Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Merrillville & Valparaiso Areas
The wrongful death lawyers at Sarkisian Law Offices serve clients in Indiana and Illinois. Their offices are located in Lake County and Porter County, Indiana.
Nothing is more devastating to a family than the loss of a parent, spouse, or child that occurs because of the negligence of others.
Having represented grieving families of those killed by negligent acts, the attorneys at Sarkisian Law Offices know that legal action can never truly compensate for such a loss.
However, the State of Indiana has made provisions to help protect families in these cases by requiring wrongdoers to take responsibility for the deaths they cause.
So, while there is no way to replace a loved one when they have been killed by the negligence of another, Indiana law does give survivors certain protections in these types of cases. You may be able to seek compensation for the costs you’ve incurred as a result of your loved one’s death.
At Sarkisian Law Offices, we work to protect the rights of the survivors, to help preserve the quality of life that they once enjoyed.
Definition of Wrongful Death
A death can be defined as “wrongful” when a person’s negligent actions caused a tortious injury that resulted in another individual’s death.
A claim for wrongful death damages can only be brought forward by the victim’s close relatives, also called survivors. This includes the victim’s spouse, children, or other close relatives who can be considered a dependent of the victim.
A wrongful death claim must be filed within a certain period of time after the victim’s death. This is called the statute of limitations, and in Indiana, this time frame is two years.
Accidents that Can Cause a Wrongful Death
Almost any accident can cause a death. The most common accidents to result in wrongful death include but are not limited to:
Wrongful death can also occur in cases of medical negligence, such as when a physician is negligent in the care of his or her patient or if a nursing home is negligent or abusive in the care of a resident.
Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to successfully file a wrongful death claim in Indiana, several things must be able to be proven.
First, you must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim.
Duty of Care Definition
A duty of care exists in certain relationships where one person has an obligation to adhere to certain standards of conduct in order to protect another person from harm.
For example, an employer owes a duty of care to his or her employee to keep the work area free from known hazards. Failure to do so would be a breach in the employer’s duty of care to the employee.
In order to successfully pursue a wrongful death claim, you must illustrate to the court that the defendant in the case owed a duty of care to the victim as a result of the relationship between them.
Other examples of relationships where a duty of care is owed include:
- Doctor/patient relationships
- Store owner or manager/customer relationships
- Landlord/tenant relationships
An experienced attorney can help you determine if the person responsible for the death of your loved one owed a duty of care to them, and he can help you move on to the next step of bringing forward a wrongful death claim in Indiana.
Second, you must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care.
Once you have proven that the defendant owed the duty of care, you must then prove that it has been breached.
A breach in the duty of care can occur when a person who owes the duty neglects or refuses to provide that care.
For example, a physician owes a duty of care to his or her patients to prescribe medications that are safe for the patient to take. If the doctor prescribes a combination of medication that is lethal and the patient dies as a result, the doctor may be guilty of breaching his or her duty of care toward the patient.
Third, you must prove that the breach in the duty of care directly resulted in the harm or death to the victim.
This is called causation, and you must be able to illustrate to the court that the breach in duty of care directly caused the death of the victim.
For example, if a shop owner knew of a spill on the floor and did not clean it up before a customer slipped on the wet floor, he or she may be able to be held responsible for the medical bills related to the accident. However, the plaintiff in the case must also be able to prove that the injuries that caused the victim’s death were a direct result of the fall, e.g., if the victim suffered a blow to the head in the fall that caused the victim’s brain to be deprived of oxygen long enough to cause death.
Evidence is crucial in proving causation, and an attorney can help you gather the necessary medical records to illustrate your case.
Fourth, you must be able to prove damages.
The last thing that must be proven in a wrongful death claim is damages. This means that you must show that you incurred real, tangible damages from the victim’s death.
For example, the easiest type of damages to prove are medical bills. Medical expenses can be submitted to the court and are added to the total claim. However, other types of damages also exist, such as the loss of future wages. In that case, you would need to prove to the court how the victim provided for your family, how much the victim made in a given time frame, and how you will be without those wages in the future. These damages may be able to be added to the wrongful death claim as well.
By consulting with a seasoned Indiana wrongful death lawyer, you can gather all the information needed to prove to the court that you suffered damages as a result of the death of your loved one.
Contact Sarkisian Law Offices Today
At Sarkisian Law Offices, we know that no amount of money can ease the pain of losing a loved one.
However, we also know that there are a great deal of expenses that come with the unexpected death of a family member that arose from an accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses.
Our attorneys are committed to providing the families of wrongful death victims with caring and compassionate legal representation during such a difficult time.
Don’t let the unexpected death of a loved one that was caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person go without justice.
You and your family deserve closure after such a life-changing event, and our lawyers can help guide you through the process of making sure that the person or entity responsible for your loved one’s passing is held responsible for their actions.
Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal needs with a veteran wrongful death lawyer in Indiana. We are available now to speak with you at (219) 942-7171 or (219) 477-3998.