Fatal Car Accidents

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The loss of a loved one in a tragic car accident is absolutely devastating for the victim’s family, friends, and community. Crashes caused by the negligence of another person are even more traumatic because surviving family members have to live with the knowledge that someone else’s actions or carelessness caused their loved one’s death.

If your family has suffered such a loss, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the guilty party and get compensation to cover your damages. But it’s difficult enough to grieve after the sudden, unexpected death of a spouse, parent, or child—you don’t need to worry about filing a lawsuit, arguing with insurance companies, or negotiating a fair settlement.

That’s where we come in.

The fatal Indianapolis car accident lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are here to be your advocate every step of the way. With experience in both car accident cases and wrongful death lawsuits, the attorneys at WKW are prepared to help you navigate the complexities of pursuing compensation for a fatal car accident.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Fatal Crash

In cases where a guilty party’s negligence, recklessness, or misconduct resulted in the death of another person, surviving members of the victim’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Fatal car accidents fall into this category.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be extremely complicated. It is in your best interest to find a qualified fatal car accident lawyer to establish who is responsible for the accident as well as calculate financial and non-financial damages you and your family have suffered.

Your fatal car accident lawyer can build a strong case for you to pursue a lawsuit. After a car accident fatality affects your life, you should receive the compensation needed to support you during this time of mourning and beyond. While compensation will not and cannot lessen the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one, a strong case after a tragic car accident can at least relieve some of the financial burden you experience.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death in the state of Indiana, under IC 34-23-1, is when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another. Wrongful death is a civil lawsuit filed directly by the estate. Any criminal charges for an at-fault accident death are pursued by the state.

How Is Wrongful Death Different Than Other Car Accident Lawsuits?

The main difference between an auto accident wrongful death claim compared to a typical car accident lawsuit that did not result in death is the position of the plaintiff. In a typical car accident, the plaintiff is the person who was injured or involved in the car accident. In a wrongful death auto accident, the victim has passed away and cannot be a plaintiff. Instead, the person who pursues a lawsuit is the estate of the deceased. Their role is to establish liability and seek damages.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims

Indiana has three types of car accident wrongful death settlements, each having to do with the fatal car accident victim’s relationship with the person who can pursue a lawsuit.

The first type of wrongful death claim is when the person who was killed has a surviving spouse or dependent next-of-kin. The pursuit of this type of case would result in damages such as:

  • Loss of income
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Loss of parental guidance and training if the person killed has children

The next type of lawsuit for a wrongful death claim is when the person who was killed is a single adult that does not have anyone who is financially dependent on them. Damages can include loss of love and affection suffered by adult children or parents. In Indiana, there is a $300,000 limit for this type of claim.

The last type of wrongful death auto accident lawsuit is a car accident resulting in death of a child. The parents bring the claim requesting damages of loss of love and affection suffered. There is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded.

Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim

According to Indiana law, wrongful death claims can only be filed by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. In other words, only certain surviving family members of a fatal car accident victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana.

The person who can pursue wrongful death settlements in car accidents has to have a personal relationship with the deceased. They can include:

  • The surviving spouse if the person who was killed was married
  • If the deceased was not married, their adult children can pursue a lawsuit
  • The dependent children or surviving spouse with dependent children
  • If the victim was a child, one or both parents
  • The legal guardian if the victim was a child
  • If the victim was a young adult, both parents

If you would like to file for a settlement regarding a car accident fatality, yet do not fall under one of the above relations, speak with your fatal car accident lawyer about potential options. Note that in the state of Indiana, siblings and non-spouse significant others cannot file claims for wrongful death settlements in car accidents.

Determining Fault in Fatal Car Accidents

Tragic car accidents that lead to one or more fatalities can be caused by many different factors, including the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Speeding
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Fatigue
  • Unsafe road conditions
  • Mechanical issues such as faulty brakes

In a fatal car accident case, the victim’s family must prove the guilty party’s negligence beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can examine the accident scene, analyze evidence of the crash, and determine who is at fault.

Fatal Car Accident Compensation

After the unexpected death of a loved one, surviving family members may struggle with a variety of short-term and long-term expenses. A successful wrongful death claim may cover some or all of the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering, both of the deceased before death as well as that of surviving loved ones
  • Loss of financial resources (wages, health insurance, future retirement pensions, benefits, etc.)
  • Loss of companionship
  • Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses

Compensation does not make up for the loss of a cherished family member. However, it may ease some of the financial stress associated with the death of a loved one.

How a Fatal Car Accident Attorney Can Help

After a deadly collision, you and your loved ones are dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a beloved family member. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for funeral expenses, medical bills, or lost income. Instead, your legal team can file a lawsuit on your behalf.

A fatal car accident attorney will act as your advocate throughout the wrongful death claim process, handling communications with insurance companies, negotiating with the guilty party’s attorneys, and ensuring that you receive fair compensation.

Don’t go through this alone. Let the experienced car crash lawyers at WKW serve as your legal guide and protect your best interests.

Contact an Indianapolis Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Today

If your loved one was killed in a tragic car accident, contact the Indianapolis Automobile Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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