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Wrongful Death:  Indiana Law and How it Impacts You

Wrongful Death: Indiana Law and How it Impacts You

The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP handle Wrongful Death claims – fighting to honor the memory of lost loved ones and supporting their dependents as the law allows. Losing a loved one is catastrophic. The physical and emotional void left by a family member’s death feels insurmountable. These emotions don’t even include the financial toll of losing a family’s bread-winner. Money can’t replace someone we love, but as a practical matter, it’s something families need legal help collecting. In Wrongful Death cases, not only do Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys know we are legally obligated to pursue the fullest extent of damages under the law – we want to fight for them because we care about our clients.

Indiana law allows family members and dependents to recover money as legal damages when their loved one is killed by another’s negligence. “Damages” is a legal term referring to the compensation – normally a sum of money – provided to a person who suffers harm or loss due to the negligence of another. Negligence causing one’s death is commonly known as a “wrongful death” claim.

Here are some things to consider when deciding what to do after losing a loved one to Wrongful Death.

Wrongful Death is a Civil Claim not a Criminal Claim

Wrongful Death refers to deaths that result from the negligent act of an entity or another person. A negligent act does not always mean a crime was committed. Your loved one’s death need not be the result of an intentional criminal act for you to make a Wrongful Death claim.  We are experienced handling cases involving both criminal and negligent (civil) claims. Explaining how the criminal and civil laws work is one of the first things we address with grieving families. It’s natural to ask “Why didn’t that driver, who ran the red light, get sent to jail?” Goodin Abernathy’s attorneys evaluate and explain cases clearly. Sometimes cases do not involve criminal acts and we understand families are stunned the at-fault driver is not going to jail. While being honest with our clients, we are also sympathetic to their loss. No question is a dumb one and no feelings are dismissed by us. We take the time to walk our clients through legal explanations because we want them to understand and be comfortable with the process. As regular people, Goodin Abernathy’s attorneys actually care about our clients – then we use our training and experience to provide them with superior legal services.

What Sorts of Deaths Qualify as Wrongful Deaths?

Here are some situations that can lead to a Wrongful Death claim: Auto Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Birth Injuries, Dog Bites, Drunk Drivers, Motorcycle Accidents, Drowning, Electrocution, Construction Accidents, Dangerous Working Conditions, Traumatic Brain Injury and Trucking Accidents.

Was someone driving erratically, causing an accident that killed your loved one? Did your loved one suffer an accident at work resulting in their death? Besides having an Indiana Worker’s Compensation claim, you may also have a wrongful death claim. There is a big, important difference between the two. Because we’ve handled these situations, we’ll explain how we prosecute both legal claims for our clients’ maximum benefit.

I’m Grieving and Don’t Have the Time or Energy to Pursue Legal Action

Losing a loved one is exhausting. It feels like there is a never-ending number of things to take care of and the last thing most people want to consider is a drawn-out legal battle. We get it- just remember two things: 1) In Indiana, the personal representative of the deceased has two (2) years to make a claim. (IC 34-23-1-1); and 2) the longer you wait to engage legal help means the more likely important evidence is lost.  You might not feel like you have the time to juggle a lawsuit and find your way after a loss. But trust the idea we want to help, and we will make it as easy as possible to connect and communicate with us. When it comes to the legal issues involved with a claim, it’s our job to do the work so you and your family can move forward at the same time.

What Sort of Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

Damages may include medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses. Damages include the loss of someone’s love and affection. Another big category of damages includes lost income or lost earnings. Under Indiana’s Wrongful Death Statute “recovery of emotional damages is allowed for spouses and dependent children; a decedent’s minor children may recover for loss of parental training and guidance as well as for the loss of their parent’s care.”  (TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc. v. Moore)  “This loss can be determined, in part, from assistance that decedent would have provided through money, services or other marital benefits, but it also includes loss to children of parental training and guidance and loss of love and affection to surviving spouse.” (Southlake Limousine and Coach, Inc. v. Brock)

Wrongful Death cases are complex. The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP are here to help you navigate these difficult times. Unlike a lot of big name advertising firms, our fees are structured for fairness to our clients. Our fees depend on the level of legal work you claim requires. You should not pay one set fee percentage for your case. We will explain how our fee structure works and comfortably answer your questions. Goodin Abernathy LLP gives you the time for decision making – we do not pressure you into signing our fee agreement the first time we meet. In these situations, you deserve an attorney that will walk beside you through the entire process. Contact us, Goodin Abernathy LLP, and see how we set ourselves apart from other attorneys. We know this is an emotional time. Let us help you recoup a sense of security for your family’s future. Call Goodin Abernathy LLP at 317-843-2606 today to schedule your Free Consultation.

