When a loved one passes away unexpectedly due to the negligent or wrongful actions of another, you may feel angry, confused, heartbroken, and helpless. In this tragic situation, you may want to consider contacting an Alexandria wrongful death lawyer for help. You could have a claim for wrongful death as a result of your loved one’s death, and the best way to know for sure is to consult with an experienced attorney who knows how to handle personal injury cases with compassion and discretion.
Defining Wrongful Death
A wrongful death may occur whenever someone commits negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct that results in another’s death. Wrongful death actions can arise from a wide variety of circumstances—essentially, any scenario that, had the victim survived, would have been grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. An Alexandria wrongful death lawyer could help evaluate the accident that led to a loved one’s death and represent surviving family members’ interests if there is a legally valid wrongful death action.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Alexandria, call (318) 777-7777
Wrongful Death Laws in Louisiana
Pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code §2315.2, certain family members of a deceased individual may file wrongful death claims to recover damages as a result of the wrongful death of their loved one. Both a surviving spouse and/or child have first priority in bringing such an action forward.
If there is no surviving spouse or child, the right to bring a wrongful death action then defaults to the following family members, listed in order of priority:
- Surviving parents
- Surviving brothers and sisters
- Surviving grandparents
The statute also provides that the right to bring a wrongful death claim can be inherited. However, inheriting that right does not impact the statute of limitations under La. Civil Code §2315.1, which states that any such action must be brought within one year from the death of the deceased.
Alexandria Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me (318) 777-7777
Comparative Fault in Wrongful Death Claims
Louisiana is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that even if a deceased individual was partially at fault for their wrongful death, their surviving family can still recover for their losses from other responsible parties. Under the legal theory of pure comparative negligence, the surviving family members of the deceased can recover compensation in a reduced amount that is proportionate to the decedent’s responsibility for the accident.
For example, if the deceased person is adjudged to be 30 percent at fault for the accident that led to their death, their surviving family can recover only 70 percent of their total losses. Furthermore, there is no amount of fault that would disqualify someone from being eligible to seek recovery in Louisiana—even someone who is 99 percent at fault could recover damages, although they would only be eligible to receive one percent of their total award.
Damages in Wrongful Death Actions
Although no amount of money can bring loved ones back to their families, compensation can bring about closure and peace of mind to some extent. Wrongful death actions can also hold those individuals who wrongfully caused another’s death responsible for their actions.
Potential damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include the following:
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of current and future income
- Loss of family support and services
- Emotional pain and suffering
While no two situations are the same, a successful wrongful death claim spearheaded by a skilled wrongful death lawyer in Alexandria may result in compensation for some or all the listed damages.
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Rapides Parish Wrongful Death Lawyer
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim pursues compensation for a death caused by the negligence of another party. These claims could arise from an accident, negligence, or willful and reckless actions by another person, entity, or even corporation.
Wrongful death claims can be complicated, and determining the responsible party could be the most difficult part of a case. It may be best to speak to a dedicated wrongful death attorney in Rapides Parish to determine whether an individual claim has legal merit.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Rapides Parish?
As detailed in Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315.2, only certain parties to the deceased may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties include, in order of priority:
- One or all of the surviving spouse, child, or children of the deceased
- The surviving father and mother of the deceased, if no living spouse or children exist
- Surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased, if the deceased left no spouse, child, or parent surviving
- The surviving grandparents of the deceased
Consulting with legal counsel could help families and loved ones determine the appropriate party to bring about a claim.
The decedent’s family and estate may be entitled to recover both economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. These recoverable damages represent a monetary valuation for the losses they suffered.
Economic damages for wrongful death often encompass objective financial losses such as funeral and burial bills, medical expenses, and loss of income and benefits. Non-economic damages may include the loss of care, companionship, guidance, and emotional support suffered by the decedent’s family members as a result of the premature death. These latter damages are usually difficult to quantify, but a wrongful death lawyer in Rapides Parish could help calculate a fair value for them based on the circumstances.
Seeking Professional Help from an Alexandria Wrongful Death Attorney
There is nothing easy about dealing with the death of a close family member. As such, you likely have many other things on your mind during this difficult time besides talking to an attorney about it.
However, contacting an experienced Alexandria wrongful death lawyer could be key to determining your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim. If you are entitled to compensation, you should strongly consider exploring the possibilities for bringing a wrongful death claim in your particular situation when you feel you are ready to do so.