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Your Guide to Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Louisiana


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Filing a wrongful death case in Louisiana presents a path for families to seek justice and compensation for the loss of a loved one due to another’s negligence or wrongful actions. Though no sum of money can replace the person lost, achieving a financial settlement can provide essential support for the bereaved family, helping to alleviate the economic burdens incurred by their sudden loss.

Who Can Make a Claim?

In Louisiana, the law specifies which relatives or estate representatives can file a wrongful death claim. This typically includes the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, or grandparents in a defined order of priority if the preceding relative is not alive.

The Difference Between Wrongful Death Claims and a Survival Action

Understanding the distinction between a wrongful death claim and a survival action is crucial. While wrongful death claims seek compensation for the losses experienced by the decedent’s relatives, survival actions are pursued on behalf of the deceased’s estate for damages the decedent could have claimed had he or she lived.

Damages Covered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can encompass both economic and non-economic losses, including funeral and burial costs, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering of the deceased before they died, and loss of companionship for the surviving relatives.

How to Establish a Pecuniary Loss

Establishing pecuniary loss involves quantifying the financial contribution the deceased would have made to their family had they not died. This can include future earnings, benefits, and the value of services they would have provided.

Adjustments that May Arise

During the lawsuit, several adjustments may be necessary to accurately reflect the claim’s value, considering factors like inflation, changes in law, or new evidence regarding the decedent’s potential lifetime earnings.

Using Expert Testimony

Expert witnesses, such as economists, medical professionals, and accident reconstruction analysts, can provide critical testimony to support claims regarding the cause of death, the financial impact on the family, and the extent of losses suffered.

Punitive Damages

In certain cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behaviour and deter similar conduct in the future. However, these are not applicable in all wrongful death cases.

Who Can File?

As mentioned, the eligibility to file a wrongful death claim in Louisiana is legally defined, prioritizing close relatives but also allowing for estate representatives to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

How to File

Filing a wrongful death claim involves submitting the necessary legal documents to the appropriate court. This process is complex and requires adherence to specific procedural rules.

How to Win

Winning a wrongful death case hinges on proving that the defendant’s negligence directly resulted in the loved one’s death and that the survivors have suffered measurable damages as a result.

What is a “Duty”?

Establishing a defendant’s duty is a cornerstone of a wrongful death claim. This involves proving that the defendant owed a legal obligation to the deceased to act (or not act) in a way that could prevent harm.

Settlement vs. Lawsuit

Deciding whether to settle out of court or proceed to trial involves weighing the guaranteed outcome of a settlement against the potential for a higher award through litigation, balanced against the time, cost, and emotional toll of a trial.

How Soon Should I File?

Louisiana law imposes strict deadlines for filing wrongful death claims. Typically, claims must be filed within one year of the death to be considered valid.

Louisiana wrongful death lawyer

Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here to Help

The journey through a wrongful death claim is fraught with legal complexities and emotional challenges. At Broussard Injury Lawyers, our dedicated team specializes in wrongful death cases, providing compassionate support and experienced legal representation to navigate this difficult time.

If you’re seeking justice for the loss of a loved one, contact us today. Our wrongful death lawyers in Louisiana are committed to helping you secure the compensation and closure you deserve.

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