Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Indiana?

Rachel N. Woloshin

Author: Rachel N. Woloshin

POST DATE: 3.23.23
Ccha  Personal Injury

Working out the details for filing a wrongful death claim can be distressing. You are still processing the death of your loved one, and the legal process may seem incomprehensible. You may wonder, who can sue for wrongful death?

The respectful and knowledgeable lawyers at Church Church Hittle and Antrim can help you answer that question. At CCHA Law, we understand your grief. Our compassionate attorneys can help you find the best legal strategy to meet your specific needs. We work hard to help families find the way forward after a loss.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

First, it is crucial to understand the definition of a wrongful death lawsuit under Indiana law. A wrongful death is a death that occurs due to another person’s wrongful act or omission. Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury cases except that since the person did not survive, the survivors must file a lawsuit. Thus, like in a personal injury case, you could bring a wrongful death lawsuit if a person’s negligence resulted in your loved one’s death.

You may recover damages for your losses through a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensation may include damages for medical bills and loss of love and companionship. While no amount of money can remedy the loss of a loved one, it is how the law deals with these cases.

A wrongful death lawsuit is civil and not criminal. Thus, the person you sue will not face jail time because of your case. There is also a different standard of proof in a civil case than in a criminal case. The plaintiff has to prove their case with a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the evidence demonstrates that it’s more likely than not that a wrongful death occurred. In a criminal case, however, the standard is much higher—beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wrongful death law is complex. If you’re considering a wrongful death claim, contact one of our knowledgeable and client-centered lawyers at CCHA Law today. We will help you advocate for your legal rights.

Image of wrongful death attorney and paperwork

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you’re considering a wrongful death case, you may wonder, who can sue for wrongful death? The person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit varies based on whether the deceased, also called the decedent, was a child or an adult.

The Wrongful Death of an Adult

The first type of wrongful death lawsuit under Indiana law is for an adult decedent. Only a personal representative can file a wrongful death claim for a deceased adult. This is different from other states where family members can file a lawsuit. The personal representative is usually the executor of the will. However, a court will appoint a personal representative if the deceased did not leave a will.

Even though the personal representative is the only one who can file the case, they do so for the benefit of the deceased person’s surviving family members or their estate. If the deceased was married or had children at the time of death, Indiana law provides that the surviving spouse or surviving children may recover damages for their losses. However, the personal representative must pursue the wrongful death case for their benefit. Our attorneys can further explain Indiana’s rules for how to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you’re a surviving family member.

The Wrongful Death of a Child

The second kind of wrongful death lawsuit is for a child decedent. Under Indiana law, a child is an unmarried person under 20 years of age. A child can also refer to someone under 23 who attended a postsecondary educational institution.

Depending on the circumstances, several parties may file a wrongful death claim for the death of a child. One or both of the child’s parents can file the claim. If the parents are divorced, the parent with legal custody over the child has the right to file a claim. Also, the child’s legal guardian may file the claim if the parents no longer have parental rights or if the parents died.

What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

You may be able to recover various damages from a wrongful death claim. The damages you may receive depend on your circumstances. We describe some common types of compensation below.

Medical Expenses

You could receive reasonable medical costs from a wrongful death lawsuit. These costs must have a connection to the wrongful act that caused the death of your loved one. Reasonable medical costs include any medical or hospital bills associated with the injury that led to your loved one’s death.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

Funeral and burial expenses can be extremely high. You could recoup any funeral and burial costs in a wrongful death case. Contact our attorneys for further details on recovering funeral and burial costs.

Loss of Love and Companionship

You can also recover damages for the loss of love and companionship of your deceased loved one. Damages for loss of love and companionship depend on your specific situation and relationship with the deceased. If the decedent was an unmarried adult with no children, compensation for loss of love and companionship is capped at $300,000.

The Reasonable Costs of Counseling

If you’re bringing a case for the wrongful death of a child, you might be able to recover the reasonable costs of counseling. Compensation for counseling expenses for surviving parents or minor siblings may be available when a child dies. This applies only in the case of the death of a child and not an adult. Contact our skillful attorneys for additional guidance on who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Is the Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana?

As with any civil case, you must file a wrongful death claim within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must file a legal claim in Indiana. In Indiana, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the individual’s death. If you miss that deadline, you may not be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.

How CCHA Law Can Help You

If you have lost a loved one due to another individual’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact our attorneys. At CCHA Law, a compassionate Indiana wrongful death lawyer can guide you through the process of filing your claim to recover compensation for your devastating loss. We provide high-quality legal services, and our clients are always our focus.

Not only do we care deeply about our clients and their lives, but we’re also dedicated to our community. We have contributed to over 60 national and local organizations. Stop by our offices or call us to start filing your claim today at 317-773-2190.