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When can a car accident lead to a wrongful death lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | car accidents

Coping with a loved one’s sudden death is never easy. The pain becomes unbearable if you learn that the decedent’s death was caused by another person’s negligent and unlawful actions. 

One of the leading causes of death is car crashes. But not all fatal car accidents qualify for wrongful death claims. So when can you sue for wrongful death following a car wreck?

Understanding wrongful death and car wrecks

When a loved one succumbs to the injuries they sustained following the car crash, the responsible driver would be held liable for their death. Here are driver behaviors that can lead to a fatal car crash and, thus, a wrongful death claim:

  • If they were driving under the influence of alcohol
  • If they changed lanes without notifying other road users
  • If they made an illegal turn
  • If they were knowingly driving a defective vehicle
  • If they were driving beyond the designated speed limits

Most of these driver behaviors are also criminal in nature. As such, the defendant may face criminal and civil charges concurrently. 

How much time do you have to pursue damages following a loved one’s wrongful death?

A loved one’s untimely death can leave you confused and devastated. It is understandably difficult to think straight during the grieving period. However, it is important to understand that time is of the essence if you intend to pursue the liable party for the resulting damages. And this is where the statute of limitations comes in. In Indiana, you have up to two years from the date of the victim’s wrongful death to file your claim. It is important that you act within this timeframe. 

Protecting your interests

Every motorist has a duty of care towards other road users. If they breach this duty, leading to wrongful death, you may hold them to account for their actions. Learning more about Indiana car accident laws can help you protect your rights and interests when filing a wrongful death lawsuit.