While each state has its own set of laws governing wrongful death claims, in this article, we will look at Louisiana's definition of a wrongful death claim, and who can bring this type of lawsuit to one of Louisiana’s district courts. We will also cover damages available in a wrongful death case as well as discuss the time limits that affect these claims.
A wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation when "a person dies as the result of another’s fault," according to Section 2512.2 of the Louisiana Civil Code. A wrongful death claim can be the result of wrongdoing by an entity or an individual. A wrongful death may be caused by purposeful action or an accident. In other words, wrongful death can range from intentional conduct to negligence or recklessness.
A wrongful death claim is often the surviving family member's only recourse for the untimely death of a loved one.
Eligibility for Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Louisiana?
State law establishes specific categories of persons who can bring a wrongful death claim to court when an injury is fatal. The following parties are entitled to file a wrongful death claim:
In addition, adopted family members in the categories listed above may file a wrongful death claim. If no surviving family members exist to bring a wrongful death claim, a deceased person's estate could potentially bring a wrongful death claim to court.
If a parent is determined to have abandoned the deceased person during his or her childhood, that parent cannot file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim may, in some instances, also include a criminal lawsuit filed by the district attorney's office. In cases where the at-fault driver is found to be driving recklessly or impaired, the D.A. Office may file homicide charges against the at-fault driver.
A criminal case does not preclude the filing of a wrongful death claim, but the surviving family should understand the differences between these two categories of claim. The prosecutor’s office will file a criminal case, while it is up to the surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim. In a criminal wrongful death case, the fault is punished with penalties such as probation, fines, or confinement or prison time. In contrast, in a wrongful death case, liability is conveyed solely in terms of monetary damages. For further clarification, we encourage you to speak to a Louisiana wrongful death attorney about how the two classifications of cases can influence each other.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Reparations (Damages) in a wrongful death claim can include noneconomic and economic losses. Economic losses include specific, measurable losses, including:
Non-economic losses include losses suffered due to a wrongful death that cannot be verified with a receipt or bill. The non-economic losses that can be addressed in a wrongful death claim include:
Surviving family members of the deceased should seek both economic and noneconomic damages when filing a wrongful death claim. If surviving family members are not capable of bringing the claim to court, an executor or representative of the deceased person's estate can bring a claim to seek economic damages for the losses suffered by the estate.
Statute of Limitation (Time Limit) for Filing a Louisiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations in Louisiana for wrongful death claim is one year starting from the date of the death. You must file a wrongful death claim by this deadline to ensure your case will be recognized. Contact our Lake Charles Louisiana wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation on your claim.
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