Indiana Wrongful Death
There are potentially a multitude of scenarios in which the death of a loved one can lead to a wrongful death claim. Two of the most common are listed and described below. If you have recently lost a loved one due to an accident of any kind caused by the negligence of another party, call Duepner law today for a free consultation regarding your case.
Defective Product Wrongful Death
Manufacturers and companies are expected to supply consumers with safe and reliable products. This means that their products should be free of defects that can potentially lead to serious injury or even death. A Defective Product Wrongful Death can occur due to issues with things such as sporting gear, children’s products, auto parts, and industrial machinery. If a person is fatally injured due to a defective product, their survivors may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. That claim can help them recoup medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly other damages. If the negligence of the manufacturer or company is extreme it is also possible to be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are ultimately a monetary amount that is used to punish the manufacturer for distributing a defective product.
Many times unsafe products are recalled once the manufacturer is made aware of the issue. Often times this is because several consumers have been injured by the product. Family members still have the opportunity to file a wrongful death suit even if the product has been recalled because there is the possibility that a recall does not absolve the manufacturer of all liability.
Vehicular Incident Wrongful Death
According to the American Automobile Association, the leading causes of fatal car crashes are:
- Drive fatigue
- Distracted drivers
- Weather conditions
- Drunk and reckless driving
During the year of 2012 there were a total of 718 fatal car accidents in the state of Indiana. Out of the 718, 20.9% of those accidents were due to a legally impaired driver and 22.7% were speed related. Death that results from a car accident due to either one of those factors could enable the deceased’s survivor to file a wrongful death claim. Three factors must be present in order to do so. The first is definitive proof that a person or entity is at fault or liable for the accident that caused death. The second is that there is a survivor of the deceased. For example, a spouse, child, or a legal beneficiary. The final factor is that the death will result in some type of monetary loss. Once negligence has been determined you can more than likely proceed with a wrongful death claim.
In Indiana, most car accident death claims are determined via Comparative fault. Comparative fault is when the fault of two different parties are compared in order to reach a decision with regards to liability. The party that is accused of being negligent can put forth a defense that states that the decedent was partially responsible for the accident that lead to their death. This is generally broken down in to percentages. In order to receive any type of compensation it would have to be concluded that the defendant was 50% or more at fault. The amount of damages received will be reduced by the applicable percentage if it is determined that the decedent did in some way contribute to the cause of the accident. For example, if it is determined that the decedent is 20% responsible, then as a survivor you would only receive 80% of the determined damage amount.
Determining fault and understanding the application of comparative fault can be a difficult and daunting process. You need an experienced attorney to assist you with your claim. Call Duepner law to speak with a qualified attorney today.
Loss of Consortium
In the state of Indiana, a spouse who has lost their husband or wife due to the negligence of another can also receive damages beyond the standard lost wages and loss of income. Within a wrongful death claim a spouse can request compensation for Loss of Consortium. Loss of Consortium is designed to compensate a surviving spouse for the loss of a marital relationship and the care, love, and affection that it entailed. In order to pursue Loss of Consortium in Indiana, there must have been a spousal relationship present. It cannot be applied to cohabitation or anything less than a legal marriage. The surviving spouse must be able to prove the value of the loss. This is determined by factors such as the stability of the marriage, the life expectancy of the deceased, and the nature and extent of the loss. For example, the damages received will potentially be higher for a wife whose husband was in his twenties when he passed as opposed to a wife whose husband was in his seventies.
If you have recently lost your spouse due to the negligence of another, call to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Duepner Law. We will review your claim and fight for your right for compensation.