Experiencing the loss of a loved one due to the negligent actions of another can be a profoundly traumatizing and life-changing experience. In Indiana, such tragedies are legally recognized as wrongful deaths. Similar to other states, Indiana has laws governing these types of lawsuits. More specifically, legislators in the Hoosier State have enacted statutes that affect wrongful death claims, more specifically, the potential award amounts that surviving family members are entitled to. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, understanding these laws will be crucial when initiating legal action against a responsible party.

The three statutes that govern wrongful death compensation in Indiana are as follows:

Indiana Code § 34-23-1-1 – Indiana’s General Wrongful Death Statute. This section establishes that a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring an action for damages if the death of an individual is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another person. The damages sought in these cases may include medical and funeral expenses, as well as compensation for the loss of the deceased person’s companionship and financial support to surviving dependents. Generally speaking, there is no specific cap set on this compensation, but the damages for burial and medical costs must be reasonable. Additionally, total damages for claims arising from medical malpractice are capped at $1,800,000. In cases where a wrongful death claim is filed against a government entity, award amounts are limited to $700,000.

Indiana Code § 34-23-2-1 – Indiana’s Adult Wrongful Death Statute. This applies when a deceased individual is unmarried and did not have any minor children or dependents. A claim for the wrongful death of an unmarried parent with adult children would also fall under this statute. In these instances, an award cap of $300,000 for non-economic damages, such as the pain and suffering, would apply. Damages for a loved one’s grief and punitive damages are not permitted.

Indiana Code § 34-23-1-1 – Indiana’s Child Wrongful Death Statute. This section applies to wrongful death cases in which the deceased person was under the age of 20 or under the age of 23 if the child was a college student and was single with no dependents. Under this statute, there are no limits on compensation with the exception of cases involving government entities.

As with most personal injury and wrongful death incidents, there may be unique circumstances and intricacies that affect potential award amounts. For this reason, it is imperative to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide guidance based on Indiana law related to a wrongful death claim. Additionally, in Indiana, a wrongful death case must be filed within two years of an individual’s death. If a plaintiff misses that deadline, they most likely will not be able to pursue a claim.

If you have experienced the loss of a loved one and feel there are at-fault parties involved, contact an attorney at Hurst Limontes and we will be happy to review your case. We work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we reach a settlement or jury verdict award on your behalf.

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