Losing a loved one is always hard. If they died in an avoidable accident, it can be especially difficult. Every wrongful death attorney at Ward & Ward Law Firm has witnessed the traumatic aftermath of tragic situations like these. Family members may wonder if there is any justice possible or a way to hold the guilty person responsible. Sometimes loved ones have legal options they can pursue against the person who killed their spouse, child, or sibling. Call us at Ward & Ward Law Firm and request a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney who may be able to help you.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil action taken with the help of an Indianapolis, IN wrongful death attorney by a family member on behalf of the estate of the victim in order to collect financial compensation. This lawsuit is completely different from a criminal lawsuit which if the defendant is found guilty can result in jail time or a fine depending on the circumstances. The members of the victim’s family cannot get any damages from a criminal case, which is why many loved ones who were dependant on the victim for financial support file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death claim regulations vary by state. Your Indianapolis, IN wrongful death attorney will be able to advise you on the laws in your state and how they affect your claim. There are laws common to most states that talk about the lawsuit procedures when it comes to filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Civil Suit?
If the deceased family member had a will, often times the court will choose the executor of the will to be the represent the deceased’s estate in the wrongful death claim. This person is called the Plaintiff.
The person the wrongful death claim is filed against is called the Defendant. The claim will charge the Defendant’s actions were intentional or negligent and was at fault for the death of the victim.
Components Necessary to Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The following four components need to be proven by a wrongful death attorney in Indianapolis, IN in order to win a wrongful death lawsuit:
Burden of Proof is Less in a Wrongful Death Civil Case Than in a Criminal Case
In a criminal case the Defendant can only be found guilty if a proven ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. In a wrongful death civil case, the Defendant can be found guilty with a ‘preponderance of the evidence’, meaning the Defendant is more likely than not be the cause of the victim’s death.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Indianapolis, IN Relies On
Talk to a Indianapolis, IN wrongful death attorney and see if your case contains the necessary components to file a civil claim against the person you believe to be responsible for your loved one’s death. The attorneys at Ward & Ward Law Firm will review the evidence and details of the case and work with you to determine the next steps that need to be taken.
Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s passing, legal authorities may deem it appropriate to charge that person with a criminal offense. Again, depending on what happened, they may be charged with one of the following crimes:
Manslaughter. There are different types of manslaughter charges, the details of which can be explained in more detail by a wrongful death attorney :
Homicide. This is the act of someone intentionally killing another person.
It is important to understand that only a law enforcement agent can arrest someone for murder. A private citizen cannot bring criminal charges against someone they believe killed a person. In addition:
After the person is charged with manslaughter or homicide, it is up to the Indianapolis, IN prosecutor to decide if they want to pursue the charge or let the person out of jail.
If the prosecutor and the defense attorney do not agree to a plea bargain, then the case will proceed to trial. At any time leading up to the trial, and even during the trial, a plea agreement might be reached at which time the judge will dismiss the case.
As a result of the long and complicated legal process for criminal charges, the accused may never be convicted, even if in fact they killed another person. This can be devastating to the surviving family members of the deceased. Learn about What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action claim?
Wholly and completely separate from possible criminal charges against the person you believe killed your loved one, you may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against them. With the help of a wrongful death attorney, you can take that person to court. It can be much easier to get a guilty verdict from a civil court jury than from a criminal court jury. If you win your case against the killer, they will not receive jail time as a result, but they may be legally obligated to give you financial compensation. Depending on the circumstances and their financial situation, the monetary award to you could be substantial. It can pay for the medical care your loved one may have needed prior to passing away, and it can replace the income you would otherwise not receive from your deceased family member. It can also pay for your children’s future educational costs and other necessities. What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
Information On Wrongful Death Settlements
When a loved one has passed away due to someone else’s negligence, one of the best ways you can recover damages after their death is through pursuing a lawsuit with help from an Indianapolis, IN wrongful death attorney. This lawsuit can help you get the money you and your family need to pay off the deceased’s medical bills, funeral costs, and even emotional damages that occurred. While a wrongful death claim can bring about a great deal of peace to a grieving family, they can also be quite complicated. Therefore, one of the best steps you can take when filing a wrongful death claim is first consulting with a wrongful death attorney Indianapolis, IN. One of the factors that makes a wrongful death claim so complex is determining exactly how much the settlement is worth, and, in the end, this is entirely unique to each case.
How Do Wrongful Deaths Happen?
Unfortunately, wrongful deaths are not uncommon and happen when one person negligently kills another person, either directly or through indirect actions. This can happen if someone was texting and driving and hit another car, thus killing the driver. It can also happen if a waiter spills water and someone slips and falls and dies from a brain injury. Even more serious cases of wrongful death occur when a medical professional negligently performs a procedure that they did not have to perform, using tools that they need not need to use, or fails to give their patient the right form of treatment in time.
How Does an Insurance Company Determine a Wrongful Death Settlement?
Determining the settlement for wrongful death cases becomes tricky because each case is usually unique to the individual and there are many factors that an insurance company must consider. For example:
When your wrongful death attorney Indianapolis, IN makes a case for the settlement, it cannot simply be a number that is randomly assigned. Instead, there needs to be serious evidence for why this number is appropriate to settle on, and your Indianapolis, IN wrongful death attorney can even employ the help of expert witnesses—like an economist—to help determine the proper amount.
What If You Disagree With the Settlement Offer?
If you do not agree with the settlement offer that the defendant’s insurance company laid out, you can take this claim to court to prove that you are seeking a fair amount of damages. Like any trial, there is no guarantee that a court will side with you, and you may end up leaving without the number you and your wrongful death attorney, Indianapolis, IN had discussed.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer for your wrongful death claim can mean the difference in whether you get a reasonable settlement. Fighting this battle alone can become quite complicated very quickly, and it is best to do this with the help of a wrongful death attorney Indianapolis, IN who knows the ins and outs of wrongful death claims. For more information on wrongful death claim and to speak with a trusted Indianapolis, IN wrongful death attorney, contact Ward & Ward Law Firm at 317-639-9501.
If you lost a loved one due to the negligent or wrongful act of someone else, call us at Ward & Ward Law Firm today to speak with a wrongful death attorney Indianapolis, IN families trust to get justice.