When someone is killed in an Indiana car accident caused by the negligent actions of others, his or her personal representative can pursue legal remedies by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. A personal representative is the person appointed to manage the decedent’s estate in their last will and testament. Personal representatives are sometimes called executors. If the decedent died without leaving a will, a personal representative will be appointed by the probate court. Personal representatives are the plaintiffs in wrongful death cases because they act on behalf of the estate, and their duties include filing lawsuits that the decedent would have filed if they were still alive.
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits
The damages in wrongful death lawsuits are awarded to cover expenses the decedent’s estate incurred, such as medical bills and funeral costs. The estate can also recover damages to compensate the estate’s beneficiaries for the decedent’s lost income. However, lost income damages can only be distributed to the decedent’s spouse, dependent children and dependent next of kin. Dependent family members can also recover damages to compensate them for the loss of the decedent’s love and affection damages.
The wrongful death of children
When children are killed in a motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death lawsuits are brought by parents instead of personal representatives because children do not usually have estate plans or assets. Under Indiana law, a car accident victim is considered a child if they are under 21 years of age or under 23 years of age and attending college. When parents file wrongful death claims, they can seek damages to cover funeral and burial costs, health care and counseling expenses and compensate them for the loss of the deceased child’s love and companionship.
Wrongful death lawsuits in Indiana are complex because the rules dealing with who can sue and recover damages are strict. These lawsuits are brought by personal representatives or executors when an adult dies in a car accident and by parents when a child is killed. The damages awarded in wrongful death cases compensate a deceased adult’s estate or a deceased child’s parents for expenses like funeral costs and medical bills. The parents of a deceased child or the dependent family members of a deceased adult can also recover damages to compensate them for losing a loved one’s companionship and affection.