In my over 25 years in practice as a personal injury lawyer, there are few experiences that are more heart wrenching than meeting a family who has suffered the unexpected death of a loved one, particularly when the person has been killed because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness.
In attempting to compensate the surviving family for this loss, Indiana law provides that if a loved one is killed because of the negligence of another person, their surviving spouse and children who are less than 18 years of age do have a legal claim for final medical, funeral and burial expenses, for the income that the deceased person would have earned in the future, and for loss of companionship, guidance, love, care, and affection. Typically, such claims have a value well in excess of one million dollars.
If the deceased person was unmarried at the time of their death, the children of the deceased also have a wrongful death claim, provided that there is some degree of dependency upon their deceased parent at the time of their death. This dependency is presumed to exist if the child is less than 18 years of age. If the child is 18 or older, this dependency need only be partial, and may consist of even minor financial support and services. The key is to show a need for some support on behalf of the surviving adult children, and the providing of some support to the adult child by their deceased parent prior to their death.
I have also had cases where an unmarried adult child has been killed and has left surviving parents who were dependent upon their adult child to some degree due to poor health or financial need. Again, the key is to show a need for some type of support on behalf of the surviving parent and the actual providing of some support by the adult child prior to their death. This type of claim has become more common as people are living longer and consequently relying upon their adult children to assist them, particularly if they have health related issues.
If you or someone you know has suffered the death of a loved one, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who is well acquainted with how to prove all of the elements of loss which are involved with a wrongful death claim, such as for example using an economist to estimate the value of services and loss of future income that the surviving family members are entitled to.
If you or a loved one have suffered the loss of a loved one because of another person’s negligence, contact the office of Indiana wrongful death attorney James F. Ludlow Attorney at Law to discuss your case. Call me toll-free at 1-877-897-9466 or submit the simple form on the Contact Us page.