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Indiana Wrongful Death Laws

Death is a natural part of the life cycle. While the optimal way to go for some is simply dying of old age, there are situations where a person loses their life in an untimely and unexpected way. Simply put, dying because of someone else’s negligence or criminal activity is usually not part of our life plan and there are laws in place to protect the surviving family members when this occurs. Known as “wrongful death laws,” these statues are in place when a person dies from wrongful conduct of another person or entity.

The law certainly can’t bring back the person you love, but it can help ease some of the monetary suffering you may be experiencing as a result. Below you will find useful information on Indiana’s wrongful death laws, including a road map to who can file a lawsuit, the time limit to file, and more.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim?

As discussed in the chart below, Indiana has three distinct statutes for situations involving wrongful death. But who can file that lawsuit is another story. A wrongful death action, obviously, can’t be filed by the deceased person. A personal representative of the existing estate of the deceased will technically be the one to file the wrongful death claim and the family members become the beneficiaries of the estate.

In other words, the personal representative files the lawsuit; and if they are victorious on the claim, the family members will collect with the court deciding how to split up the damages amongst them. If you are the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, you can bring a wrongful death claim in Indiana against the wrong-doer.

Indiana Wrongful Death Laws: The Basics

Below you will find relevant details about Indiana wrongful death laws. Keep in mind, Indiana has rather specific requirements to both file and recover in a wrongful death context. You should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible if you have specific questions about your matter.


Wrongful Death Act, General Wrongful Death Statute: Indiana Code 34-23-1-1 (Applies to adults with spouses or dependents)

Adult Wrongful Death Act: Indiana Code 34-23-1-2 (Applies to unmarried adults without dependents)

Child Wrongful Death Act: Indiana Code 34-23-2-1

Who May Bring a Lawsuit

  • Spouse
  • Children, including adopted children
  • Surviving parents (Both parents must file if the child was a minor at the time of the wrongful death incident).


The following damages may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit. Keep in mind, Indiana law does not allow recovery for grief or pain and suffering in most cases. There is also a damages limit or cap at $300,000 for unmarried adults.

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived, and
  • Costs of pursuing the wrongful death claim including reasonable attorney’s fees


Statute of Limitations

Typically two years from the date of death, Indiana Code 34-11-2-4

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Indiana Wrongful Death Laws: Related Resources

Ask an Attorney about Indiana Wrongful Death Laws

Managing the grief that goes along with losing a spouse or child is hard enough as it is. Trying to maneuver the legal system to receive compensation that you believe you rightfully deserve is another. The good news is that you don’t have to tackle this battle alone. If you have a wrongful death claim, seek out the experience and wisdom of an Indiana wrongful death attorney today.

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