The Wrongful Death of a loved one can leave us shaken. There are many details to figure out and procedures to handle following a death. While death is a part of life, losing someone based on negligence or wrongful acts seems to make dealing with death that much more challenging.
According to the Indianapolis wrongful death law, surviving members of wrongful death are entitled to wrongful death benefits or compensation for the death. A claim must be filed for the wrongful death, and the number of benefits will depend on things like age and relationships. There are certain requirements regarding who can receive the death benefits, generally limiting it to immediate close relatives only.
It is imperative that you work with a wrongful death attorney in the Indianapolis area to assist in filing a wrongful death claim.
Who is Entitled to Compensation?
Understanding who is eligible to file for compensation after the loss of a loved one is the best place to start. One of the first determining factors in the claiming process is whether the deceased was a child or an adult at the time of death. Let’s break it down based on these two categories.
If the deceased individual was an adult, meaning they don’t meet the criteria to be considered someone’s child or dependent, not just anyone can file a claim. This allowance could vary by state, allowing family members, children, or another immediate family to file a claim.
Under the Indianapolis wrongful death law, a claim may only be filed for an adult by the executor of the estate. This means that whoever is executing any wishes laid out for assets and belongings would be responsible for filing said claim. They would also be responsible for administering any benefits that are received for the wrongful death claim.
The law in Indiana specifically defines who is considered a child. These are the determinants the law uses:
- An individual with no dependents and less than 20 years old
- An individual who is a student in college, technical school, or an educated person. This student would be under the age of 23 and have no dependents of their own
- An unborn baby whose age of viability has been reached
If the decedent meets one of these three criteria, they can be considered a child and therefore a wrongful death claim for a child may be enacted.
In the case of a claim being filed for a child, it must be acted upon by either the parents or legal guardians of the child. If the parents are married, they may file the claim together. If they are no longer together, the parent with custody will be the one to file. In the event the parents no longer have custody or are deceased, a legal guardian can file the claim.
Wrongful Death Claim Award
This claim will be filed and processed through the courts. It will then be up to the court to determine whether the claimant is eligible to be awarded for the claim. The award amount will depend on the decedent’s age, as well as the relationship of the claimant.
There are certain limitations and restrictions, including the executor potentially not being allowed to receive compensation for filing the claim.
Here are some of the different claim scenarios and what types of damages might be awarded.
Married Adult with Dependents
For a deceased adult who is married and has dependents who survive them, there are several different types of expenses that can be part of the claim. This includes things like medical bills, funeral or burial expenses, and even paying for the loss of companionship from the decedent. In addition, they can potentially claim loss of future earnings as well.
Unmarried Adult with No Dependents
Another scenario could be an adult who is not married and has no dependents. In this case, the estate or children who are no longer dependents could be awarded damages for a wrongful death claim.
Damages that can be acquired here include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and economic damages from the loss. This filing can also claim for loss of companionship from the decedent. However, there is a cap for this particular filing that maxes out at $300,000.
In this type of claim, the individuals filing the claim must be able to prove there was a substantial relationship with the deceased individual.
When a child is the victim of wrongful death, the parents, grandparents, or legal guardians could have a claim filed. Remember that there will be stipulations on legal custody of the child, particularly if the parents did not have joint custody. However, both parents could still potentially be awarded damages under the claim. If a parent or grandparent no longer had rights or was not actively a part of the child’s life, they do not qualify.
For a child who has died from a wrongful death situation, the claim can include medical costs, funeral and burial costs, necessary services, cost of counseling needs, and the loss of the love and companionship of the child.
In addition, this type of claim could also cover any uninsured costs that are directly related to the wrongful death. Attorney’s fees, executor’s fees, and legal fees can all be accounted for under the claim.
These claims can potentially extend until such time the child would have reached the age of no longer being considered a child.
Processing a Wrongful Death Case in Indiana
If you are facing a wrongful death, it’s important to work with an attorney who has handled Indianapolis wrongful death law cases in the past. You will want a firm with experience and expertise to ensure your claim is filed and executed properly.
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