As Indiana wrongful death lawyers, we know the untimely loss of a loved one is tragic and heartbreaking. The survivors can find themselves not only at a severe emotional loss, but a financial loss as well. The obvious expense of the burial and funeral are not the only financial expenses that a sudden death can incur. The survivors may find themselves with a loss of income, hefty medical expenses, the loss of benefits, and more.
When the death is a result of the negligence or intentionally harmful actions of another then the survivors can potentially recover from their financial loss by filing a wrongful death claim. Indiana legislation places restrictions on the person that may file a claim to prevent multiple people from filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible party.
Statute of Limitations Concerning a Wrongful Death Suit
If you have lost a loved one and you believe that you have a wrongful death claim then you should speak to our wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible. In the state of Indiana, the statute of limitations sets a timeframe in which a civil lawsuit for wrongful death can be filed. The statute states that a person must file the wrongful death claim no longer than two years after the death has occurred.
Due to the short window that exists to file a claim, those wishing to file should seek legal counsel immediately following the incident. An attorney will not only guide you through the process of filing and pursuing damages, but can help you determine in the first place if you have a valid claim and are eligible to sue for the wrongful death.
Eligibility for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
With an initial consultation an attorney will be able to determine if you qualify to file a wrongful death suit in the case of your loved one’s death. Indiana legislation dictates that the person filing a wrongful death claim must be the personal representative of the departed’s estate.
If every person that depended on the deceased were able to file a wrongful death claim then there would be multiple civil lawsuits opened against the defendant for one person’s death. Allowing just one personal representative, such as a spouse or the decedent’s parent, to file the claim prevents multiple suits.
However, this does not mean that multiple beneficiaries cannot be awarded damages. In a single wrongful death lawsuit there could be several people that receive financial compensation. For example, a spouse, multiple children, and a dependent relative such as a sibling, could all receive compensation in one case. It is up to the court in situations such as these to determine how the damages will be split up amongst the recipients.
If the deceased person is a child, then an estate does not need to be opened. Concerning the wrongful death of a child the suit should be filed by one or both of the surviving parents or the child’s legal guardian. If the parents are not married then the wrongful death claim should be filed by the parent that has legal custody. The other parent would need to be brought in as a party to the lawsuit. For more information, speak to a wrongful death lawyer.