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Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death Damages in Louisiana?

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 first ask 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:

  1. Spouses or children
  2. Parents
  3. Siblings
  4. Grandparents
  5. 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 one year 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 Injury Lawyers. Our Shreveport wrongful death attorneys would be glad to explain your rights during an initial consultation that explains how your case should be handled.