Wrongful Death Lawyer Seeking Justice for Loved Ones In Portage
When it comes to the death of a loved one the situation is always going to be painful. In the case of a natural death however, for example, a death from old age, the idea of passing naturally can help to offer families some peace in a difficult time. This is not the case, however, for those who lose beloved family members and friends as the result of a wrongful death.
Wrongful death is defined by Indiana legislation as being a situation where “the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” The inclusion of ‘omission’ in the definition means that it is possible for those who failed to act to also be liable for a wrongful death.
In many ways, wrongful death cases follow a similar format to personal injury cases; the key difference is that in wrongful death cases, legal action is enacted by the family left behind or a personal representative appointed by the court on behalf of the deceased.
What Constitutes A Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death cases rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States and can be categorized in four main areas:
- Auto and Vehicular Accidents: Vehicular accidents are extremely common, with around 30,000 fatal crashes occurring in the USA each year. Wrongful death in these situations is usually caused by carelessness and negligence, such as a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a driver who is speeding, someone using a cell phone, a driver violating traffic laws and regulations, or one not paying due attention to the road. In these circumstances the driver can be found liable.
- Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice is another common cause of wrongful death. Possible reasons for this can include:
- Negligence from the hospital – failing to notice key symptoms, or taking too long to diagnose a condition
- Errors during surgery
- Incorrect treatment, or delayed access to treatment
- Injuries sustained during birth
- Lack of informed consent
- Pharmaceutical errors
- Defective medical devices, equipment, or medication
- Defective Products: Products sold to the public must generally meet a set of standards prior to release, including adhering to safety regulations. If wrongful death occurs as the result of a defective or dangerous product, the seller and the manufacturer of the product could both find themselves liable for the death.
- Unsafe Working Conditions: With 5250 fatalities in the workplace during 2018, unsafe working conditions are a major factor when it comes to wrongful death. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the construction industry racked up the highest figures, though a negligent act or omission in any workplace could have the same outcome. Issues such as inadequate signage, unsafe surfaces, or inadequate personal protective equipment can all be fatal.
What Should I Know About Filing A Claim?
A claim must be made within two years of the wrongful death and generally must be brought to the court by a personal representative working on behalf of the estate of the deceased. If the case involves the wrongful death of a child, the parents must file the case, or, in the case of a divorce, the parent with custody or other legal guardian. This limitation occurs even if a child is involved, or there is a concurrent criminal investigation.
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 attorney fees are recoverable.
What Are My Next Steps?
Here at Hilbrich Law Firm we want to help. Better still, our team of qualified personal injury attorneys in Highland have the skills, drive, and knowledge you need to help guide you along your quest for justice. We have a wealth of experience working in the Portage area and have helped thousands of grieving families to figure out their next steps. Why not get in touch today at (219) 924-2427, and see how we can help you move forward, make a change, and take the first steps towards the damages you are owed. We want to help you achieve justice for you and your loved one.