If you suffered due to the wrongful death of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. A Lafayette wrongful death lawyer can help you determine the validity of your claim and help you seek the best possible outcome. You can learn more during a free case evaluation with our team.
The personal injury lawyer who represents you may also guide you in calculating the types and amounts of your recoverable damages, which may include:
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What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to Louisiana CC Art. 2315.2, a wrongful death occurs when an individual dies “due to the fault of another.” The death can be caused by another individual or occur due to wrongdoing by an entity such as a corporation.
An accident or a purposeful action can lead to wrongful death. Thus, it covers everything from recklessness to negligence to intentional conduct.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Lafayette?
A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, with a key difference that the injured individual is no longer alive to fight their case in court. Instead, the victim’s family members must file the claim to seek damages.
Under Louisiana law, there are specific categories of people who can file a wrongful death claim in court in the event of a fatal injury. They include the decedent’s:
- Spouse or children
- Parent or parents in the absence of surviving spouse or children
- Siblings in the absence of surviving parents, spouse, or children
- Grandparents if there are no surviving siblings, parents, spouse, or children
For each category, the deceased’s family members related by adoption can also file a wrongful death claim just as family members related by marriage or blood may.
How Much Is an Average Wrongful Death Settlement?
The amount of compensation recovered during a wrongful death case varies. No two cases are the same, so there is no way to compare your case to another or determine an “average” settlement. The amount of compensation you could receive depends on factors such as:
- Damages incurred
- If the case is settled or goes to trial
- The decedent’s age and future earning potential
- The percentage of financial support the family relied on the victim for
- Circumstances surrounding the accident
- The number of dependents the decedent had
A lawyer from our firm can help investigate the details of the incident that led to your loved one’s death. We will evaluate the circumstances to help you go after a fair settlement for your loss.
Damages That a Loved One’s Estate Can Collect in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death damages can cover both economic and non-economic losses. Specific, measurable losses with a fixed dollar amount are economic losses. These can include:
- Burial and funeral costs
- Medical expenses, including costs of emergency care associated with the deceased individual’s final injury or illness
- Loss of benefits and income
- The value of lost household services
- Pain and suffering your loved one experienced before their death
- Property damage
Losses resulting from a wrongful death that cannot be supported with proof, such as a receipt or bill, are non-economic. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased individual in their final moments
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of care
- Loss of emotional support
These damages can be challenging to prove because they have no clear dollar amount. However, our wrongful death lawyer serving Lafayette can calculate them accurately. In the absence of any surviving family members who can pursue this claim in court, the executor or personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate can bring a claim to seek damages for losses incurred by the estate.
How Can I Prove
It can be challenging to prove a wrongful death occurred. A wrongful death claim implies the decedent passed away due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. To prove wrongful death, one must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent.
- The defendant breached the duty of care by being negligent.
- The defendant’s negligent actions contributed to the decedent’s untimely death.
- The decedent’s death led to economic and/or non-economic losses.
Because a wrongful death lawsuit is filed in civil court, the burden of proof is lower than in a criminal case. The plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is more likely than not to be the cause of the victim’s death. Our attorneys can work to gather compelling evidence in your wrongful death case.
Evidence in a wrongful death case can include:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Surveillance video footage
- Any bills or receipts relating to the accident
- Police report
- Medical records
- Witness testimony
A wrongful death lawyer at our firm who is familiar with the laws in Louisiana can help you gather evidence for your case.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Can Help You Build a Strong Case
We can do several things to help you pursue your wrongful death action. We can review your evidence and investigate the circumstances in your wrongful death case to determine who acted negligently and is therefore liable for your loved one’s death.
In addition to establishing negligence and calculating your damages, we will:
- Handle all documents and relevant paperwork in your case
- Explain your rights and keep you up to date on all case developments
- Meet all deadlines, including Louisiana’s statute of limitations
- Communicate and negotiate with insurance companies, legal representatives, and others in your case
- Seek a settlement or verdict award
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Will Advocate for You
At our firm, we understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one. We will address the emotional and financial toll a tragic loss can have on your family and be compassionate throughout the case.
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we take extra steps to make sure our clients’ cases receive proper care by:
- Being available for our clients at all times
- Having more than 100 years of combined experience with personal injury and wrongful death cases
- Offering free consultations
- Focusing on helping you seek fair compensation
When Can You File a
Wrongful Death Claim?
CC §2512.2 states that a wrongful death claim may be filed when a person passes away due to the negligent actions of another person or entity. Such a claim may be considered valid when negligence or recklessness by another party is proven to be the direct cause of death.
Any accident that could have served as grounds for a personal injury suit had the deceased individual survived may serve as grounds for a wrongful death suit if the consequences of that accident were fatal. A wrongful death case can come from any fatal personal injury accident. Some of these include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace injuries
There are still several key differences between different forms of wrongful death cases. For example, a case involving a car crash and one centering on premises liability may play out very differently. A wrongful death attorney from New Iberia could help you navigate whatever legal processes are relevant to your case.
You Have a Limited Amount of Time to File,
So Don’t Delay
Louisiana grants a short statute of limitations to file wrongful death claims. According to Louisiana state law, the estate of the deceased loved one has only a one-year prescriptive period in which to file wrongful death claims. It is essential to file any wrongful death claim promptly. If you miss this deadline, you risk losing your opportunity to seek compensation for your loved one’s death.
Whenever a loved one passes, there may be an untold amount of financial hardship in the form of lingering medical bills, funeral expenses, and wage loss. An Iberia Parish attorney may be able to help recover these wrongful death damages for the estate and potentially additional compensation for interpersonal and emotional damages.
Get Help From a
Lafayette Wrongful Death Attorney Today
When your family member dies in a fatal accident or fatal injury, it can lead to immense turmoil and pain along with extensive financial and other losses. Though money cannot make up for the loss, it can help you cover the extensive financial losses.
Call our team or contact us online for a complimentary consultation, during which we can help you determine the best course of action for you. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means we do not charge for our services unless we win your case.