What You Need to Know About Louisiana’s Wrongful Death Law

Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating events you will ever experience. As difficult as this is, the death of a loved one is even more heart-wrenching when they die due to someone else’s actions or negligence. You can’t help but think that had the other party acted responsibly, your loved one would still be alive.

Did you know that you can hold that other party accountable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit? A wrongful death lawsuit is one way for you to honor your loved one’s life while also recovering compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The personal injury attorneys at Herrin Kervin will advocate for those lost due to wrongful death and are here to help you with your case.

Wrongful Death In Louisiana

Each state has its own laws governing wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim allows a deceased person’s survivors or estate to file a lawsuit on their behalf if the death was caused by an accident or another party’s intentional action. In Louisiana, a “wrongful death” occurs when “a person dies due to the fault of another.”

Another human being or an entity such as a corporation can cause a wrongful death. Wrongful death can result from:

  • Negligence
  • Medical malpractice
  • Intentional act

A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury lawsuit. Because the injured person cannot bring the claim due to their death, surviving family members must bring the case to court and seek damages on their behalf. At Herrin Kervin Injury Attorneys, we will work with you to determine if you have a valid claim and walk you through every step of the process. You don’t have to go through this alone; we are here to help.

What’s the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Homicide Prosecution?

A wrongful death claim is a civil action in which the defendant’s potential liability is strictly financial. If the case is successful, the court will order the defendant to pay damages to the person or persons who file the case on behalf of the deceased. A homicide prosecution, on the other hand, is a criminal case that can result in jail time.

Additionally, in a criminal proceeding, the defendant must be shown to have committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in a civil lawsuit such as a wrongful death claim, the defendant’s liability is determined based on the “preponderance of the evidence,” which means you must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for the death of the deceased. It is a much easier burden of proof to satisfy.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The surviving spouse and children (or either the spouse or children)
  • The surviving parents, if there are no surviving spouses or children
  • The surviving siblings, if there are no surviving parents
  • The surviving grandparents, if there are no surviving siblings

If a family member is related to the deceased through adoption, that family member may file a wrongful death claim just as those related by blood or marriage may. If a parent abandoned the deceased before their death, that parent cannot file a wrongful death claim and is treated as if the parent died before the deceased person.

What Damages Are Available?

In a wrongful death claim, damages are intended to compensate the surviving family members for the injured person’s death. In Louisiana, a successful wrongful death claim can result in both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages can include:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Past lost wages
  • Future lost wages
  • Physical pain and suffering caused to the deceased
  • Loss of love and affection

Damages can help with the financial recovery caused by the loss of a loved one. Additionally, damages help to get justice for wrongful death.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Every state has a statute of limitations that specifies how much time survivors have to file a wrongful death claim. In Louisiana, surviving family members have one year from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim. If you don’t file the lawsuit within a year, you will very likely lose your right to file a wrongful death claim.

If you are thinking of filing a wrongful death claim, contact us at Herrin Kervin Injury Attorneys. We will personally sit down with you to discuss your case at no cost to you since we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never pay attorneys’ fees unless you receive a favorable legal judgment and compensation. Ever! If you cannot travel to our office, we will travel to your home or schedule a Zoom video meeting. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult. Let our personal injury attorneys do what we do best to ensure you receive justice and compensation if your loved one suffered a wrongful death. Contact us at Herrin Kervin Injury Attorneys at (985) 807-1792 or complete our online form to schedule your consultation.

Copyright© 2021. Herrin Kervin Injury Attorneys. All Rights Reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Gordon T. Herrin
Herrin Kervin Injury Attorneys
1978 N Hwy 190, Suite A
Covington, LA 70433
(985) 807-1792

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