Indiana affords its residents the right to take legal action in the wake of a loved one’s unexpected and unpredictable death. While you can’t foist criminal consequences on the party liable for your loved one’s passing, you can demand compensation from that party in civil court.
The wrongful death lawyers in Martinsville can help you compile a claim outlining the nature of your loved one’s losses. We can then advocate for your right to a fair trial or, in some cases, out-of-court negotiations.
If you’re prepared to fight for the compensation you need to get your life back on track, let a Martinsville personal injury lawyer know. Vaughan & Vaughan’s team of experienced legal professionals are ready to go to bat for you.
Indiana Only Allows Personal Executors to File Wrongful Death Claims
Indiana does not allow the deceased’s children, partners, or related parties to take legal action on the deceased’s behalf unless those parties serve as the deceased’s personal executor. A person must elect a personal executor prior to their death if they want that person to maintain the right to act in their stead.
The state can elect a personal executor on the deceased behalf if related parties express interest in taking the deceased wrongful death to civil court. What does this mean for you?
It means that if you are the deceased personal executor, you have the right to connect with a wrongful death attorney in Martinsville and initiate an investigation into your loved one’s losses. If you do not hold this position, you may have the right to file your own personal injury claim, but you can not demand compensation for a loved one’s losses.
When to File a Wrongful Death Claim
If you are a deceased individual’s personal executor, and you decide that you want to move forward with legal action, it is in your best interest to file a wrongful death claim as soon as you can after the deceased’s passing. This, unfortunately, can be emotionally challenging.
You have the right to take the time you need to grieve your loved one’s death. Fortunately, wrongful death attorneys in Martinsville can make it easier for you to emotionally recover without sacrificing your right to a civil claim. Our team can open up an investigation into your loved one’s death while you focus on recovering with your family.
Indiana’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Applies to Wrongful Death Cases
You have until the statute of limitations applicable to your case expires to bring your wrongful death claim forward in Indiana civil courts. Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 states that personal executors have no more than two years to act on behalf of the deceased.
That deadline is strict. Many judges will outright deny your request for compensation if you attempt to bring a claim forward after the statute of limitations expires. With that in mind, if you’re concerned about your timeline, connect with an experienced attorney. Our team can help you stay on top of your filing deadline.
How to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim to Civil Court
How do you build a wrongful death claim so that you can win the right to argue for fair compensation? You and your Martinsville wrongful death attorney have two obligations:
You must meet Indiana’s burden of proof if you want to win the right to hold a liable party responsible for the death of a loved one. This means that you have an obligation to bring forward enough evidence to suggest to a court that a liable party’s negligence was both unpredictable and primarily responsible for your loved one’s passing.
The evidence you bring forward can include the following:
- Video footage of the accident
- Statements from expert witnesses, including police officers and medical professionals
- Debris from the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Cell phone data
- Black box data, if applicable
Proving Your Right to Compensation
You also have a responsibility to provide a court with evidence that you deserve compensation for the losses your loved one endured prior to and after their death. Fortunately, you can use much of the same evidence you used to outline a liable party’s negligence to establish the value of those losses.
The economic and non-economic damages you may have the right to in the wake of a loved one’s wrongful death may include the following:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Property damage
- Premortem medical expenses
- Post-mortem care and funeral expenses
- Lost economic support
The Overlap Between Civil and Criminal Death Cases
You cannot enact criminal consequences against the person liable for your loved one’s death. That isn’t to say, however, that you won’t be involved in any criminal cases brought against a liable party. The state can call on you to testify about a liable party’s negligence if the state assumes criminal action against an offending party.
Whether or not you go forward in criminal court, keep an ear to the ground regarding any criminal cases brought against the party liable for your loved one’s death. If Indiana’s criminal courts find that labor party guilty of gross negligence or other criminal behavior, you can submit that conviction as proof of negligence to a civil judge.
In other words, a criminal conviction can make it easier for you to secure wrongful death compensation in civil court.
Let Experienced Attorneys Help You Navigate the Civil Process
Martinsville’s wrongful death attorneys can give you the space you need to grieve while also protecting your right to bring a loved one’s passing to the attention of a civil judge. If you want to learn more about our services or if you want to commit to a civil case, you can contact us today to book your free case evaluation.
Vaughan & Vaughan strives to offer grieving Hoosiers compassionate and comprehensive legal representation over the course of a wrongful death case. You can trust us to prioritize your best interests without overwhelming you.
Get in touch with a Vaughan & Vaughan attorney by phone or through our website today.