Louisiana Wrongful Death Attorney

Suing for a loved one’s death can be stressful and complex.  it is not expected that you know how to proceed after a loved one’s accidental death, and you should always seek the help of an experienced Louisiana wrongful death attorney.

Your wrongful death lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the responsible parties to help you get compensation for your loved one’s death.  While no amount of money can ever replace the deceased, you could be entitled to damages that can help your family keep going after a loss.

For help with your case, call (225) 269-8930 today.  the Louisiana wrongful death attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras are available to help with your case, and we offer free case reviews.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana?

After a loved one dies, there are two types of lawsuits you can file to seek compensation for their death.  the first is a “survival action,” authorized under Louisiana Civil Code § 2315.1.  This allows you to continue the lawsuit that your loved one might have been able to file if they had survived the accident.  Additionally, you can file a “wrongful death” lawsuit under Louisiana Civil Code § 2315.2 for the damages you face as a surviving family member.

These laws authorize the same parties to file the lawsuit: surviving members of the deceased’s family.  However, this list is specific, and you can only file the lawsuit if the previous tier of family members does not exist (or has already passed away themselves).

List of Family Who Can Sue

The first preference for filing these claims goes to the deceased’s spouse or children.  If there are no children or spouses to file, then the deceased’s parents can file instead.  If the victim died with no living parents, then their siblings can file instead – and if they had no siblings, then their grandparents can file.  For purposes of these rules, an adoptive family member counts the same as a blood relative (e.g., an adoptive brother counts the same as any other sibling would).  However, a parent who abandoned the deceased does not count, and they can be skipped in the line of who gets to file the claim.

Other People Who Can Sue

If there is no surviving family from this list, then the survival action can be filed by the deceased’s representative – a person named in their will or appointed by the courts.  This allows other beneficiaries (e.g., a girlfriend or nephews named in the will) to inherit the benefits of a survival action if there are no spouses, children, parents, siblings, or grandparents.

While the survival action can pass down to other family members outside of the listed relations, the wrongful death claim cannot.  If the only surviving loved ones have a more distant relation (e.g., cousins or nieces/nephews) or include unmarried partners (e.g., a boyfriend/girlfriend or fiancé/fiancée), then they are not able to claim damages for themselves after the death of a loved one.  This is true even if you relied upon the deceased for financial support.  However, you should still speak to a Louisiana wrongful death lawyer about filing a survival action.

Damages Available in a Louisiana Wrongful Death Case

Survival and wrongful death actions are designed to pay two different areas of damages.  Your Louisiana wrongful death lawyers can, in many cases, file both lawsuits and help you collect all the costs you are entitled to claim.

In a survival action, the surviving family sues for the damages the deceased would have been able to claim if this were an injury case instead of a wrongful death case.  That allows them to claim damages for the injuries the deceased faced and the time they lingered before dying.  This can often include medical bills, pain and suffering, and potentially even lost wages (if they lingered for a substantial period of time).

A wrongful death lawsuit pays damages directly to the surviving family members for the harms they faced themselves.  These harms will vary from person to person.  For example, a spouse will face lost spousal services, lost income, lost household services, and many more damages.  Contrast this with a child who will face lost care, lost affection, lost counsel, lost income, and other damages.  A parent will not typically face those same damages unless the child supports and cares for the parent.  the same is true for siblings and grandparents, who often have much more limited areas of damages they can claim.

Talk to an attorney about what damages you can claim in your specific case.  the damages in any injury or wrongful death lawsuit are often very specific to the situation at hand and can vary from case to case.  Your Louisiana wrongful death lawyers can go over your financial situation and help you determine what economic damages are available as well as what non-economic damages might apply.

How Long Do You Have to File for Wrongful Death in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, the deadline for filing an injury case or wrongful death lawsuit is very short: 1 year.  the deadline for a wrongful death case is governed by the “liberative prescription” for “delictual action” (essentially the same as what other states call the “statute of limitations” for tort/“personal injury” claims).  This law creates a 1-year filing deadline for the wrongful death claim, measured from the date the injury happened.  A rule that might create some odd results is that the survival action must be filed within 1 year of the date of death, according to § 2315.1(A).

Sometimes these filing deadlines can have confusing results, so you should always speak with a Louisiana wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can to begin the case and plan for any potential filing issues.

Call Our Louisiana Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

For help filing a wrongful death lawsuit and getting justice for a loved one’s death, call our Louisiana wrongful death lawyers.  Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (225) 269-8930 right away to get started with a free case evaluation.