What Is Considered Wrongful Death and Why Should You Make a Claim?

Wrongful death occurs when the life of a person is taken away due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. 

In Indiana, the law provides surviving family members with the legal right to hold the at-fault party accountable and seek compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of the loss of their loved one (Indiana Code § 34-23-1-2).

Making a wrongful death claim is not only about seeking justice but also about protecting the rights and well-being of the surviving family. It sends a clear message that such negligent or wrongful actions will not be tolerated, and it may prevent similar incidents from happening to others in the future. 

Moreover, a wrongful death claim can provide much-needed financial compensation to cover the overwhelming costs and emotional damages resulting from the accident.

Damages You Can Claim in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit in Indiana can encompass various aspects of the losses suffered by the surviving family members, including:

  • Economic damages: These are related to the financial losses incurred by the surviving family members as a result of the wrongful death. It may encompass medical expenses, funeral, and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits, and other expenses arising from the incident. 
  • Non-economic damages: In such extreme situations, money is important but it’s not all of what matters, because the emotional damage can be way more painful and impacting than the expenses. That’s why you can claim compensation for the loss of companionship, guidance, support, consortium, and the emotional distress caused by the wrongful death. 

Non-economic damages recognize that the impact of losing a loved one goes beyond financial losses and encompasses the immeasurable emotional toll it takes on the family

  • Punitive damages: In certain cases where the wrongful death was caused by the intentional or reckless conduct of the at-fault party, the court may award punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar misconduct in the future. medical records

How you can Prove Negligence

Establishing a wrongful death claim requires proving that the death was caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another party. This necessitates demonstrating the following elements:

Duty of care

The at-fault party owed a legal duty of care to the deceased person. For example, a truck driver must operate their vehicle safely and obey trucking laws in Indiana, a healthcare provider has to provide competent and appropriate medical care, and a property owner has to maintain safe premises.

Breach of duty

The at-fault party breached their duty of care by acting negligently, recklessly, or intentionally. For instance, a driver was texting while driving, a healthcare provider failed to follow standard medical protocols, or a property owner neglected to address hazardous conditions.


It must be established that the breach of duty directly caused or contributed to the death of the individual. This requires demonstrating a causal link between the at-fault party’s actions or omissions and the fatal injuries sustained by the victim.


Finally, it must be shown that the wrongful death has resulted in damages to the surviving family members, such as financial losses, emotional distress, and other compensable harms.

Common Wrongful Death Claims in Evansville:

Wrongful death claims can arise from various types of accidents and incidents, but some of the common scenarios in which wrongful death claims may occur include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent or distracted driving, drunk driving, or other forms of driver negligence can result in fatal injuries.
  • Medical malpractice: Medical negligence, errors, or mistakes by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and hospitals, can have fatal consequences. For example, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and birth injuries may result in the wrongful death of a patient.
  • Premises liability: When a property owner’s negligence leads to a fatal accident, such as slip and fall, electrocution, or drowning, the surviving family members may have a valid wrongful death claim against the property owner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Cases:

Losing someone you love due to wrongful death is a devastating experience, and it is natural to have questions about the legal process of pursuing a wrongful death claim. 

Here are some frequently asked questions we hear from our clients with similar cases:

How much can you sue for wrongful death in Evansville?

The amount of compensation that can be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit depends on various factors, including the specific circumstances of the case, the damages suffered by the surviving family members, and the applicable laws and regulations. 

Indiana follows a “two-tier” system when it comes to wrongful death damages, which includes both economic and non-economic damages.

Who can sue for wrongful death in Indiana?

In Indiana, the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit is limited to certain individuals who are considered “statutory beneficiaries” under the Indiana Wrongful Death Act. These statutory beneficiaries include:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Children
  • Dependent next of kin

Our team of wrongful death lawyers in Evansville is here to provide you with tenacious and honest legal representation. We understand the pain and suffering you are going through, and we are committed to helping you navigate the legal process to pursue the justice you deserve.

Contact us today and we will hear your case in a free consultation to help you understand your options.

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