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Does wrongful death law apply to unmarried persons?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2023 | Wrongful Death |

When someone acts recklessly, it can cause someone to become seriously hurt and perhaps even die. This is why Indiana law includes wrongful death provisions to help surviving family members pursue damages. However, you may wonder if wrongful death laws apply to unmarried people.

Not everyone who dies due to negligent actions has a spouse, dependents or is the dependent of someone else. Still, a deceased person who is not in a marital relationship may have surviving relatives who can make a wrongful death claim.

Establishing damages

The Indiana Adult Wrongful Death Act allows for the personal representative of an unmarried adult to take legal action against a negligent person or other party. Damages can include the following:

  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial costs

In addition, the estate of the deceased person may try to recoup attorney fees and other costs from the wrongful death suit. However, the law does not allow for the recovery of punitive damages or damages related to grief.

Establishing a relationship

Under state law, a parent or child of a deceased unmarried person can pursue damages. However, the law will only qualify family members who had an ongoing relationship with the decedent and the relationship was legitimate and substantial.

Proving a strong familial relationship may be one of the more emotionally trying parts of pursuing a wrongful death suit. Still, making sure a judge or jury believes that you had a genuine connection to your loved one could make the difference in securing damages and finding closure during your difficult time.