Wrongful Death

Representing Louisiana Families in Wrongful Death Actions

The unexpected death of a loved one is one of the most devastating events any person can go through. When a life has been taken because of someone else’s negligence or intentional misconduct, the pain and suffering is much worse.

In recognition of the economic losses as well as the emotional pain that occur with the death of a family member, the state of Louisiana allows certain family members to seek compensation if a loved one has died due to the fault of another.

The Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm assists families in Louisiana who are dealing with the unjust death of a relative. We can help you seek compensation for your losses associated with the death of a family member due to another person’s carelessness, recklessness, criminal intention or other fault in:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Maritime accidents
  • Industrial accidents
  • Dangerous medical products

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To file a wrongful death claim, a plaintiff must have the right to sue. Under Louisiana law this right is provided to certain family members who are survivors of the deceased. They include the:

Survivors include adoptive parents, grandparents and siblings, but a mother or father who abandoned the deceased when the deceased was a minor (younger than 18 years old) is not considered a survivor of the child. Any family member convicted or otherwise judged to be involved in the unlawful death of the deceased is ineligible for a wrongful death settlement or award.

When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the death was caused by negligence, a wrongful act (crime), imprudence (recklessness) or want of skill (error).

Compensation For a Wrongful Death

Typically a wrongful death lawsuit would seek compensation (damages) for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Medical expenses after the injury and prior to death.
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased after an accident.
  • Grief and anguish of the survivors.
  • Lost income that the deceased would have provided to support the plaintiff.
  • Loss of consortium, parental guidance, service and society that the deceased would have provided to the plaintiffs.

In Louisiana wrongful death claims, additional compensation may be awarded if the defendant was intoxicated and that had a role in the death or if child pornography was involved.

In a wrongful death case there are a number of types of compensation that may be recovered to cover economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include damages that are measurable and can be tracked numerically, such as the loss of the deceased person’s wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. Non-economic losses are recoverable but they cannot be assigned a numeric value in the way that economic losses can. These would include the pain and suffering of the deceased, the pain and suffering endured by family members and the loss of companionship.

How Long Do I Have To File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the death of the deceased to bring a lawsuit. This is what’s called the “statute of limitations” on wrongful death claims in Louisiana. Having an attorney review your case can help you understand the timeline of the wrongful death claim process and approximately how long the process will take. Building a viable case takes time and that is why it is recommended that you speak with an attorney as soon as you are able.

My Loved One Was Fatally Injured at Work. Who Is Responsible?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4,405 workers were killed by fatal occupational injuries in a single recent year. The majority of fatal work accidents involved:

  • Transportation incidents (40 percent).
  • Contact with objects and equipment (16 percent).
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals (17 percent).
  • Falls, slips and trips (16 percent).
  • Explosions, fires and exposure to harmful substances (10 percent).

Many of these accidents were caused by negligent conduct on the part of management and employers. In such an instance, the party deemed responsible for the accident may be liable for damages in addition to death benefits from the state workers’ compensation system. An attorney can review your case and help you establish the liability in a wrongful death case.

My Loved One Was Killed In a Car Accident. What Do I Do Now?

After losing a family member in a car accident, survivors are often in shock over their loss and may understandably feel confused, angry and helpless. An attorney can help you by reviewing your case and handling all of the legal aspects, thereby lessening your burden during this difficult time.

Legally speaking, if negligence is deemed to be a contributing factor in the car accident, a wrongful death claim may be brought against the party deemed liable for the death. In many cases there are multiple parties responsible for the accident. For example, if the car accident involved a reckless driver and a dangerous roadway, a wrongful death claim may name more than one party as defendants, such as the driver of the other vehicle and the builder of the dangerous roadway. If the accident is found to be the result of a defective part, the manufacturer, distributor or installer of the part in question may be held liable for the wrongful death.

How Will the Compensation Be Divided Among Family Members?

A relative who is authorized to bring a wrongful death case may not have full authority over the distribution of the damages recovered. The relative is bringing legal action in a representative capacity for the other members of the family. It is generally recommended that the heirs determine how the settlement will be divided at the beginning of the case. This way future problems regarding the division can be avoided.

Contact Your Wrongful Death Attorney

The straightest path to justice after a wrongful death in Louisiana begins with a free, no-obligation legal consultation with the Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm. If there’s any way we can make it happen, we want you to be compensated for your losses.

Bart Bernard will be with you every step of the way as you work to recover from your loss and he works on your behalf to obtain justice and financial security for you and your family. As a skilled personal injury attorney, his track record of success has been earned by conducting thorough investigations and following up with aggressive negotiations and persuasive courtroom arguments in wrongful death cases.

Please contact our office in Lafayette, Baton Rouge or Lake Charles today if you have suffered the loss of a relative in an accident that was someone else’s fault. We’re here to respond to your questions and to provide the professional and respectful legal help you deserve.

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