Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Following the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one, filing a lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind. Losing someone you love, however, is difficult in multiple respects. In addition to losing someone you deeply cared for, you may also have been relying on them for financial or emotional support. Although nothing can reverse your loss, a wrongful death personal injury lawsuit could be the answer to addressing some of the gaps that take place after the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.

According to a recent local news report, a wrong way accident resulted in one driver dead and another seriously injured. Based on a preliminary investigation by Indiana State Police, a Nissan was traveling eastbound in westbound lanes when it crashed into a Honda head-on. The driver of the Nissan was declared dead at the scene and the driver of the Honda was transported to a local hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries. Local authorities closed the westbound lanes of the toll road where the accident took place for several hours to investigate, which caused significant traffic jams and delays as emergency crews cleared the accident. Although the accident remains under investigation, local authorities believe that alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in the accident.

Indiana, like other jurisdictions, has state-specific rules about the details of bringing a wrongful death case. For example, not anyone is eligible to file a wrongful death suit. Although some states allow specific family members or even individuals who were substantially financially dependent on the deceased to bring a wrongful death claim, Indiana only allows the deceased’s personal representative to file a wrongful death claim if the deceased was an adult. If the deceased was a child, however, the claim can be filed by one or both of the child’s parents or by the child’s legal guardian.

When the driver’s negligence or recklessness results in a fatal Indiana car accident, the accident victim’s surviving loved ones may file an Indiana wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims, which are essentially personal injury lawsuits where the injured person has died and is no longer able to bring a claim on their own behalf, can often be a means of recovering compensation following a tragic accident.

According to a recent news report, a tragic car accident left a couple’s six-month-old son dead. Based on reports from local authorities, the child’s mother was rear-ended by a semi-truck at a stoplight, and the boy died from his injuries following the accident. The child’s mother experienced minimal bruising and soreness, and the couple’s two-year-old daughter underwent surgery to repair a broken femur. The daughter also suffered multiple fractures in her skull but is reportedly in stable condition.

Indiana’s wrongful death statute defines the term “wrongful death” as one that was “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another” person or entity. The most common types of injuries that give rise to a wrongful death claim include negligence-based accidents, such as car crashes or personal injuries, medical malpractice, or intentional acts.

In the blink of an eye, children go from shrieking toddlers who want to spend every second with you to chatty teenagers wrapped up in their own worlds. No one ever expects, however, that their children will be involved in an accident—especially one caused by another’s negligence. One of the most painful things that a parent and a family can experience is outliving their children because an accident or unexpected event takes them too soon. When such loss takes place because of another’s negligence or recklessness, those responsible should be held accountable.

According to a local news report, a tragic car accident left two Indiana teenagers dead. On the day of the accident, four teenagers were in a sedan that lost control and flipped off the road and landed near a cornfield. The damage from the accident left the vehicle nearly unrecognizable. Two teen girls who were in the sedan were killed, and the families are still seeking justice. According to post-accident reports, the driver, a surviving 18-year-old male, was estimated to have been driving nearly 103-108 miles per hour moments before he lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Because the main cause of the accident was speeding, which was an error on the part of the driver, and the tires on the car were unsafe for use, the families are looking into potentially advancing claims. The accident is still under investigation.

In Indiana, wrongful death claims may be available following accidents like this one, where someone died as the result of a wrongful act like negligence. When someone’s lack of care or recklessness results in the preventable death of another, there may be grounds to recover compensation through a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

In Indiana, the law provides that a person who fails to exhibit reasonable care for others’ safety should be held liable for the victim’s losses. Therefore, when someone suffers injuries in an Indiana car accident, the victim may recover damages from the negligent party. However, challenges recovering damages may occur if one of the parties dies before the claim is resolved. Although these situations may involve additional hurdles, plaintiffs may still pursue claims under Indiana’s survival action laws even if the defendant dies. Moreover, if a defendant dies, plaintiffs or their representatives may recoup damages from the defendant’s estate.

Although there may be some overlap, survival actions differ from wrongful death claims. Survival actions are relevant in situations when the plaintiff dies for a reason other than the other party’s negligence. For instance, if a victim suffers a traumatic brain injury after an Indiana trucking accident, they may claim damages against the truck driver and their employer. If the victim then passes away from an unrelated cause, like a heart attack, their claim survives after their passing.

On the other hand, a wrongful death claim is relevant when the negligent party’s actions or omissions caused the victim’s death. For example, a wrongful death claim may be applicable if a victim dies in a car accident that occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. In these situations, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim. However, the deceased’s spouse, child, or other dependents would be the beneficiary of any damage awards. Moreover, recently the Indiana Supreme Court held that a wrongful death claim does not end if the heir-less sole beneficiary dies.

State law provides passengers with certain rights and remedies if they are injured in an Indiana car accident. Passengers have the right to assume that drivers are exhibiting reasonable caution to avoid accidents. If an accident does occur, passengers maintain the right to collect contact and insurance information from all parties involved in the collision. Further, victims maintain the right to safely investigate the accident scene, including taking photos and gathering witness information. Passengers have the right to seek medical care for their injuries and speak with an attorney to recover for their damages and losses.

Under the state’s Guest Statute, Indiana Code 34-30-11, passengers cannot file claims against a driver in certain limited situations. These situations include if the at-fault driver is a spouse, parent, child, or step-child. In most other cases, the at-fault driver may be liable for injuries the passenger suffered. However, insurance companies will often dispute fault. In most cases, passengers are not at fault for the accident. However, passengers might be partially responsible if they engaged in conduct that led the driver to an accident. Moreover, passengers who voluntarily got into a vehicle with an impaired driver may have limitations on recovery. Passengers in these situations may have their damages recovery reduced by their percentage of fault. Because Indiana follows the comparative fault theory, passengers should seek representation from an attorney to avoid the other party from assigning undue fault.

After an accident, the at-fault driver may be liable for a passenger’s injuries. In most cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company or passenger’s uninsured motorist policy is responsible for paying damages. However, the initial settlement offers provided by insurance companies rarely cover the extent of damages, especially when the passenger suffered serious injuries.

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