Wrongful Death Lawyer Indianapolis, IN
Every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 37 million people are unintentionally injured each year. A number of these injuries will result in the death of the victim. When negligence, wrongdoing, or carelessness causes a person to lose their life, family members may be overwhelmed and distraught. Often, this situation is one of the worst things to have occurred. Although it may be difficult to think about legal action, it is highly recommended that loved ones do not delay in exploring their options. A wrongful death lawyer Indianapolis, IN can navigate your family through this process.
Table Of Contents
- 4 Questions To Ask Your Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Five Myths About Wrongful Death Cases
- Wrongful Death Attorney Indianapolis, IN
- Components Necessary To Win A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Infographic
- Indianapolis Wrongful Death Law Statistics
- Criminal Charges
- Information On Wrongful Death Settlements
- Tips To Help You Choose An Indianapolis, IN Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one, and believe it was the result of negligence, please call Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers to speak with an Indianapolis, IN wrongful death lawyer. We sympathize with what you are going through and would like to extend our utmost support and condolences to you and your family. We also know that you may be faced with a copious amount of bills related to the death, and unsure about how you will pay them. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer is essential to recover the damages you may be entitled to.
4 Questions To Ask Your Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a loved one is a difficult time. You may go through a variety of different emotions. If you know someone was at fault for your loved one’s death, you may feel especially angry.
Know that if you find a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, an attorney can hold responsible parties accountable. You may also be owed compensation. Speaking with the Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers may be a good idea if wrongful death is involved.
You want to be sure you are finding the right attorney for you. Asking a wrongful death lawyer a few questions can help set you up for success.
What is Your Experience?
Wrongful death cases can get intense. Finding a qualified lawyer is key. The Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers has many experienced attorneys for you to choose from. Simply asking a lawyer about their experience can be a good introduction.
For example, your loved one may have died as a result of a DUI crash. You may want to ask a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, if they’ve taken on DUI wrongful death cases in court.
Is This a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death is when someone dies due to another party’s negligence or misconduct. You want to be certain your loved one died from wrongful death before you take legal action. Other parties involved may stand their ground and insist it wasn’t wrongful death.
Asking an attorney this question is important. This way, you can know if legal action is the best way forward and your chances of succeeding are higher.
What Are the Damages I Can Recover?
There are numerous damages you could recover. They could be anything from medical expenses to economic losses. These damages all depend on your situation. Asking a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, this question can help you set your expectations.
What Are Your Initial Predictions for How It’ll Go?
No attorney can tell the future. However, they can give you a general idea of what to expect. Each case is different and requires different courses of action. Your lawyer can explain which paths they plan to take in the process.
Preparation can be useful if you are headed to court. You may still be grieving the loss of a loved one. If you have to make court appearances knowing in advance can help. You may be able to ground yourself and prepare for these big dates.
Five Myths About Wrongful Death Cases
Losing a loved one is hard enough. When you lose them due to another person’s negligence, recklessness or intentional action, it’s even harder. Even though it won’t bring back the person who’s died, you still may want to file a wrongful death claim against the other party. Myths abound about wrongful death cases; here are five such myths debunked.
Myth: No One Will Fight for You
If you’ve lost a loved one to wrongful death, a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, from the Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers will fight for you. Your attorney will be by your side every step of the way, from demanding damages from the other party’s insurance company, to negotiations about a settlement, to taking a lawsuit to trial if needs be.
Myth: You Don’t Have a Case
Let a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, decide if you have a case. It can’t hurt to speak with an attorney after you’ve lost a loved one. A professional who pursues wrongful death cases every day may notice some nuance that you might have missed, which could make the difference in whether you have a case and not.
Myth: It’s Too Late to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations — the time frame you have to follow to file a wrongful death lawsuit — varies from state to state. In Indiana, you have two years to file from the date of the person’s death. If you’re coming close to the deadline, speak with a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, about your case as soon as possible.
Myth: I Don’t Need a Lawyer
Wrongful death cases can get complicated quickly. Many have nuances that you as a non-lawyer don’t know to look for. Insurance companies may throw a lot of legal jargon at you in order to confuse you into a settlement that doesn’t come close to meeting your financial needs in the wake of your loved one’s passing. A wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN can sort through all the jargon and distill it so you understand what’s going on.
Myth: I Don’t Have Enough Money To Hire a Lawyer
It’s standard practice for wrongful death lawyers to offer a free initial consultation to see if you have a solid case. If they accept you as a client, they’ll typically charge you a contingent fee, meaning if you don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay them anything. If you do win, you’ll owe them a percentage of your payout.
At Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers, we handle a broad range of wrongful death cases. Many involve the following:
Commercial Truck Accidents
Most commercial truck accidents are classified as an auto accident. There are differences, especially when comparing them to a passenger vehicle accident. One of these is the size of the truck. Usually, commercial trucks are massive, and because of their size and weight, deaths are more common in an accident.
There are several elements that must be examined by an Indianapolis, IN wrongful death lawyer to determine how the accident happened and who was at fault. Some things to consider include:
- Was the truck driver overworked?