 

Photo by Nate Isaac on Unsplash

Work Related Electrocutions

Work Related Electrocutions

Each year in Indiana and across the United States, workers are severely injured or killed in workplace accidents involving electrocutions. In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 134 workers across the nation were killed when they were exposed to electricity while they were working. Workers in the construction industry are especially at risk of suffering an on-the-job electricity-related injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls electrocution accidents among the construction industry’s fatal four, which are the four types of injuries that result in death each year. In addition to the risks of death from contact with electricity, electrocutions also bring risks of serious injuries.

Causes of Workplace Electrocution Injuries

Both electrical workers and non-electrical workers may suffer electricity-related injuries while working. The primary causes of electrocutions in the workplace are contacts with overhead power lines, contacts with electrical wiring and equipment and contacts with appliances and machinery. Among workers who are not employed as electrical workers, the primary cause of work-related electrocution accidents is contacting overhead power lines because of failing to stay far enough away from them; failing to protect the lines; and failing to de-energize them before working around them. Other workers may also suffer from electric shocks from using old extension cords and engaging in other unsafe workplace activities. Defective wiring in the workplace is also a leading cause of electric shocks among workers outside of the construction industry.

Work Related Electrocution Injuries

Coming into contact with electricity may cause injuries ranging from mild pain and discomfort to death. Some people who suffer from them may be left with permanent disabilities and be unable to return to their jobs. The injuries may include the following:

  • Brain injuries
  • Neurological injuries
  • Cardiac arrest or other heart problems
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Burns

When workers suffer from electrical shock, they may suffer several symptoms, including heart attacks, dizziness, unconsciousness, seizures, muscle pain, headaches or hearing loss. It is important for people who have suffered electric shocks at work to seek medical care immediately.

Workplace Electrical Hazards

In order to help prevent workplace injuries from electrical exposures, OSHA promulgates and enforces safety regulations that companies are required to follow. There are numerous hazards that may lead to electrical accidents in the workplace, including wet floors, defective wiring, overloaded circuits, downed power lines, exposed electrical parts and others. When companies violate these regulations, they place their workers at risk of suffering debilitating injuries or fatalities. No matter who was at fault in causing the accident, eligible workers may recover benefits from workers’ compensation when they have been injured on the job by electricity.

Recovering Benefits or Damages from Workplace Electrocution Accidents

Workers who suffer from electric shocks while they are on the job may file claims for benefits through their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance policies. Most employers in Indiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance so that workers who are injured may recover benefits for their injuries. Injured workers may recover benefits to pay for all of their related medical costs, including hospital care, medical appointments, rehabilitation, prosthetics and prescription expenses. If a worker is unable to return to work because the accident caused a disability, the worker may recover monthly benefits that pay for a percentage of his or her former income. Disability benefits through workers’ compensation may include those for partial or total and temporary or permanent disabilities.

In some cases, third parties may hold liability for workplace electrocution accidents under a theory of negligence. For example, if a worker is electrocuted by a defective piece of equipment, the parties that were involved in the chain of production may hold liability to pay damages to the injured worker or to the family members of workers who were killed. Families of workers who are killed in workplace accidents involving contacts with electricity may also recover benefits from the employers of their loved ones by filing workers’ compensation claims. The spouses of the workers may recover monthly benefits to replace a percentage of their loved ones’ incomes that were lost when they were killed in an electrical accident while working.

How an Attorney May Help

If you were injured at work in an accident involving contact with electricity, you may benefit by seeking help from an experienced attorney at Goodin Abernathy. Our attorneys may help you to recover the workers’ compensation benefits to which you should be entitled. If a third party is partly to blame for the accident, our attorneys may also file personal injury lawsuits against the third party in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. This may help you to maximize the amount of compensation that you might recover to help pay for the losses you have suffered from your electrocution accident.