What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the causing the death of another either through intentional acts or through negligent acts. If the acts are intentional there may be both a criminal case (for Murder) and a civil case (for damages arising from the wrongful death). For an example think of the OJ Simpson case. In that case OJ Simpson was prosecuted for murder in the death of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldberg. He was found not guilty of those charges in the criminal case. Then the family of Ron Goldberg sued OJ Simpson in a civil case for wrongful death. They won and received a judgment against Mr. Simpson. That judgment remains unpaid because Mr. Simpson claimed he did not have the money to pay it. You may be wondering why Mr. Simpson’s insurance company did not pay the judgment. The reason is that insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional acts, and as the families proved that Mr. Simpson intentionally caused the wrongful death of Mr. Goldberg, the insurance company was not required to pay.
As we stated earlier, Wrongful death can also be caused by negligent acts. Negligent acts are acts that are not intentional, but result from a person not being careful. Examples of negligent acts include drunk driving, running a stop sign, driving a semi tractor-trailer without performing proper maintenance, not following the safety rules on a construction site. There are many, many example of negligent behavior. The wrongful death claim is controlled by the Indiana Wrongful Death Statute (IC 34-23-1-1, IC 34-1-1-2, and IC 34-23-2-1). Potential damages arising out of wrongful death include the loss of wages of the deceased, medical bills to treat the deceased’s last illness, burial and funeral expense, loss of love and affection and attorneys fees. The persons to who these damages flow are the spouse and children of the deceased (if the children are 18 or younger or full time students up to age 23) and any person who is dependent upon the deceased.
There are a great many other legal variables at work in any claim where a person dies as the result of another’s negligence. If you are struggling with the wrongful death of a loved one, or know someone who is and you have questions, or need help, please call. We charge no fee for the initial consultation and we will come to your home or any location you feel is best.