The grief of a loved one’s passing stays with you long after their death. It is more manageable on some days than others. That said, the impulse to share an experience or an old joke with someone who passed too soon never goes away. When you compound the grief of someone’s loss with the knowledge that their death could’ve been avoided, matters grow more complicated.
If negligence led to your loved one’s death, Carmel wrongful death lawyers can investigate your right to legal action. At the same time, Vaughan & Vaughan can give you the space you need to grieve, all while keeping relevant filing deadlines in mind. You or the deceased’s personal representative can contact our firm to kickstart an investigation today.
Your Right to Legal Action After a Loved One’s Death
Indiana does not allow a person’s siblings, parents, spouse, or children to file wrongful death claims on that person’s behalf. Instead, only the deceased’s personal representative, or executor, may file a personal injury claim after that person’s death, according to Indiana Code section 34-23-1-2.
Most Indiana residents name a personal executor when composing their wills. If your loved one didn’t have a will, though, the state can elect a personal executor on their behalf. You can speak with a wrongful death lawyer in Carmel to better understand this process. Together you can explore your right to legal action on a loved one’s behalf.
If you are not the deceased’s personal executor and do not get elected into said position, you still have the option to file a personal injury claim, provided you meet certain criteria.
You must have suffered personal losses in the same accident as your loved one and have the evidence to prove it. Your loved one’s passing may subsequently allow you to request wrongful death damages as part of your qualifying non-economic losses.
You Have Limited Time to Act After a Fatal Accident
Personal executors have a limited amount of time in which they can bring a wrongful death claim forward in Indiana civil courts. Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 notes that personal executors must investigate a loved one’s death, compile evidence of fault, and present a completed personal injury complaint within two years of that person’s passing.
Personal executors lose the right to file a wrongful death claim after the second anniversary of a loved one’s passing. Unfortunately, grief can prove debilitating in these circumstances, as it can prevent families from taking what legal action they’re entitled to.
That is where Vaughan & Vaughan comes in. Our team can act on a family’s behalf while you and your loved ones focus on recovering from your grief. We can help you find the balance between legal practicality and the pain of your loss without compromising your right to the damages you deserve.
How to File for Wrongful Death Damages
If you want to secure financial support after a loved one’s untimely passing, you need to compose a wrongful death claim. The wrongful death claim that a personal executor can submit to Carmel civil courts must:
Account for Your Loved One’s Losses
Your loved one’s death resulted in two kinds of losses. Their economic losses left you with bills to pay. These losses can include a loved one’s:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Unpaid debts
- Lost wages or sources of income
- Property damage and essential restoration or repair
What’s more, your loved one’s death also left you with non-economic losses. These can include the emotional stress of that wrongful death, your mental anguish, and any pain and suffering both you and your loved one endured.
It’s a Carmel wrongful death attorney’s job to find the financial value of these losses. We can then argue for your right to equivalent compensation.
Use Evidence to Support Your Claim
Whether you’re establishing accident liability or arguing for damages, you need to back every claim your complaint makes with evidence. A wrongful death claim submitted without data establishing a duty of care and a violation thereof may not move to trial.
You’re not obligated to investigate or analyze the evidence related to your loved one’s death. That’s our job. We can return to the scene of your loved one’s accident and bring in:
- Video footage of your accident
- Depictions of accident debris
- Statements from bystanders and expert witnesses
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Statements from insurance providers
We can then compose this evidence in such a way as to back both an assertion of liability and a demand for relevant case damages.
You Control How Conversations About Settlements Progress
Losing a loved one does more than force you to contend with unexpected grief. It can also leave you feeling as though you’ve lost control over certain aspects of your life. At Vaughan & Vaughan, we strive to put control over your life back into your hands. We specifically do so by helping you dictate how conversations about wrongful death settlements play out.
You have the right, once your wrongful death claim moves forward, to schedule out-of-court settlement negotiations with the party responsible for your loved one’s death. While these negotiations can leave you up close and personal with a liable party, they can also get you the financial support you need to recover faster than a trial.
That said, the personal nature of settlement negotiations can prove overwhelming, particularly in wrongful death cases. That’s why you also have the right to pursue a traditional wrongful death trial. These trials allow a judge and jury to determine your right to compensation.
You must contribute testimony and withstand cross-examination during a wrongful death trial. Fortunately, our team can prepare you for both in private case consultations. All the while, we can respect your grief and give you opportunities to step away from the more emotional elements of your case, when necessary.
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Carmel Stand With You
You have a right to justice after a fatal accident. That said, balancing your need to grieve with the demands of a civil wrongful death claim can prove challenging for even the most disciplined person. Vaughan & Vaughan understands the limitations grief puts on your life and wants you to have the tools to both personally and legally navigate your loss.
You and a loved one’s personal representative can speak with wrongful death attorneys in Carmel, IN, to learn more about the fatal accident services that our team provides to families like yours. Together we can fight for the wrongful death damages you need to contend with the cost of a loved one’s passing. Call or contact our firm online today.