Wrongful Death When Negligence Leads to Fatal Accidents

Wrongful Death: When Negligence Leads to Fatal Accidents

The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one is a devastating experience. When this loss is caused by another party’s negligence, the emotional pain is compounded by the financial hardship it can create. In these tragic situations, the law in Louisiana and Texas provides a path to seek justice and some measure of compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Understanding Wrongful Death

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil legal action filed by the surviving family members of a deceased person whose death was caused by the negligence or intentional act of another individual or entity. While no amount of money can truly replace a lost loved one, wrongful death lawsuits can help ease the financial burden families face after such a tragedy.

Statistics on Wrongful Death

  • The National Center for Health Statistics reports that unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death in the United States, taking over 190,000 lives annually.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights that car accidents are a leading cause of unintentional injury death, followed by falls, unintentional poisonings, and drownings. ([Source: National Center for Health Statistics], [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention])

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana and Texas?

The laws governing wrongful death lawsuits vary slightly between Louisiana and Texas, but generally, surviving spouses, children, and sometimes parents or siblings may qualify to file a wrongful death claim.

  • Louisiana: In Louisiana, the surviving spouse, children (including adopted, stepchildren, or grandchildren who have been legally adopted), and parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. ([Source: Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315.2])
  • Texas: Texas law allows the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, if none of these close relatives survive, siblings may also have the right to file. ([Source: Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.002])

What Can be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death lawsuits can seek compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: Costs associated with the deceased’s final medical care.
  • Funeral and burial costs: Expenses related to the funeral service and burial arrangements.
  • Loss of income: Compensation for the financial support the deceased would have provided to their family.
  • Loss of companionship: Spouses and children may be compensated for the loss of love, companionship, and guidance from the deceased.
  • Loss of inheritance: The potential future income the deceased might have earned.
  • Pain and suffering: In some cases, pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before their passing may be recoverable.

Proving Wrongful Death: Elements of a Claim

To win a wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney will need to establish the following elements:

  1. The death of a person occurred.
  2. The death was caused by the wrongful act or omission of the defendant. (The defendant is the party being sued.)
  3. The surviving family members have suffered damages as a result of the death.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

  • Car accidents: Driver negligence, speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving are all common factors in fatal car crashes.
  • Medical malpractice: Doctor errors, medication mistakes, and hospital negligence can lead to wrongful death.
  • Nursing home neglect: Failure to provide proper care to elderly residents can have tragic consequences.
  • Product liability: Defective products can lead to fatal accidents.
  • Workplace accidents: Unsafe work environments and employer negligence can cause worker fatalities.

The Importance of an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Wrongful death cases are complex and require a skilled legal professional to navigate the legal process effectively. An experienced personal injury lawyer with expertise in wrongful death claims will:

  • Conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence of negligence.
  • Work with medical experts to determine the cause of death and the extent of the loss.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies to obtain fair compensation.
  • Prepare and file the lawsuit in court, if necessary.
  • Represent you throughout the legal proceedings.

The Lafayette and Houston Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys at our Lafayette, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas, offices can help. We understand the emotional and financial hardships wrongful death can cause, and we are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Contact Attorney Bernard today for a free consultation. We will review your case and answer any questions you may have about wrongful death lawsuits in Louisiana or Texas.

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