Any death can feel wrongful to those who suddenly lose a loved one. However, according to the law, only a small fraction of premature fatalities actually constitute wrongful deaths. The situation has to involve clear fault on the part of an outside party. When a business or an individual causes someone’s death through negligence or intentional misconduct, that situation may need the Indiana definition of a wrongful death. It is generally possible to initiate a lawsuit holding that party responsible for someone’s premature death under such circumstances.
However, there are many rules governing wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana. Not only must the circumstances of someone’s passing meet the state standard, but the right party must initiate the lawsuit. Who has the legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana?
There are two separate rules for lawsuits
When the person who dies through the actions or negligence of another party is an adult, they may leave multiple people struggling with grief and the practical implications of that sudden loss. Spouses, children and other extended family members will have to cope with a lifetime of grief and changed economic circumstances due to a loss of income and household support.
Anyone particularly close to the decedent might believe a wrongful death lawsuit is necessary and might expect to receive proceeds from the lawsuit. The only party with the legal authority to file such a lawsuit will be the personal representative of their estate. They will manage the litigation process on behalf of the dependent family members. They will then have the responsibility of distributing the proceeds among the dependent family members if the lawsuit is successful.
When the person who dies is a child, they may not have the resources or responsibilities necessary to warrant probate proceedings. Therefore, state law allows for the surviving parents of the deceased child to initiate a lawsuit related to their wrongful death instead.
Wrongful death lawsuits can provide both appropriate financial compensation for a tragic situation and closure for those grieving someone’s death. Understanding the rules that govern Indiana wrongful death lawsuits can make it easier for people to pursue legal action effectively after losing a loved one.