What If the Wrongful Death Beneficiary Dies During the Lawsuit?

The sudden death of a loved one because of wrongful actions can be a tragedy. Things happen suddenly, and the family barely had time to say goodbye and get prepared for the loss. 

But, while grieving for the lost loved one, you might face financial problems you never thought would occur. 

Although there is no money in the world that would return the lost life, if you are a relative of a person who lost their life suddenly because of someone else’s negligence malice intentions, or you have the right to seek wrongful death compensation. An experienced attorney that handles Indiana wrongful death lawsuits can help with this.

The money will help you cover your expenses and continue with your life. 

The personal representative of the decedent’s estate is usually their closest surviving relative. This means that they file the wrongful death lawsuit. The family should agree on who will be the personal representative, but if the deceased did not have a will or if the family cannot agree then the court will make the final decision. 

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are generally financially awarded to the deceased’s beneficiaries, such as surviving spouse, children, and other relatives that were financially supported by the deceased person. They will get the award for the period of future time that the deceased would have supported them.

For an award of damages for loss of support, the family member must prove receipts of financial support from the deceased. Minor children may receive damages for loss of support until they become legal, but they also might get college expenses (if they prove that the deceased would have financed their education).  

Widows will get damages for loss of support until the presumed retirement age of the deceased. Widowers can get such damages if they prove their wives supported them. Other relatives can get damages if they show similar proof.

The spouse may get damages for loss of consortium and loss of the deceased’s household services (this varies from state to state). The deceased’s children might get damages for loss of guidance, and the estate might get punitive damages if the defendant was willful, reckless, or wanton. The estate will get funeral and burial damages.

Some states limit the awards in wrongful death damages. 

The Process is Pending, and the Wrongful Death Beneficiary Dies

Let’s see such an option through an example. An older man filed a wrongful death claim for the loss of his spouse. But, while the case was pending, the man passed away and his daughter survived him.

Such tragedies are not uncommon. The wrongful death defendant will not benefit from the early death of the beneficiary. 

The claim will be passed to the heirs of the deceased beneficiary. But what happens if the wrongful death beneficiary did not have heirs?

The answer to this question is simple – the wrongful death case dies with the beneficiary. 

When there is no heir, there is no one left who will get the inheritance, so the case is closed. 

The Statutory Beneficiary Does Not Have Heirs

The case is closed if the statutory beneficiary dies and has no heirs. An heir of a statutory beneficiary can seek the beneficiary’s claim for survivor damages even if the beneficiary passes away while the claim is still pending. A statutory beneficiary can avoid having no heirs. The beneficiary can create heirs by creating a will, but in case he or she does not do that, the survivor damages go to the state. 

If an attorney has a client who has no natural heirs to get the claim in case of the statutory beneficiary’s death, they should make sure the client names an heir. If they fail to do that, the state will get the damages. 

Such cases are never easy, and the attorney must be prepared for any outcome. If your loved one lost their life and the case is defined as a wrongful death case, you ought to file a wrongful death compensation claim.

The reward will help you move on with your life (it will be helpful to cover your expenses, future education for your children, cover funeral and burial expenses, etc.). 

Our wrongful death attorneys team has worked on such cases, and we will gladly get your case and guide you through the long and complex process.

At Rowe & Hamilton, we have almost three decades of experience in handling such lawsuits and will do our best to help you get the much-needed wrongful death claim.  

Call and schedule your consultation today. 

View these other frequently asked questions pages:

Why You Should Get a Medical Exam after a Car Accident

What to Do When Your Car Insurance Claim Is Denied

Indianapolis, Indiana: What Facts Should I Know About Auto Accidents?

Read More Related Articles