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Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Personal Injury

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is a tragedy and also a hardship. The nature of someone’s relationship with the deceased and someone’s personality will strongly influence how they respond to grief. People often focus primarily on their emotional responses to such a loss and may fail to properly evaluate the practical implications of someone’s premature passing.

When someone dies earlier in life than they would have otherwise, they can no longer work a job to provide financial support for their families or contribute to household needs through unpaid services, like child care and lawn maintenance. Their surviving loved ones will have to find a way to cover their lost wages, pay for end-of-life care and absorb the household responsibilities the deceased party once managed.

Sometimes, people initiate wrongful death lawsuits as a way to reduce the impact of someone’s untimely death. Who has the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana?

Those whose loss meets a specific standard

Not every death is actionable under Indiana state law. Some tragedies are truly accidents, and others are preventable incidents for which an outside party ultimately has responsibility. According to Indiana statutes, misconduct or negligence will need to have played a role in someone’s passing for a wrongful death lawsuit to be an option.

Those in certain positions

Indiana limits who can actually initiate litigation in a wrongful death scenario. Although spouses and other family members are often the plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits and other states, Indiana takes a slightly different approach. Specifically, state statutes require that the personal representative of the deceased party’s estate file the lawsuit. The one exception to this rule is when the person who died was a minor child. In that scenario, the parents or guardians of the child who died will have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

The proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit can go to someone’s estate to cover certain costs and also to the family members directly impacted by their untimely passing. Recognizing when someone may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit can help people to pursue justice after losing a loved one unexpectedly.