How do you turn grief from someone’s wrongful death into action? You can look to the law for support. Indiana’s civil courts allow certain parties to pursue wrongful death claims in the wake of fatal negligence. That said, when should you hire a wrongful death attorney, and what concerns might you have to factor into your filing timeline?
The most pressing elements to consider when asking yourself when to hire a wrongful death attorney include the following:
- Indiana’s personal injury statute of limitations
- Your right to file a wrongful death claim
- What kind of action you want to take after a loved one’s death
You can meet with Indianapolis wrongful death lawyers to discuss each of these factors before deciding whether or not to commit to legal action. An initial case evaluation with Vaughan & Vaughan does not obligate you to time in court or an attorney’s fee. Our first consultation comes free of charge and does not commit you to a specific path forward.
Consider Indiana’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The Indiana civil court system loves its deadlines. One of the most important ones you have to consider is the state’s personal injury statute of limitations. The state outlines its statute of limitations in Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4.
This code dictates that you have no more than two years following a loved one’s death to bring the circumstances of their death to the attention of a civil judge. That deadline is firm. If your case’s statute of limitations expires, you waive the right to fight for the compensation your loved one might have otherwise received.
With that in mind, if you’re interested in hiring a wrongful death attorney, you need to hire one before your statute of limitations expires. While you can take the time you need to grieve, the sooner you can get in touch with an attorney, the better. You want as much time as possible to investigate the circumstances that led to your loved one’s death.
Consider Your Right to File a Wrongful Death Claim
You also need to consider whether or not you have the right to act on behalf of the departed in civil court. Indiana only allows the deceased’s personal executor to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. If you fill this role and want to take legal action, we recommend that you connect with an attorney shortly after a loved one’s passing.
If you’re not sure if a loved one elected a personal executor, the state may elect a representative on your loved one’s behalf. You may alternatively look into the deceased’s will to determine if they posthumously elected a personal representative.
If you do serve as the deceased’s personal executor, you can connect with a wrongful death lawyer right away to discuss your rights within the role. If you do not hold this position, you may only pursue compensation for your own losses, not the deceased’s.
You can schedule a free wrongful death case consultation with our attorneys to discuss your legal relationship to the deceased, the rights the state affords to you, and your next best steps.
Consider What Kind of Action You Want to Take After a Person’s Death
Having the right to file a wrongful death claim on someone’s behalf doesn’t mean that you are obligated to take legal action. If you so choose, you can file an insurance claim with the offending party’s provider and end your action there. Some families, understanding that civil action doesn’t result in criminal consequences, prefer that out-of-court exchange.
Should you choose to move forward with a civil claim, you still have additional choices to make. You do not, for example, have to go to trial to get the compensation you and your family deserve. If the party liable for your loved one’s death acknowledges their role in an accident, you can resolve your case in out-of-court negotiations.
If you’d rather take your case before a judge, you have the right to request that an attorney initiate a traditional trial on your behalf. This process can be lengthy, as it requires you to undergo:
- Opening statements
- Closing statements
- Deliberation and verdict
Indiana’s wrongful death lawyers can prepare you for the demands of the process long before you find yourself in a courtroom.
You can discuss all of these approaches to wrongful death action as well as a lawyer’s role in them during a free case evaluation with an experienced team. Working with an attorney can make each of these processes simpler, whether or not you ever find yourself in a courtroom.
The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
Working with an experienced wrongful death attorney can make the process of filing a wrongful death claim simpler. Vaughan & Vaughan’s attorneys actively work to demystify the civil process on your behalf. Moreover, we give you the space you need to grieve without compromising your legal deadlines.
In offering you that dual service, we ensure that you can emotionally address a loved one’s passing while also fighting for the financial support you need to restore your previous quality of life.
You can discuss the pros and cons of a wrongful death case during a free case consultation with our attorneys. These consultations do not obligate you to continue pursuing legal action should you wish to step away from the civil system.
Book Your Free Wrongful Death Case Evaluation ASAP
Whether you decide to move forward with a civil trial or you want support when meeting with an insurance adjuster, Vaughan & Vaughan can stand with you. Our wrongful death attorneys in Indianapolis and beyond can help you continually argue for your right to fair compensation in the face of your life-changing losses.
You can meet with our team at any point before your statute of limitations expires to discuss the pros and cons of working with a wrongful death attorney. We can use your FREE personal injury case evaluation to outline your ideal filing timeline. Contact us today to book your first appointment.