Updated February 21, 2020

What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

Wrongful death claims are civil cases. Therefore, damages are intended to help the estate and surviving family members (spouse, children, dependents) recover the losses directly related to the death. Keep in mind that the state of Indiana caps damages in most wrongful death cases at $300,000.

What are some types of Wrongful Death Damages?

While an attorney can help explore options, Indiana generally allows—but does not necessarily guarantee—the following recovery options for a deceased person’s estate, spouse, or children.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

Laying a victim to rest is a heavy burden for a family to bear, both emotionally and financially. It’s possible to receive money to help pay for funeral arrangements.

Medical and Hospital Bills

If there was any healthcare involved in the deceased’s case, the surviving family might have been left with a large stack of bills.

Lost Wages and Benefits

If the deceased was an adult with a spouse or dependent children and worked at the time of death, their family will no longer receive that income. It’s possible to get reimbursed for both lost wages and benefits. A family may also seek damages for retirement benefits or a pension. In this case, the money would be divided between the surviving children and spouse at the discretion of the court.

Litigation Costs

Pursuing a lawsuit can be pricey, and time spent in court can add up. If you can get damages that will help defray the cost of legal proceedings, it could put you a little bit more at ease.

Pain and Suffering

In general, Indiana does not allow for damages to be recovered for grief. However, if the victim in the wrongful death case was a child, there is an exception: It’s possible for the child’s parents to recover damages for the loss of what are legally known as the child’s “services”—the love and companionship that they offered before their death.


As with pain and suffering, money for counseling after a death is generally not awarded except in cases where there was the loss of a child. If the surviving parents or any siblings require counseling in order to cope with the grief, it is possible to recover money to pay for that service.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If your loved one has died as a result of negligence, you are urged to contact an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get 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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