Losing a loved one is always devastating. When the loss is unexpected and the result of the negligence of another party, the impact can be even more profound. While your focus after this kind of loss is unlikely to be on money, recovering compensation can be essential, especially if the deceased was the primary earner for your household.
At Vaughan & Vaughan, we have seen firsthand the turmoil a wrongful death can cause those left behind. During this challenging time, your attention should be focused on your family, not on a legal battle. When you hire a Muncie personal injury lawyer from our firm, we will take over every aspect of your legal case so you can deal with more important issues.
Contact us today through our website or by phone and schedule a free case consultation with a member of our legal team.
Who Is Liable After a Wrongful Death?
There are many things that must be considered when determining liability following a wrongful death. Even if fault seems clear cut, there are often complicating factors that can make proving responsibility difficult. Fortunately, when you hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer to help with your case, they will know exactly what to look for to help prove liability.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case in Muncie
After the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another party, there are various damages you will likely be eligible to pursue. However, determining the exact damages that apply to your case can often be challenging.
When you hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer serving Muncie, IN, they will identify all the damages you qualify to claim. These damages can all be sorted into three overarching categories.
All financial losses that directly result from the loss of your loved one are considered to be economic damages. Since these damages are monetary, assigning a financial figure is easy. Some of the economic damages claimed most commonly in wrongful death cases include:
- Lost wages for work you missed because of your loved one’s death
- Lost future earnings the deceased would have made had they not died prematurely
- Medical bills for treatment the deceased received prior to their death
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
All losses caused by the death of your loved one that are not financial in nature are sorted into this category. Non-economic damages are diverse, and placing a financial figure on these losses can be incredibly challenging. Some of the non-economic damages claimed most commonly in wrongful death cases include:
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not awarded to replace losses suffered by the accident victim. Instead, these damages are meant to serve as a punishment for the liable party for the role they played in causing the death to occur.
A judge will only award punitive damages in extreme situations where the death of your loved one resulted from gross negligence or an intentional act.
What Your Muncie Wrongful Death Lawyer Will Do for You
When you hire a wrongful death lawyer to help you recover compensation following the loss of a loved one, there are several actions they will take on your behalf. The first thing you can expect your attorney to do will be to begin an independent investigation into your case. During the course of this investigation, they will gather evidence and look to prove fault.
The next steps your attorney will take will be to assess the losses you have suffered, determine the damages you qualify to pursue, and calculate the full value of your claim. They will then either submit a claim with the liable party’s insurer or file a wrongful death lawsuit with the court.
If attempting to recover damages through a lawsuit, your attorney will begin the steps of the pretrial process and, if necessary, complete all the steps up to and including arguing your case at trial. However, it is unlikely that your case will make it to court as your lawyer will also be in continued negotiations with opposing counsel, attempting to come to terms with a settlement.
File Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out
You must pay attention to the statute of limitations when filing a wrongful death lawsuit after the loss of a loved one. In Indiana, family members are generally permitted two years to submit the necessary paperwork for a lawsuit to the court. Missing this deadline will likely result in the loss of your right to pursue compensation.
While the statute of limitations is very strict in most cases, there are sometimes exceptions that could potentially allow you to file your lawsuit outside the standard two-year window. At the same time, other factors can put further limits on the amount of time you have to file, leaving you with months to submit your lawsuit rather than years.
Hiring an experienced Muncie wrongful death lawyer shortly after the loss of your loved one is the best way to identify the deadline that applies to your case and ensure that you don’t lose your right to pursue damages because of an unknown filing cutoff date.
Get a Free Consultation from an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Serving Muncie Today
When pursuing compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is essential that you secure the services of an experienced attorney. You want to make sure you choose a law firm with a history of securing significant compensation, both through settlement agreements and court rulings.
At Vaughan & Vaughan, we have been helping the family members of wrongful death victims get the money they need and deserve for over 100 years. Reach out to us today by giving us a call or completing our online contact form and schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team.