Most car accidents are rather minor. The people involved walking away with bumps and bruises. Others are more serious. They cause brain injuries and broken bones. Thankfully, most of these injuries can be treated. You may be out of commission for a while, but you will eventually recover.
Sadly, there are times when accident victims don’t survive their injuries. When this happens, the last thing you’re thinking about is a lawsuit. You’re grieving for the loss of your loved one. You’re trying to arrange for a funeral and burial. You can’t imagine how you’ll get through the next few days let alone the next few years.
It is important, however, to understand that if the other driver was at fault, you will have a legal claim. Your family has suffered a terrible loss. The person responsible needs to be held accountable. In order to do this, you need to call an Indianapolis car accident lawyer.
Depending on the circumstances, you may have a claim for wrongful death. It depends on who was at fault. It also depends on whether the injuries were directly responsible for your loved one’s death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Indiana?
Most states allow any member of a victim’s family to file a wrongful death suit. Indiana is not one of these states. They are very strict when it comes to who can file suit.
The only person who can file a wrongful death suit in Indianapolis is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. However, this doesn’t mean the immediate family can’t receive damages. In fact, the damages go into the estate and are then distributed to the family.
If you’re the personal representative of your loved one’s estate, contact a car accident attorney in Indianapolis. He can review your case and let you know if you have a claim. The important thing is, he can handle the legal side of things while you grieve the loss of your loved one.
What Kind of Damages Can You Demand?
If your loved one dies in a car accident, you will have a claim for damages. The damages are intended to compensate the family of the decedent. Some of these damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills and hospital expenses
- Lost wages
- The money your loved one would’ve earned had he survived
- Attorney fees and costs of your lawsuit
Unlike most states, Indiana doesn’t allow the family to collect pain and suffering. There are no damages to compensate your family for grieving. They also cap damages at $300,000. This is very rare. Most states have either no cap or a very high cap on damages.
As unfair as this may seem, it’s the law that you have to follow. Your Indianapolis auto accident attorney has no choice but to accept the law about wrongful death damages. However, you can bet he’s going to do everything possible to get your family the maximum amount of damages allowed.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Car Accident Case?
Your Indianapolis personal injury lawyer is going to have to prove that the other driver was at fault. It’s no different just because the victim died in the crash.
Most car accident cases are based on negligence. In order to prove negligence, your lawyer will have to show the following:
- The other driver had a duty of care – This is a given. All drivers owe other people on the road a duty of care. This duty includes that we all obey the traffic laws. It also requires that we use common sense and a reasonable level of care.
- They breached this duty – You have to show that the defendant didn’t behave the way he should have. You can show that he was drunk driving. Or, you can show that he was texting at the time of the crash.
- The victim was injured – Obviously, of the victim died, there were injuries. But you’ll still have to submit medical proof of his injuries.
- The injuries were caused by the accident – You have to show that your loved one’s death was directly caused by the accident. For example, if your loved one died of cancer weeks after the accident, there probably won’t be causation.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis Today
If your loved one is killed in a car accident, you need to call a car accident lawyer in Indianapolis right away. You only have a certain amount of time to file your wrongful death claim. You need to focus on healing and keeping your family together. Let your attorney at Rowe and Hamilton handle the legal side of things.