A fatal accident can happen at any moment, leading to a loved one’s untimely death. While some accidents are simply a chain of unfortunate circumstances, in many cases a person’s death is caused by a negligent party. This responsible party can be a driver, a property or store owner, a doctor or the victim’s employer. When tragedy strikes, you may not be able to think about much more beyond your grief. However, we urge you to contact an experienced New Orleans wrongful death attorney from Wright & Gray law firm as soon as possible.
Your loved one’s death left an irreplaceable void in your life, and nobody can ever claim to be able to compensate you for this. However, you are also left with the financial burden of funeral expenses, and medical bills (if the victim was treated in hospital prior to their death). Also, if the deceased person was the main breadwinner in your family, you have also lost a reliable source of income. All these are economic losses, which an experienced wrongful death attorney can help recover on your behalf from the at-fault party.
What You Need to Know About Filing a New Orleans Wrongful Death Claim
First of all, it is important to note that it is not necessary for law enforcement authorities to file a criminal charge against the responsible party to have the right to seek wrongful death compensation. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action and is circumscribed to personal injury matters.
Thus, you do not have to prove that the type of accident resulting in your loved one’s death was caused by the malicious intent of the party responsible. Just like in the case of personal injury claims, you need to prove that:
- the fault party owed a duty of care to the victim
- they breached their duty, causing the victim’s fatal car accident (or another type of accident)
- the victim lost their life as a result of the accident
- their death caused you economic damages
The existence of neglience in causing the accident has an influence, however, on the final wrongful death settlement the family may collect. Here is how.
The Comparative Fault Principle Applies to Wrongful Death Suits
Your wrongful death attorney will explain that the principle of comparative fault applicable to a personal injury lawsuit also applies in your case. If the deceased person was also partly responsible for the accident, the actual financial compensation that the family may receive will be reduced by the deceased person’s percentage of fault.
The exception to this rule is when the liable party acted with negligence in causing the other person’s death. In this case, the family will collect the entire amount of wrongful death damages, irrespective of the victim’s proportion of fault. For example, if a person did not fill a prescription after surgery, but it is found that the surgeon operated on them while under influence of alcohol, the fact that the wrongful death victim failed to take prescribed medication shall not reduce the family’s actual settlement award.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Actions
We have already mentioned that the wrongful death claim or lawsuit does not depend on the existence of a criminal case against the liable party. Personal injury attorneys know that, in many cases, criminal action will not be brought against the responsible party for their negligent actions.
This does not affect the deceased family’s right to seek compensation for the loss of their primary source of income, for burial expenses, as well as for the mental anguish and emotional trauma of losing a loved one. Thus, a wrongful death action can be brought if the victim died as a result of a:
- pedestrian accident
- motor vehicle accident
- motorcycle accident
- bicycle accident
- construction accident
- workplace accident
- medical malpractice
- nursing home abuse or neglect
- defective product
In each case, an experienced New Orleans wrongful death attorney will pursue not only the person who is directly responsible but also any additional parties or any entity responsible, even indirectly, for your loved one’s untimely death.
For example, an attorney with extensive experience knows that in a defective product accident, the product manufacturer, distributor, and seller of the dangerous product are liable parties in your claim for compensation. Also, in the case of an 18-wheeler accident, the trucking company is liable for their employee’s actions (i.e., the truck driver).
Who Has the Right to Initiate a Claims Process?
The Civil Code of Louisiana 2315.2 defines all the eligible parties who can file an accidental death lawsuit and seek financial compensation are:
- the surviving spouse and child or children
- the surviving parents, if the deceased person left no spouse or children
- the surviving siblings, if there are no living parents, spouse, or children
- the surviving grandparents, in the absence of living siblings, parents, spouse, or children
It is important to remember that the time period for taking legal actions is one year from the date of death (the wrongful death statute of limitations).
Types of Damages You May Seek in a New Orleans Wrongful Death Claim
Your New Orleans wrongful death attorney will seek the maximum compensation allowed by law for economic and non-economic damages caused by the negligent party.
The economic damages include:
- medical expenses
- burial costs
- funeral costs
- loss of wages
- loss of household services
Non-economic damages cannot compensate you for the profound grief you are experiencing. However, the law recognizes that the party accountable for your loved one’s death should compensate you for:
- loss of companionship
- loss of consortium
- loss of guidance and emotional support
Reach Out to an Experienced and Compassionate New Orleans Wrongful Death Attorney
We know that in this difficult time, you cannot think about all the implications of your loved one’s death, including the financial hardships for your family. This is the job of a New Orleans wrongful death attorney at Wright & Gray. We will allow you to pass through this time of grief with a sense of justice – that the responsible party does not walk away free of consequences after causing another person’s death as a result of their negligence.
We will pursue them to the full extent of the law for the fair compensation they owe you and your family. Also, we will not charge you any fees out-of-pocket. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we will take our fees out of the settlement after we win your case.
Do not forget that there is a time limit of only 1 (one) year since your loved one’s death to take legal action, so schedule an initial appointment with us as soon as possible: 888-912-4944!