- Did he or she have enough training?
- When was the truck maintained?
- Was the load too heavy?
- Was the load secure?
- Was there a driver error?
- Was there a mechanical failure or tire blowout?
- How were the road conditions at the time of the accident?
Each of these things may be considered to build a case that is sound and irrefutable.
Car accidents are very common, and can result in a death of an occupant. In 2019, there were at least 39,000 car accidents that resulted in a wrongful death case. The number is alarming, and has risen. Most fatal car accidents are a result of at least one of the following:
- Using a phone while driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Poor road conditions
- Reckless driving
- Drowsy driving
- Mechanical error
Bicycle, Pedestrian, or Motorcycle accidents
Cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians have an increased risk of being severely injured or losing their life in an accident. This is because they lack the protection the drivers of cars have in a collision. In more cases than not, the driver of a car is negligent.
3 Questions About Wrongful Death Claims Answered
If you are seeking a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, you may have questions about the process of filing a claim. Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers can answer any questions you might have.
When Can Someone File a Wrongful Death Claim?
You can file a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies from several causes:
- They were intentionally killed. Separate from criminal charges, a civil case is meant to pay the person who was harmed or their surviving loved ones. The burden of proof here is usually lighter than in a criminal case — You only must prove that what you say “more than likely happened” (instead of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” of criminal cases). Instead of jail time, the defendant pays the plaintiff.
- They died because of medical malpractice. Malpractice suits can be complicated, so it is recommended you consult with a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN. If your loved one’s condition was treatable and they got worse despite treatments, it may not be considered malpractice. However, if a doctor did not properly diagnose a condition, didn’t properly advise the patient about the risks of treatment, made mistakes in surgery or other procedures or was reckless in their conduct (such as performing procedures under the influence or administering potentially lethal doses of medicine against standard medical advice), you might have a case.
- They died because of someone else’s negligence. Examples of this include death from injuries because of car accidents, dog attacks, assault and battery or a slip and fall on someone else’s property that could have been prevented.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, will advise that it is usually the deceased’s loved ones or a representative of the estate who files the claim and must meet the burden of proof that the victim would have been responsible for. This can include the decedent’s spouse, parents (in case of a minor) or minor child. It is usually difficult to win a wrongful death suit in the case of adult children, siblings or extended relatives filing the claim.
What Qualifies as Damages?
Many losses can be compensated in the event of the death of a loved one. Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers, a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, can tell you if you qualify for the following:
- The deceased’s pre-death pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of potential income or inheritance
- Loss of love and companionship or the guidance and nurturing they would have provided
Hospitals and doctors are supposed to provide safe medical treatment to patients. Doctors and other medical professionals are supposed to have ample amounts of training so as to avoid causing unnecessary harm to patients. Despite the protocols that have been established, medical malpractice does happen. Sometimes, it can be fatal. Our wrongful death lawyers in Indianapolis, Indiana know of cases involving:
- Delayed treatment
- Incorrect treatment
- Failure to test
- Birth injuries
- Defective devices
- Medication error
- Hospital negligence
- Failure to get consent
Some occupations have a higher risk of injuries and deaths. When workers are working in a dangerous environment, and the company fails to take the necessary safety precautions, there is a greater chance of a wrongful death accident. These types of cases are particularly unique in that workers’ compensation may be the only available type of compensation available. Only if negligence, on part of a third party, can be identified will a wrongful death claim likely be able to be filed. Either way, it is a good idea to talk with a wrongful death lawyer. Accidents in the workplace that may be prone to a death include:
- Being struck by an object
- Getting stuck or caught by/in machinery
There are many other examples of a wrongful death. If you believe your loved one died because of negligence, please call Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers right away.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior, please connect with our Indianapolis, IN wrongful death lawyer team today. You may be hesitant to connect with a lawyer at this time because you’re understandably already overwhelmed by the emotional and practical wake of your loss. We understand this and we’re here to help. Exploring your legal options is a necessary task at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that this task needs to be unnecessarily stressful or burdensome. We are proud to represent the interests of those who have lost loved ones due to the actions or inactions of others. Our Indianapolis, IN wrongful death lawyer team will do all we can to advocate on your family’s behalf with focus, determination, compassion, and respect during this challenging time. Please schedule a consultation today. We look forward to speaking with you.
Wrongful Death Attorney Indianapolis, IN
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 Personal Injury Lawyers 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 Personal Injury Lawyers and request a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney who may be able to help you.
How Does the Wrongful Death Claims Process Work?
If you choose to file a wrongful death claim, the process may unfold in a few ways, depending on your circumstances and your goals for your case. Some claims are resolved after an insurance company, multiple insurance companies, and/or other responsible parties offer a settlement that the loved ones of the deceased believe is fair. However, there are other scenarios in which loved ones choose to pursue arbitration, mediation, attorney-led negotiation, and even trial to obtain fair compensation from those whose conduct led to their loved one’s death.
