Wrongful death claims arise when an individual dies because of the actions or inactions of another person. It is similar to a personal injury claim and typically founded on negligence or intent. If the deceased person would have had a personal injury claim under the same circumstances had they not died, a personal representative can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. If you recently lost a loved one, you might be wondering who can file a wrongful death claim for them or who their personal representative is. These are excellent questions to address with a knowledgeable Indiana wrongful death attorney from our firm.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Each state handles wrongful death claims differently. In Indiana, the person eligible to file a wrongful death claim depends on the age of the person at the time of their death.
Wrongful death claims for child decedents have to be filed by one or both of the child’s parents. If the parents are not legally married, the parent who had legal custody of the child at the time of their death is the one who must file the claim. In cases where both parents are dead or don’t have custody of the child, the right to file a wrongful death claim lies with the child’s legal guardian. Indiana’s wrongful death statute defines a child as:
- Someone younger than 20 years old, unmarried, and without dependents
- Someone younger than 23 years old who is going to college, a career and technical school, or enrolled in a similar program, and unmarried without dependents
- A fetus that has reached viability
Many states allow an adult decedent’s family members to file a wrongful death claim for them. However, Indiana laws only allow a personal representative, or executor, of the deceased estate to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. If the decedent hasn’t named an estate executor before their death, the court will appoint one for them. The executor must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind as determined by the court. Executors in Indiana can’t be convicted felons under any state or federal law.
Indiana’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
If you aren’t sure who should file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your deceased loved one, contact an experienced Indiana wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Not doing so could put the wrongful death claim at risk of not being filed on time as per the statute of limitations. In Indiana, those who qualify to file wrongful death claims only have two years from the date of the death to file a legal claim. If they fail to take legal action within those two years, they no longer have the right to pursue compensation.
Seek the Advice of a Compassionate Indiana Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you recently lost a loved one, please accept our sincerest condolences. We know how difficult this time can be. Wrongful death claims are often necessary but can also be overwhelming at such an emotional time. At Tanzillo, Stassin & Babcock, we can stand by your side as you seek to recover compensation for your family’s losses and your deceased loved one’s pain and suffering. You can meet with one of our Indiana wrongful death lawyers and learn more about your family’s legal rights by contacting us today.