INDIANA WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS
Under Indiana Code 34-23-1, wrongful death is a situation where the death of an individual was caused by an omission or wrongful act by another person. If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit due to the untimely or unexpected death of a loved one, you may have questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about the process of filing this type of lawsuit, as well as details about what to expect.
How Long Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
The question that comes up most often is how long a wrongful death lawsuit typically takes to settle. Every case is unique, so the length of time it takes to resolve will depend on situational factors and who is representing the case. However, the average is between one and four years. If you don’t work with a legal professional and accept a settlement or lump sum offered by an insurance company or other involved party, the process may be faster. However, you may also get less than you deserve, as many insurance companies offer low settlements to start.
When you work with the professionals at Alvarez Law Office, we will do what it takes to obtain the settlement you deserve in a wrongful death suit. Our team has over 200 years of combined experience and we have a proven track record of recovering damages for the loved ones of people who have died unnecessarily. Although the process may take several years, we will continue to fight for you and honor the memory of your loved one.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each state has different rules and regulations around paying out the funds awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. In Indiana, the damages may be awarded to the deceased person’s dependents, such as their children or spouse. The state also caps the amount of money that can be awarded to the family of someone who does not have any dependents. This cap is $300,000.
Can Siblings Sue for Wrongful Death?
Only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Indiana. The legal standing of the person filing is governed by the doctrine that this individual has lost something due to the death of the victim and will continue to experience loss unless the responsible party is held liable. This personal representative could be a sibling of the person who died, as long as that sibling has been appointed to take care of the estate of the deceased person.
The state of Indiana also requires that a wrongful death suit be filed within two years of the date of the death. If it is not filed within that timeframe, the court is unlikely to accept the suit or listen to the arguments. The timeline for filing also doesn’t change even if any other related legal cases are taking place or the death involves a child.
How Much Compensation Do You Get for Medical Negligence in Death?
The amount of compensation awarded for a wrongful death suit caused by medical negligence depends on several factors. The damages paid out in this type of case are intended to compensate the surviving dependents or family members for losses related to the death. In the state of Indiana, specific rules are in place that relate to what types of damages are available in a wrongful death suit and how much each type can pay out.
If liability is established in wrongful death, the damages that can be recovered include those associated with burial and funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits the deceased person may have earned if they had lived, hospital and medical expenses, and legal costs associated with filing the suit. The cause of the wrongful death does not impact what damages can be paid out in Indiana. The cap for an individual without children or other dependents is $300,000.
What Can I Expect From a Wrongful Death Suit?
If you decide to file a wrongful death suit, you must be the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. You must also demonstrate that you had something to lose in the situation, or that the death of the individual impacts you directly. The process often takes years, and the company or individual you are suing for wrongful death will likely attempt to settle with you. Most companies offer low settlements, so if you choose to accept the amount offered, you may not get as much as you could be eligible to receive in damages.
If you work with Alvarez Law Office for your wrongful death suit, we will keep you informed throughout the process. We will also work with you to obtain all the necessary information and documents to present to the courts that show your case.
Do You Have to Pay Taxes on a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The IRS deems that all settlements awarded for suits related to physical injury or illness are non-taxable. This law includes the damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit, as these are imposed due to a third party being deemed responsible for the injury or illness that caused the death of an individual. In order to qualify under this law, the damages awarded in a wrongful death suit must be compensatory, which means that they must be issued in the form of compensation paid to the person who filed the suit. The IRS does not consider compensatory damages to be a gain, which is why they are not taxed.
Now that you have a better understanding of wrongful death lawsuits and who can file, what to expect in the process, and what damages may be awarded, you may be ready to proceed with filing this type of lawsuit for a loved one who has passed away. Contact us at Alvarez Law Office for legal help in the Northwest Indiana area. We serve clients throughout Crown Point, Merrillville, Valparaiso, Hammond, Hobart, Munster, Portage, Highland, Schererville, Gary, Elkhart, Goshen, and South Bend, so contact us for more information about how we can help you take the next step in a wrongful death suit.