When you meet with the experienced Indiana legal team at Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ll be able to explain how your unique case might progress. No two wrongful death cases are exactly alike. Therefore, it’s a good idea to avoid making assumptions about your case until you’ve met with our Indianapolis, IN wrongful death lawyer team.
Who and When – Wrongful Death Claims Basics
Generally speaking, the spouses, children, and parents of someone who passed away due to another’s actions or inactions have grounds to bring a wrongful death suit. As does the individual managing the estate of the deceased. However, state laws are varied in this regard. As a result, it’s important to speak with an attorney if you’re unsure of whether you have standing to bring a wrongful death claim.
You should also keep in mind that wrongful death claims are affected by a “ticking clock” known as statute of limitations restrictions. These regulations dictate how much time can pass before eligible individuals can no longer bring a wrongful death suit under the law. Generally speaking, the sooner you talk to an attorney, the better. Even if you “technically” have several months or a few years to explore your options, as time passes, evidence can become compromised. Acting quickly will help to ensure that your claim is as strong as possible.
Examples of Wrongful Death Claims
The untimely death of a loved one can be devastated. For many people, this will be one of the most difficult periods of life. When the death was avoidable, but happened because of the negligent actions of another person, emotions can run particularly high. Known as a wrongful death, these situations may be open to recovering compensation. Having a wrongful death lawyer in Indianapolis, IN on your side can benefit 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:
- Duty of Care — It has to be proven to the court by the Plaintiff that a duty of care was owed by the Defendant to the deceased victim. The example often used is that of an automobile accident where the Defendant is obligated to follow the traffic laws and cannot just drive without any regard to the law.
- Duty of Care was Breached — If the Defendant failed to follow traffic laws and as a result struck and killed the victim, the Defendant will have breached the implied duty of care.
- The Breached Duty of Care was the direct result of the death of the victim. If there was another element involved that contributed or was the cause of the victim’s death, the Defendant may not be held responsible for the death.
COMPONENTS NECESSARY TO WIN A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT INFOGRAPHIC
Indianapolis Wrongful Death Law Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are an estimated 200,955 accidental deaths in the United States each year. The fourth leading cause of death, accidents are responsible for just under 7 percent of all deaths.
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 Personal Injury Lawyers 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 :
- Voluntary Manslaughter: The person did not have a plan to kill the other person and may not have intended to kill them even in the moment it occurred. An example is killing someone in the heat of passion, such as finding your spouse in bed with another person. In some jurisdictions, killing someone in self-defense may be ruled as voluntary manslaughter.
- Involuntary Manslaughter: The primary difference between this charge of manslaughter as compared to voluntary manslaughter is the absence of the intention to kill the person. There are two types:
- Constructive Manslaughter: This is when a person dies as a result of someone’s negligent or careless act. For example, if they steal a car and in committing this illegal act, they accidentally run over someone as they escape with the car.
- Criminally Negligent Manslaughter: This is when the failure of someone to act causes a person’s death. For example, if a doctor does not treat a patient or administer treatment when it is necessary to their survival, their act of medical malpractice may be deemed a form of criminally negligent manslaughter.
Homicide. This is the act of someone intentionally killing another person.
Filing Criminal Charges in Indianapolis, IN
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.
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:
- The funeral costs
- Medical bills and medical expenses the deceased needed before they passed away that was a direct result of the accident
- The age of the deceased and their prior health
- The deceased’s income
- The deceased’s job, training, and education
- The value of their benefits, for example, health insurance, dental insurance, and their pension
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.
Tips to Help You Choose an Indianapolis, IN Wrongful Death Lawyer
The Lawyers’ Reputation – One of the most effective ways to find a good wrongful death lawyer is to ask for a recommendation from people who you know. If no one has any recommendations, or you are unsure about what they say, you should do an online search for the best wrongful death lawyers in Indianapolis, IN. This search should help to guide you in the right direction. Find out what people say through reviews and take a look at the lawyers’ AVVO profile if they have one (some lawyers do not and this is okay).
Schedule a Consultation – Once you have found a wrongful death law firm, you should schedule a consultation with the lawyer. In fact, it might help you to schedule a couple of consultations with different firms. Take this time to get a feel for their background, previous cases, and legal style. You can also ask questions about their intended strategy, experience, and knowledge.
Their Cost – Most lawyers who handle wrongful death cases will work on contingency. This means they won’t charge you anything upfront. However, some firms ask you to pay a retainer fee as a condition for taking your case. This is something you should consider before you work with a law firm for a wrongful death case.
Are You Looking for the Right Wrongful Death Lawyer?
When you have lost a loved one to negligence, you should not delay in calling a wrongful death lawyer. Filing a claim will not bring your loved one back, but it may help you to recover monetary damages that will offer a sense of closure. If you would like to learn more about Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers and how we may be able to help you, we invite you to schedule a case review with one of our wrongful death lawyers Indianapolis, IN families trust.
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 Personal Injury Lawyers 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 Personal Injury Lawyers today to speak with a wrongful death attorney Indianapolis, IN families trust to get justice.