What Do I Do If A Loved One Dies in an Accident?
If you are reading this because you need information about wrongful death, our family extends our sympathy for your loss. We know firsthand the angst, sorrow, and numbing grief you are dealing with and we pray for your strength in the face of this tragedy.
The first things you need to take care of are the arrangements for funeral and burial. It is always helpful to allow a family member or friend to accompany you to make these arrangements. You are in grief, and it is almost impossible to concentrate in this state of mourning. Having a friend or family member who is not as directly involved is always helpful. The first three to four days will be a blur and our ceremonies and traditions help us cope with the loss.
In the days following the death, it is important to find the will and seek the advice of a probate lawyer to help administer the estate assets. A Probate lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in handling wills and estates. You should look for life insurance policies and make contact with the insurance companies so that you can fill out the “Proof of Loss” forms all insurance companies require. Don’t forget to check with your health insurance company and credit card issuers, often times these entities will have small life insurance policies attached to them. You car loan may also have a life insurance policy attached to it which will pay off the loan, the same goes for your mortgage, so check with each of these folks.
If the death was caused by the negligence of another person, it is called “Wrongful Death”. It does not matter if the death was caused by a car wreck with a drunk driver, a semi tractor trailer in a highway accident, a motorcycle road accident, any kind of traffic accident, a construction accident, burns or electrocution. Indiana has three statutes dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one. One statute deals with the death of an adult with dependents (spouse, child or financially dependent person), wrongful death of an adult without dependents, and wrongful death of a child (one who is under the age of 20, or 23 if the child is a full time student). The statutes can be found at I.C. 34-23-1-1, I.C. 34-23-1-2, and I.C. 34-23-2-1. We will go into the specifics of each statute in later blogs.
As we have stated in earlier blogs, an immediate and thorough investigation into the facts of the fatal accident should be conducted as soon as is practical. A competent car accident attorney or accident lawyer will be able to handle the investigation for you, relieving you of that stress, so you can focus on your family. At Young and Young, we have been asked to perform these services for hundreds of Hoosier families. We have the resources and the experience to do what needs to be done to help you in this awful time.