When someone suffers an injury caused by another person’s negligence
or wrongdoing in Louisiana, they can file a
personal injury lawsuit in hopes to achieve compensation for what happened. When that injury is
so severe that it causes their death, the responsibility of holding the
accountable party liable falls upon family members instead, who must then file a
wrongful death lawsuit. A successful wrongful death claim will compensate the surviving family
members of the decedent – a legal term for the person who passed
away – by providing monies for burial costs, funeral expenses, and
the wages they should have accrued throughout their lifetime; they can
even receive nominal damages to compensate for their loss of companionship
and punitive damages to penalize the liable party for their careless actions.
But before you can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana, you must
if you can.
The People Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Although there are certainly plenty of people who are directly affected
by the death of a loved one, both emotionally and financially, not just
anyone can file a wrongful death case. Instead, Louisiana State legislation
mandates that only certain family members can create the lawsuit, and
that they only do so if a party with more priority does not exist to do so.
In numerical order based on who has the most priority, the people who can
file a wrongful death lawsuit are:
- Spouses or children
- Representatives of decedent’s estate
If there are no surviving family members and no one has been named to represent
or manage the decedent’s estate, there can be no wrongful death
claim. It is also worth noting that adopted family members are eligible
for filing but parents who had willfully abandoned the decedent do not.
Furthermore, there is only a brief
statute of limitations on wrongful death cases in Louisiana; if no claim is filed within the first
12 months after the decedent’s passing, virtually no claim for compensation
can be made at all, regardless of evidence of negligence or wrongdoing.
For more information about wrongful death cases in Louisiana, or if you
know you need to create one but aren’t sure how, you can call toll-free
888.492.5532 to reach Morris, Dewett & Savoie, LLC. Our Shreveport wrongful death
attorneys would be glad to explain your rights during an
initial consultation that explains how your case should be handled.