Learn about wrongful death cases in Louisiana. Explore the timeline for claims, who can file a lawsuit and the types of damages you can recover.
Losing a loved one suddenly is one of the most devastating experiences you can go through. Other than the emotional anguish of not being able to see your loved one, you may have to deal with issues like funeral costs and loss of companionship.
When another person’s negligence causes the death, feelings of confusion, anger, and helplessness may worsen the trauma. Because of this, wrongful death claims help victims’ loved ones seek compensation from the responsible party. Contact a New Orleans wrongful death attorney for legal counsel if you lost a loved one because of another person’s wrongful acts.
Before filing a lawsuit, you need to understand the core elements of a wrongful death claim under personal injury litigation. Read on to learn more about wrongful death claims in Louisiana.
How Long Does it Take to Settle Wrongful Death Cases in Louisiana?
The timeline for the settlement of wrongful death cases in Louisiana varies widely. Some cases settle quickly, while others take years to resolve. The time your case takes largely depends on how willing the defendant is to negotiate and whether your case must go to court.
Wrongful death lawsuits often settle before or during a trial based on the evidence. Consult an experienced attorney to eliminate bottlenecks through the compensation recovery process.
What Is Wrongful Death in Louisiana?
Wrongful death is a civil action brought by qualified survivors of a decedent against responsible parties that caused the death of a person. In Louisiana, wrongful death refers to when a person loses their life because of negligence or the wrongful acts of another individual or entity.
Wrongful death usually occurs when a person eligible for a personal injury claim dies. Qualified survivors of the decedent can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
You can bring a wrongful death action against a person or entity facing criminal charges for the incident. Although they may be found not guilty of criminal charges, the courts may find the person liable for wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana?
Local state law allows persons that suffer the loss of a loved one because of another’s negligence to seek fair compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Only some family members are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
You qualify to file a wrongful death claim if you are the deceased’s surviving parent, spouse, or child. If the deceased has no spouse, children, or parents, surviving siblings can file a claim. When no surviving family members exist, the deceased’s estate can bring the claim to court.
Louisiana state laws offer protections for blood and adopted relatives. But parents who abandoned their children during their childhood years may not be allowed to seek compensation.
If you are unsure whether you’re eligible to file such a claim, speak with a New Orleans wrongful death attorney.
Situations that Can Cause Wrongful Death
Many situations can cause wrongful death. You may be going about your daily activities when disaster strikes. Injuries after an accident may lead to fatalities. Most wrongful deaths in Louisiana arise from the following scenarios:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Workplace accidents
- Occupational hazards
- Criminal activity
All the above may be accidental or caused by gross negligence.
Wrongful Death Damages You May Seek
You are entitled to various damages after filing a wrongful death claim. They include:
These damages represent the monetary value of the loss suffered by the deceased person’s family. You must prove these damages using records such as bills and receipts.
Below are examples of economic losses:
- Burial expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Damaged property
Courts might award the money your spouse would have earned if they had survived.
Non-economic damages represent the non-tangible damages you may suffer due to an accident. They have no precise dollar value and include financial compensation for:
- Survivor anguish and grief
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of care
- Loss of guidance and emotional support
Although there is no universal cap on Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit damages, statutory limits on medical malpractice damages may apply in some cases. Consult a New Orleans wrongful death attorney for clarification.
In extreme cases of wrongdoing or negligence, courts may award punitive damages for a wrongful death claim. These damages are usually a punishment for the defendant or deterrents against future misconduct. You may receive punitive damages if the negligent party grossly neglected their duty of care, causing death.
Statute of Limitations
Time is of the essence in wrongful death claims. You have one year from the date of death to file a claim. Failure to meet this time limit may prevent you from collecting damages. Waiting to file a wrongful death claim only weakens your case. It may prove challenging to trace witnesses months after an accident.
Proving Wrongful Death
Like personal injury cases, you must prove four core elements to show liability.
- Negligence – You must show that the death occurred because of negligent, reckless, or careless actions by the defendant.
- Breach of Duty – You must prove that the defendant owed the deceased person a duty of care and that the defendant breached this duty of care.
- Causation – Plaintiffs must demonstrate that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the victim’s death.
- Financial Damages – You must show that the death of a loved one generated quantifiable damages.
Proving the points above in court needs strong and compelling evidence, often requiring testimony from witnesses. New Orleans wrongful death attorneys will help build a strong case to prove your claim.
How Louisiana Wrongful Death Lawyers Help Your Case
Legal representation is crucial when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. With extensive experience, a wrongful death attorney in Louisiana will help you pursue justice on your behalf. They thoroughly investigate your loved one’s fatal accident and examine all the facts to establish liability and calculate damages.
Wrongful death attorneys in Louisiana handle all paperwork for your case and explain your legal rights. They’ll keep you updated on case developments and ensure deadlines like the statute of limitations are met.
Attorneys also correspond with legal representatives and insurance companies involved in your case. Finally, they negotiate fair settlements on your behalf and present your case at trial if negotiations fail.
Call a Wrongful Death Attorney in Louisiana
After the death of a loved one in an accident, you could experience grief and frustrations. If another person or party caused the death, you deserve answers and compensation for the loss after the death.
Get in touch with our experienced New Orleans wrongful death lawyers to see if we can help you.