What Happens to a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana When the Plaintiff Dies from an Unrelated Cause?
William Bill Hurst – Your Indiana Lawyer
Imagine you have just survived a harrowing car accident; you were sitting at a stop light when out of nowhere a drunken teenager driving an SUV came careening through the red light and into your car. The car was totaled but, aside from a broken arm and a few cracked ribs, you miraculously survived the day. Though you are alive, you still have medical expenses and a totaled car that needs to be replaced. Wisely, you decide to hire an Indiana drunk driving attorney to get you the money you need to get healthy and replace your car. Now imagine, three weeks after surviving the ordeal, you are out celebrating the beginning of your recovery with a nice steak dinner. Unfortunately you don’t chew your food well enough and a piece of steak gets caught in your throat and you choke and die. What happens to your legal case against the drunken teenager that hit you!?
Indiana Injury Survival Law
In the old days (pre-1998) any cause of action against the drunk driver would have been dropped due to the death of the one bringing the case and the fact that the death was unrelated to the original accident. In 1998 the Indiana Legislature passed the “Indiana Survival Statute” (IC 34-9-3). This statute made it possible for the dead person’s (“decedent”) personal representative to continue the case, even though the original victim was gone. According to section 4 of the statute, a personal representative can “maintain an action against the wrongdoer to recover all damages resulting before the date of the death for those injuries that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived.” All money recovered then goes to the decedent’s estate. This unfortunate situation happens particularly often to elders involved in accidents, who are often sick to begin with and die from causes that cannot be directly linked to the accident.
Seek Help from an Experienced Attorney
If you have a loved one who has died from causes unrelated to an accident before they could be fully compensated, contact the injury attorneys at the Indianapolis law office of William “Bill” Hurst or call us toll free at 1(800)636-0808 for a free consultation. We have more than 35 years of experience helping victims and their families get results and fair financial compensation for their personal injuries.¡Hablamos Español!