,560 people died in crashes in 2018.
Medical errors and mistakes also make up a large number of wrongful death claims. Anything from faulty diagnosis to surgical mistakes could have fatal consequences. According to Johns Hopkins, medical errors are now the third leading cause of fatalities in the United States.
Defective and dangerous products also have the potential to carry fatal consequences. Most consumers use a variety of products in their daily life without fear of injury, but sometimes that confidence is misplaced. Anything from faulty auto parts to kitchen appliances could result in an untimely death.
Nursing Home Abuse
A large portion of deaths in the United States occur in nursing homes. While many of these deaths happen naturally, abuse and neglect are unfortunate but common causes of fatal injuries and illnesses in these facilities.
A fall injury could result in death in multiple ways. This could include a fall from a great height or a slip and fall on a flat surface. These injuries are most likely to be fatal when they involve the head or neck.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Indianapolis, call (800) 593-3443
Wrongful Death Laws in Indianapolis
Wrongful death claims in Indianapolis are governed by Indiana Code §34-23-1. According to the statute, a wrongful death is one that is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another. Most often, these claims are based on acts of negligence that result in the death of another person.
A wrongful death claim exists to hold the negligent party accountable. It would be an unjust result if a negligent person faced consequences for causing an injury but none for causing a death. State law allows these claims to move forward against the at-fault party despite the victim no longer being alive.
The statute also governs the right to file a wrongful death action. This right varies from one state to another. In some jurisdictions, many potential beneficiaries each have the right to file suit. In other states, only the spouse or children of the deceased may pursue legal action following a wrongful death.
In Indiana, on the other hand, the cause of action for a wrongful death claim rests with the deceased person’s estate. Only a personal representative of the estate may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. In many cases, the will of the decedent will nominate a person to serve as the personal representative. In other cases, the court must determine the party best suited to take on the role.
The only exception involves the wrongful death of a minor child. Under these circumstances, one or both parents maintain the right to file a lawsuit. In cases where the parents are divorced, the parent with primary legal custody at the time of death has the right to move forward with the lawsuit. In situations where parental rights were terminated, a legal guardian has the right to pursue a wrongful death claim.
No matter who has the right to move forward with a wrongful death case, a successful claim will result in compensation for the spouse, children, and other heirs of the deceased. If you have questions about your rights at this difficult time, Ben Crump Law, PLLC is ready to help you understand your options. Call right away to see how an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer can help you with your case.
Indianapolis Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me (800) 593-3443
Wrongful Death Claims vs. Criminal Charges
A wrongful death claim is not a criminal charge. If successful, the person that caused the death of your loved one will not face fines or imprisonment. Instead, these are civil actions. If the court finds the defendant liable for a wrongful death claim, the remedy is a judgment against them for monetary damages.
While a wrongful death claim is not a criminal charge, state prosecutors could pursue a criminal case at the same time that you move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit. The two are not interconnected, meaning the estate does not need the permission or assistance of the prosecuting attorney to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
You Could Be Entitled to Compensation Following the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
The aftermath of an unexpected passing can be one of the most difficult times in your life. While pursuing legal action might be the furthest thing from your mind, the guidance of an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer could be helpful. By placing your case in the hands of an attorney, you can focus on dealing with your grief. If you are ready to learn about how to protect your rights in this difficult time, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC right away at (800) 593-3443.