Losing a loved one is always difficult. However, this type of loss can be especially challenging when it is sudden and unexpected. In addition to the emotional toll that comes from the death of a loved one, there are often many financial challenges. While money may not be the first thing on your mind, recovering compensation can be essential for you moving forward.
At Vaughan & Vaughan, we understand the difficulties you face during this challenging time. Our team of Lafayette wrongful death attorneys can help you recover the compensation you need after the death of a loved one. Learn more about your options through a free case evaluation by giving us a call or completing the online contact form on this site today.
File Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit Before Time Runs Out
Generally speaking, Indiana gives the loved ones of wrongful death victims two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you do not submit the required paperwork before the statute of limitations expires, you will likely be unable to pursue compensation from the liable party.
Although the statute of limitations can often be very strict, certain exceptions could apply to your case that would alter the amount of time you have to submit your lawsuit. The details of your case could mean that you are able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party long after the standard deadline has passed.
On the other hand, an exception could have the opposite effect. A common example is when the party responsible for the death of your loved one is a government entity. In this case, you will likely only have months to submit your lawsuit rather than years. Hiring a wrongful death attorney shortly after the loss of your loved one is the best way to ensure all deadlines are met.
Who Is Liable for a Wrongful Death?
You will not be able to begin the process of recovering compensation for the death of your loved one until you first identify who is responsible. Unfortunately, proving liability is often much more easily said than done. There are likely a number of parties that could potentially hold a level of fault for your loved one’s death, and sorting through them all can be challenging.
The good news is that you don’t have to attempt to prove fault on your own. An experienced wrongful death attorney will know what to look for when attempting to determine fault and can significantly simplify the process.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney Will Work for You
When you hire a wrongful death lawyer, they will take a number of steps to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Your attorney will likely begin by launching an independent investigation into the death of your loved one. The purpose of this investigation will be to both prove fault and collect evidence that helps support your compensation claim.
Once their investigation is complete, your attorney will evaluate your losses and determine what damages you are eligible to claim. After calculating how much your claim is worth, they will likely either file a lawsuit against the liable party with the court or submit an insurance claim to the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
If you choose to pursue a lawsuit, the next step will be for your lawyer to begin the pretrial process. After completing the pretrial process, your attorney will argue your case in the courtroom if necessary. At every step of the way, your lawyer will also be in contact with opposing counsel, attempting to negotiate a fair settlement deal.
Damages You May Be Eligible to Recover After a Wrongful Death
After losing a loved one due to negligence or an intentional act, you will likely be eligible to claim a wide variety of damages. However, figuring out which damages apply to your case can be tricky.
When you hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Lafayette, they will be able to help you determine what damages you are eligible to pursue so that you can recover the full compensation to which you are entitled. All damages can be divided into three main categories.
Economic damages account for any losses you suffered that directly impacted your financial standing. Due to the nature of these losses, they are the most easily quantifiable of the damages you can recover. Some of the most often claimed economic damages in a wrongful death case include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings of the deceased
- Funeral & burial costs
Non-economic damages include all other losses you sustain. These damages can be quite diverse, and assigning a monetary value to these losses is incredibly challenging. Some of the most often claimed economic damages in a wrongful death case include:
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
While economic and non-economic damages focus on the victims and the losses they suffered, punitive damages are more concerned with the at-fault party and their actions. Punitive damages are used as a tool for punishing the liable party to discourage similar behavior in the future.
A judge will only award punitive damages in extreme cases. To qualify for punitive damages, the party responsible for the death of your loved one must have either acted with criminal negligence or have intended to kill or otherwise cause harm.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Lafayette Wrongful Death Attorney
If you are attempting to recover compensation after the death of a loved one, you need to make sure you have the right legal representation. It is important to choose an attorney with a history of representing clients in cases similar to yours and a track record of securing favorable results.
At the law firm of Vaughan & Vaughan, our wrongful death attorneys in Lafayette are ready to help. Reach out to us today by calling us on the phone or using the online contact form on this website.