When you lose a loved one in an accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money can ever replace losing someone you care about, the Indiana wrongful death damages can help you cover losses and financial expenses resulting from your loved one passing away.
However, calculating these losses and expenses, otherwise known as “damages,” is not always easy. There is no set wrongful death compensation formula as every wrongful death case is unique because the damages can vary depending on who exactly is filing the claim, what they are entitled to, and who the deceased was.
To help you better understand wrongful death cases and what kind of money you could receive, we’ve put together this Indiana wrongful death damages guide. If you have further questions and need help with a wrongful death claim, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our Indiana wrongful death attorneys.
What are Wrongful Death Damages?
Wrongful death lawsuits deal with civil claims brought by the surviving family members or personal representatives of a person killed in an incident resulting from another party’s negligence. In Indiana, the law allows these family members or personal representatives of the deceased’s estate to recover compensation in the form of damages they may have suffered due to losing the loved one.
Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death Damages?
Who specifically is eligible to file a wrongful death claim and recover damages can vary from one state to the next. In Indiana, the law specifies that surviving family members or the person assigned as the personal representative of the deceased’s estate are eligible to file these claims.
The family members essentially become the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate, and they can collect and split the proceeds of the damages among themselves. Specifically, such family members or dependents that are entitled to these wrongful death damages can include:
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving, dependent children
- A surviving next of kin dependent
- The parents, if the deceased was an unmarried adult without dependents
- Adult children of the deceased, if they were unmarried and without dependents
- The parents or legal guardian, if the deceased was a child
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate, if they were an unmarried adult with no dependents or next of kin
What Damages Are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The Indiana wrongful death damages awarded can vary greatly based on many factors. The types of damages awarded can be affected by who filed the claim, what dependents, family members, or next of kin are eligible for compensation, who the deceased was, and what their income was.
Some examples of the various kinds of damages that can be collected in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Medical and burial expenses for the deceased
- Costs related to administering the estate
- Loss of wages and future earnings that would have been provided by the deceased
- Loss of life, care, and affection
- Loss of household services
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of future inheritance
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of the deceased’s retirement benefits
How to Calculate Wrongful Death Damages
When you file a wrongful death claim in Indiana, there is no way to come up with an initial amount upfront. Again, this is because there is no set way to calculate what the claim is worth without thoroughly taking all factors into account.
When you file your claim, you will need to work with a lawyer who can sit down with you to determine all of the specific damages that you or any other eligible dependents, family members, or next of kin are owed. There are also damage caps that must be taken into account, which will affect the final settlement amount awarded.
In Indiana, the damage caps for wrongful death lawsuits are as follows:
- $1.25 million cap for death caused by medical malpractice
- $300,000 cap for loss of love and companionship damages for a deceased, unmarried adult with no dependents
- $700,000 cap for death caused by a government entity
As you can see, many factors can play a role in what the final amount awarded will be. And your best chance of getting the full and fair amount you deserve is to work with an Indiana wrongful death lawyer who understands the intricacies of these types of cases and can carefully handle each and every detail.
Consult an Indiana Wrongful Death Lawyer for Help
Dealing with the trauma of losing a loved one is not easy – let our team of Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Crossen Law Firm help you handle your wrongful death claim. With over 20 years of experience fighting for those who have lost loved ones at the hands of someone else’s negligence, we have the skills necessary and are dedicated to working tirelessly to get our clients the compensation that they deserve.
Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.