Experienced Indianapolis Wrongful Death Defense Attorneys
Indianapolis law firm represents those accused of fatal torts
If you are facing a wrongful death lawsuit, you have most likely been accused of some form of negligence that caused or contributed to the decedent’s untimely death. While the situation might seem dire at the outset, there are several defense strategies that we can draw upon to support you in challenging the lawsuit against you or your company.
At Stephenson Morow & Semler, P.C., we provide skilled legal counsel for those who find themselves defending against a wrongful death claim. We understand the anguish surrounding the claim of wrongful death. We put our experience with IN law into practice on your behalf in protecting your interests.
Proving negligence in a wrongful death action
In order for you to be held responsible for the wrongful death of another, the plaintiff must prove that the decedent’s death was caused by your wrongful or negligent actions. They must also prove that you, the defendant, owed a duty of “due care” to the decedent, and if that duty can be established, then a breach of that duty must be proved. The plaintiff must then prove a direct line of causation from your actions to the decedent’s death in such a way that the death would not have occurred if you had not taken the action. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that there were damages suffered by the decedent.
Defenses against wrongful death
Some of the available defenses against wrongful death include the following:
- Statutes of limitation. A wrongful death action must be brought within a specified period which varies according to the jurisdiction.
- Comparative fault. This principle applies, in certain jurisdictions, when the actions of the decedent either caused or contributed to their death.
- Imputed comparative fault. Refers to the actions of one of the beneficiaries that may have contributed to or caused the decedent’s death. Depending on the jurisdiction, imputed comparative fault can have an impact on which beneficiaries can recover damages.
- Contributory negligence. In jurisdictions that recognize contributory negligence, it precludes the surviving beneficiaries from recovering damages if the decedent’s actions contributed to their death.
- Release agreement. If the decedent has signed a release form prior to participating in a sporting event or any other activity with any level of inhering danger, this can be used as a defense against a wrongful death claim. However, depending on state law, a release does not always bar beneficiaries from bringing a wrongful death action.
- Assumption of risk. When the decedent was fully aware of the risks associated with their conduct, the defendant might be able to prove that the decedent knew of the dangerous consequences of their actions.
At Stephenson Morow & Semler, P.C. we have the experience to handle wrongful death investigations and can advise you on the most appropriate course of action when you are facing a wrongful death action.