When a family member dies it can be a very emotional and gut-wrenching experience. Unfortunately, when that death was caused by another person, in addition to having to deal with the grief and loss the surviving family members may also be left with complicated legal issues.
A wrongful death lawsuit may be necessary if a loved one dies as a result of a truck or automobile accident, work related injuries, medical negligence, or injury from a defective product, for example.
Even when a death is accidental in nature, if there is negligence involved, it may allow surviving family members to get compensation for their loss. The Indiana Wrongful Death Statute, and accompanying case law have confirmed what kinds of damages are, and are not allowed, and it depends on many factors surrounding both the decedent and the surviving family members.
If a decedent has left behind surviving dependents, such as a spouse, dependent children or other dependent next of kin, then the following damages may be awarded, taking into consideration both the decedent’s age, health and life expectancy and how long the dependents were expected to remain so:
- Loss of earning capacity, including probably future earnings, reduced by persona living expenses
- Value of future support the dependents could have reasonably expected to receive
- Loss of love, care and affection that dependents could reasonably have expected
If a decedent, on the other hand, did not have any dependents since he or she was unmarried, but did have either parents or non-dependent children who survived, then, as long as those parents and/or children had a genuine, substantial and ongoing relationship with the decedent, they could be awarded damages for loss of love and companionship.