How to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Posted in: Wrongful Death | Aug 18,2021


Wrongful death occurs when a loved one dies due to the reckless, negligent or deliberate actions of another. The surviving members of the family may have claims to monetary damages against the other party if they can show a direct and measurable financial impact related to the untimely loss of their loved one. Common types of wrongful death cases include: vehicle/truck accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home patient abuse or neglect, property neglect, and worker’s compensation. For those who will file a wrongful death claim, it’s helpful to know the answer to one of the most common questions of how to file a wrongful death claim, so what follows is how to file a wrongful death claim in six steps.


Step One: Establish Grounds

This may be a visceral and unquestioned aspect of your case—establishing that the loved ones’ death occurred at the fault of another and that you and other family members are entitled to compensation. Knowing what wrongful death is and deciding to reach out to a lawyer is that first critical step for the deceased’s family members. Get a free case evaluation.


Step Two: Case Preparation

Depending on the state of residence, you may need to set up an estate for the deceased. This usually takes place at the county courthouse of his/her last residence. Your attorney and any necessary experts will conduct an investigation into the facts of the case. After identifying or verifying the responsible parties, your attorney will contact the responsible party or parties and notify them of the intention to file suit.


Step Three: Negotiation

In many cases, the defendant will seek to settle the matter out of court. This can be a good option for both parties as it can eliminate some of the risks associated with a court case. Your Montross Miller attorney understands the risks associated with pursuing a court case and will help you in this evaluation.


Step Four: Settle

Montross Miller are Indianapolis attorneys skilled in negotiation work. We work in close consultation with you to finalize the terms of a settlement after successful negotiations. If a fair settlement is not reached, a decision is made whether or not to file a wrongful death suit. It’s worth noting that negotiations may be re-engaged during steps five and six.


Step Five: File Suit

Your attorney will file a Complaint or Writ of Summons through the court that names the defendants and establishes a case in the court system.


Step Six: Litigation

As mentioned, negotiations can continue through this phase which includes pre-trial, trial and/or arbitration. Throughout the process, Montross Miller attorneys are conducting discovery, conducting interviews, engaging witnesses, requesting documentation and more. Litigation continues until the trial ends and a verdict is reached. Based on the verdict, a monetary award is designated.


We recognize the far-reaching emotional toll and impact the sudden loss of a family member can have, and we treat your case with the utmost level of care and concern. When you speak to a Montross Miller representative, you are speaking to an experienced attorney. In advising clients on a path forward, we evaluate each case individually and speak with honesty and directness, backed by experience. At this point, you may be wondering if you have a case and if so, what a successful case or favorable verdict looks like. Each case is different, but to get a sense of what some Montross Miller clients have experienced, we have compiled case results for your review.