The death of a family member is one of the most trying experiences a person can endure. While grieving for the loss of a loved one is difficult enough, the circumstances are harsher when the loss puts financial strain on the survivors.
Worse yet is when survivors must accept the fact that this loss was preventable. Whether through negligence or intentional misconduct, the truth is that bad actions by another party can lead to the death of a loved one, leaving survivors to pick up the pieces emotionally and financially.
If you’ve lost a loved one in this way, know that the law provides you with an avenue for pursuing compensation from the at-fault party through a wrongful death claim. While money cannot bring back those that we’ve lost, it can, however, ensure that survivors need not worry about bills or expenses, and can ensure that bad actors are held accountable for the consequences of their wrongful actions or inaction.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Louisiana?
A wide variety of scenarios could provide a valid claim for wrongful death in Louisiana. Your Louisiana wrongful death attorney may be able to seek compensation if you lost a loved one due to:
We all trust our healthcare providers to treat us with respect, compassion, and professionalism. Unfortunately, not all providers rise to this standard, and serious harm to patients can result. If a medical provider improperly treated or diagnosed your loved one, leading to their death, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
One of the leading causes of death in Louisiana and across the United States, an automobile collision puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike all at serious risk. In particular, accidents involving large vehicles like semi-trucks have a substantially higher fatality rate. If your loved one was killed in an auto accident, you may be able to secure compensation through a wrongful death claim.
While many of us think of places like construction sites as the most common contributors to workplace deaths, the truth is that workers in virtually any profession could suffer serious injury. Construction workers, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, landscapers, farmers, and ranchers are some of the most common professions where we see a high rate of workplace fatality. If you lost a loved one while they were on the job, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate.
Defective and Dangerous Products
Product manufacturers and retailers must ensure that the goods they sell are safe and free from unreasonable risks to the user. Unfortunately, as the litany of class action lawsuits in recent years can attest, many companies prefer to put profits before customer safety.
Household products, tools, appliances, furniture, or vehicles can all cause serious injury or death if the product is improperly designed or manufactured. When these defects cause the death of a loved one, you deserve compensation for your loss through a wrongful death claim.
Am I Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana?
Under Louisiana law, several individuals may qualify to file a wrongful death claim. Generally, your attorney may be able to pursue a claim if you lose a child, spouse, or parent, and in some cases, a sibling or grandchild.
The law governing who is capable of pursuing a claim can be complex, however, and certain family arrangements may make it unclear whether a wrongful death claim will be permitted. Your Louisiana wrongful death lawyer will be able to help you understand your options, and whether a wrongful death claim is appropriate in your case.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive From a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana?
The most common source of compensation in wrongful death claims is called economic damages. Economic damages constitute the financial losses that have a clear value, like:
- Income earned by the decedent that is no longer available after their death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses related to the accident or injury that caused death
- Benefits lost due to the death of a loved one, such as pensions or health coverage
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, involve damages like pain and suffering that are less easy to directly quantify.
Your Louisiana wrongful death attorney can help you understand your options, and identify any and all sources of potential compensation pursuant to your wrongful death claim.
What Must I Prove to Settle a Wrongful Death Claim?
While some wrongful death claims arise from intentional actions (such as crimes against the person), many are based on the theory of negligence. In order to establish negligence in a Louisiana court, your attorney must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one;
- The defendant breached this duty of care; and
- This breach caused the death of your loved one.
Negligence can be found in almost any scenario.
For example, if a drunk driver kills another person in an accident caused by their inebriation, it is likely they violated their duty of care to operate their vehicle in a safe and responsible manner, and could be held liable under a wrongful death claim.
This same duty of care extends to, for example, landlords that fail to maintain a safe rental, business owners that fail to secure their premises against unreasonable safety hazards, or medical professionals that do not mean the requisite standard of professional care and cause the death of a patient.
I Recently Lost a Loved One. What Do I Do Next?
First and foremost, take care of yourself and your family. The death of a loved one is never easy, but preventable deaths in particular can result in an array of volatile emotions. Anger, fear, anxiety, frustration, and depression are all understandable, and it is now more important than ever to prioritize self-care for you and your loved one.
While you focus on your own wellness, you should not need to burden yourself with the complexities of pursuing a wrongful death claim. This is why an experienced, compassionate, and trustworthy Louisiana wrongful death attorney can be your most valuable asset during this trying time, working tirelessly to secure you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve, while you focus on what really matters.