Helping Loved Ones of Wrongful Death Victims Throughout Crown Point
The loss of a loved one is a tragedy in any circumstances, but the pain can feel amplified if your loved one dies as the result of wrongful death. Whether you and your family members are the victims of a medical malpractice case, or death occurs as the result of negligence, losing a life can feel all the more tragic if you learn that someone is directly at fault.
What Is Defined As Wrongful Death?
The state of Indiana defines “wrongful death” as any incident in which“the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” In these cases, those left behind may have the right to begin legal action against a third party, if this person is found to be liable for the death as a result of negligence or medical malpractice.
Who Is Liable In A Wrongful Death Case?
As with a personal injury case for a living plaintiff, liability in a wrongful death case can be placed on the third party, if it can be proven that their actions, or lack of actions, were negligent and contributed directly to the death in question.
A claim for wrongful death usually is filed by a personal representative of the deceased, working on behalf of the estate. If a child has died, the claim must be filed by one or both of the child’s parents, or the recognized legal guardian if parents are divorced. The statute of limitations gives two years from the date of death for such claims to be filed, even if an ongoing criminal lawsuit is running simultaneously, or if the death involved is that of a child. Once the claim has been resolved, the court decides how damages are distributed, and these tend to be divided between the surviving spouse and any minor children or dependents.
What Happens If I Prove Liability?
If you can prove that the third party was liable for the death, you may be entitled to civil damages. These are awarded to certain qualifying surviving family members to compensate them for losses incurred as a result of the death.
In Indiana, if an adult is not married and does not have any children or dependent next of kin, then the parents or children may recover, but the loss of love and companionship is capped at a total of $300,000. In that case, additional damages for medical, funeral, and burial expenses as well as personal injury attorney in Highland fees are recoverable.
What Are The Types of Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can take many forms and constitutes the third leading cause of death in the USA. The four main areas are medical malpractice, vehicular accidents, workplace accidents, and death due to a defective product.
- Medical Malpractice: This is an area of the law surrounding wrongful death and can be enacted against a hospital, facility, or healthcare professional if they can be proven to have been negligent, and it is determined that their actions caused the death.
Causes of death can be due to:
- Releasing a patient too early
- Misdiagnosis – offering the wrong diagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Incorrect treatment or delayed access to the correct treatment
- Pharmaceutical errors – being prescribed the wrong dosage or type of drugs
- Hospital negligence
- A lack of informed consent for the patient
- Errors which occurred during surgery
- Injuries incurred during the birthing process
- Damaged or defective medical equipment or devices, including out of date pharmaceuticals
- Unsafe Workplace: Employers have a duty of care to their employees and sometimes employees of others; despite this, there were 5250 cases of wrongful death in workplaces during 2018. Unsafe equipment, lack of personal protective equipment, poor signage, and lack of training to carry out tasks can all constitute negligence and mean that the employer or potential third party are liable for the wrongful death – if they breached their duty of care.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents are responsible for over 30,000 deaths per year. Common causes include distracted drivers – by phones, make-up application or eating while driving – or possibly drivers under the influence. Failing to adhere to local traffic laws and regulations can also be an issue, as can speeding, and failure to pay attention to the road for any variety of reasons.
- Defective Products: Items sold to the public are generally required to undergo a series of tests to ensure that they are safe and fit for the purpose they are intended. If this quality control fails and someone is killed as the result of a defective product, the seller and the manufacturer may be liable.
What Can You Do?
If you feel you have a claim for wrongful death, get in touch with Hilbrich Law Firm today. We have worked with clients across the Crown Point region on countless wrongful death cases, and can offer the assistance, support, and advice you need to help you pursue a just outcome for you and your family. Let us help you get started by calling (219) 924-2427.