In Indiana, a wrongful death claim is a civil suit. This means that the claim must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This representative could vary per the deceased’s status:
- If the deceased person was married, his or her spouse can file a wrongful death claim in Indiana.
- If the deceased was not married, adult children may file a claim.
- If the deceased person had dependent children, they can bring an action for a wrongful death suit. In this instance, the surviving spouse or another personal representative can also bring an action on behalf of the children. The goal would be to obtain damages for the children’s loss of love, affection, and parental guidance. They may also obtain damages for the loss of financial support. The specific amount is determined by a jury.
- If the deceased was not married, and did not have children at the time of death, the options for representatives is very limited. Consult with an Indianapolis personal injury attorney for a complete list of acceptable candidates. Damages in such cases are also limited.
- If a wrongful death claim involves a child, one or both parents may file a claim. If the child’s parents are divorced, the parent who had legal custody of the child is the representative. If both parents of the child are deceased or have lost legal custody, the child’s legal guardian must file the claim.
- If the deceased was a young adult, his or her parents may file a wrongful death claim for the loss of love caused by the death. Damages are capped at $300,000.
- Siblings of the deceased may not file a claim in Indiana.
- Significant others may not file a claim in Indiana.