Indiana law allows for five areas of wrongful death damages when calculating a settlement:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical and hospital bills from all care leading up to your loved one’s death
- Wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned if they had lived
- Costs associated with pursuing the wrongful death lawsuit, including attorney fees
- Loss of emotional support
We’ll evaluate each of these areas of compensation to provide a better understanding of how the courts will calculate these damages.
Wrongful Death Damage Calculation Guidance
No one can say what compensation you’ll get during a wrongful death case. But an experienced attorney can provide guidance using a wrongful death damage calculation. Your attorney will evaluate each of the five areas of damages listed below to guide you in identifying what a fair settlement amount is for your case.
1. Funeral and Burial Expenses
Funeral and burial expenses are fixed costs that you’ll be able to show with a receipt. Even if you had life insurance coverage that paid these final expenses, you can seek reimbursement if your loved one was a victim of wrongful death.
Just be sure to keep all documentation related to the funeral and burial expenses. For anything you didn’t hold onto, talk to the funeral home or cemetery to get a copy of your receipts.
2. Medical and Hospital Bills
Often in wrongful death situations, the victim suffers injuries that land them in the hospital or under regular medical care. Sometimes, this care lasts for weeks, months, or even years.
The financial burden of medical and hospital bills during this time can be insurmountable. Family members of wrongful death victims can seek payment for these expenses to help recover financially from these losses.
3. Lost Wages and Benefits
The calculation for lost wages and benefits is not as simple as funeral and medical expenses. This is due to the fact that there is not a clear receipt that the courts are looking to reimburse. Instead, this takes more of a calculation to determine what the loved one would have made had they lived.
To get to this calculation, the courts will evaluate the age of your loved one and the number of years they had before retirement. Then they’ll take a look at the individual’s salary or hourly wage to calculate the total loss of income.
Additionally, the courts will evaluate the benefits the individual would have been entitled to through their work had they not passed away due to someone else’s negligence.
4. Costs Associated With Pursuing the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
This line item is another one that will have a clear, set cost associated with it. All court filing fees and reasonable attorney fees can be included in the total settlement amount for your case.
The knowledge that these fees are reimbursable can help put family members at ease with filing the lawsuit because they know they won’t lose money for making that decision.
5. Loss of Emotional Support
Loss of emotional support is another area that does not have a definitive dollar amount attached to it. Judges will sometimes ask loved ones to testify about their relationship with the deceased and how their passing impacts them.
Final Notes on Indiana Wrongful Death Cases
Indiana wrongful death damage calculation excludes two categories that some other states may identify. This includes punitive damages and damages for the grief that loved ones experience.
The best way to get a better idea of how much you could expect to receive from a wrongful death case is to get in contact with an attorney. Stewart & Stewart offers a free consultation to provide you the details you need to decide whether to pursue a case.
We won’t pressure you into a case you aren’t interested in, but we will offer you the tools and insights you need to know to handle the situation you’re facing. Schedule your free legal consultation now.