Indiana Wrongful Death Law
Indiana has three mutually exclusive statutes that deal with wrongful death. Particularly, there is a General Wrongful Death Statute, Adult Wrongful Death Statute (without dependents) and, Child Wrongful Death Law.
General Wrongful Death Statute (I.C. 34-23-1-1) (with a spouse or dependents)In a general wrongful death case in Indiana, a personal representative needs to be appointed. Perhaps more importantly, there must be a surviving spouse and/or dependent person that survives. Damages are unlimited.
Adult Wrongful Death Statute (I.C. 34-23-1-2) (without a spouse or dependents)Like a general wrongful death case, a personal representative needs to be appointed to pursue the wrongful death claim. If there is not a spouse or dependents (typically kids in the household or parents living off their child) then damages are capped at $300,000.00
Child Wrongful Death Statute (I.C. 34-23-2-1)Until the last 25 years, Indiana did not recognize that the loss of a child was compensable. Now, the death of a child has no cap on damages provided that a parent (or both) survive their child. While there is no cap on damages, the child must be under 20 years of age at the time of passing or 23 if enrolled in an institution of higher learning. There is no cap on damages and parents are entitled to collect until the day of death of the last surviving parent. Parental claims are based on loss of love, services and companionship. A recent study showed that the average child wrongful death claim in Indiana is valued between 2.5 and 4 million dollars