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Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Who’s Able to File a Claim?

Author: Mitchell Williams, Esq.

Wrongful death cases can be utterly devastating to a family. When someone you love dies unexpectedly, it’s bad enough. When they pass away suddenly as the result of negligent, careless, or malicious behavior by another person, it’s even worse. Not only are you grief-stricken, you’re angry and betrayed.

The people responsible for your loved one’s death should be held accountable, and you can do that with a wrongful death suit. However, each state has its own rules and regulations about pursuing these cases and it’s important to understand how to go about it. Discover the laws and regulations regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana, and why you need help from a qualified attorney.

What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?

A wrongful death suit occurs when someone is killed due to the irresponsible or negligent actions of another person. It’s not a criminal case, meaning nobody will go to jail or be punished (other than financially). It also can proceed regardless of whether criminal charges were filed or were successful.

In a wrongful death suit, you seek to recover monetary damages you have suffered for your loss due to the other person’s negligence. It’s filed by the estate as opposed to a District Attorney and can be important in allowing you to move on with your life.

Damages from a Wrongful Death Case

In a wrongful death case, you can collect monetary damages for funeral expenses, medical and hospital expenses before the death, any lost wages and benefits from the deceased, and the costs of the suit itself. In Indiana, you cannot collect damages for grief or pain and suffering, and the maximum you can receive is $300,000.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Each state is different in its laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Indiana, only the personal representative of the estate can file such a suit. This person is either named by the courts or is named in the will and estate plan of the decedent. Damages which are collected are awarded to the spouse, children or dependents of the deceased. The courts decide how these damages are divided up.

If a child is the one who died, the parents must file the case; if parents are divorced, the one who has legal custody must file. In the case of a child who has no natural parents on record, or whose parents have lost their custodial rights, the legal guardian may file the case.

Statute of Limitations in Indiana

In Indiana, the statute of limitations for this kind of case is two years after the date of death. If you do not file within two years, the case will likely not be heard by the courts.

With so many tricky deadlines and difficulties, if you need information on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana, or you need help filing and pursuing such a case, a qualified wrongful death lawyer is your best bet. Call the Law Office of Ken Nunn for a free consultation on your case today.

About The Author

Mitchell Williams is a wrongful death lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina and lead attorney at Harris & Graves, P.A. which has offices in Columbia, Greenville, Florence, and Spartanburg, South Carolina. Harris & Graves is one of the leading personal injury law firms in the state and has been serving South Carolina since 1977.

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