When a fatal accident or wrongful act costs you a member of your family, you have the right to hold the responsible party accountable. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek the financial compensation you and your family need. Pursuing a case alone is challenging, however, which is why you might benefit from discussing your situation with a seasoned personal injury attorney.
A wrongful death case requires a lot of work, even before the plaintiff files a formal lawsuit. There are limitations on who may file the suit and deadlines that require compliance. Contact an Opelousas wrongful death lawyer at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers for guidance and help avoiding the legal pitfalls that are common in these cases.
Wrongful Death Laws in Opelousas
Louisiana has a statute that governs and defines wrongful death actions. According to CC Art. 2512.2, a death is wrongful if it occurs due to the fault of another person. The law allows a plaintiff to bring a wrongful death action against either a person or business.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Opelousas, call (337) 777-7777
How Wrongful Death Claims Differ From Criminal Charges
One of the top questions families have after a wrongful death is whether the liable party will face criminal charges. Criminal cases are significantly different from civil claims. In criminal court, the state’s prosecuting attorney must file the charges. If the prosecuting attorney finds there is sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, they may move forward with criminal charges against the individual or entity responsible for causing your loved one’s death.
If the defendant is found guilty of the charges against them, they can face criminal penalties. This might include jail or prison time, fines, restitution, community service, registration as a sex offender, and other criminal penalties.
Civil lawsuits are significantly different. You can bring a civil lawsuit forward with your Opelousas wrongful death attorney’s help. If the defendant is found liable for your loved one’s death, they will have to compensate your family for the ways your relative’s death affects your lives. If you have more questions about the differences between the criminal court and civil claims process, you can discuss your concerns with our attorney handling Opelousas wrongful death lawsuits.
Opelousas Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Opelousas
A wrongful death case in Opelousas can involve various causes. While many lawsuits involve negligence that resulted in a fatality, these suits are also viable when an intentional or wrongful act was responsible for a death. With that being said, there are some types of accidents, incidents, and events that have been known to produce wrongful deaths more frequently than others in Opelousas. Some of these include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Construction accidents
- Factory accidents
- Work accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Trampoline accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Defective products claims
If you lost your loved one in an accident or incident not listed above, you may still have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. You can explore your legal options further with our wrongful death attorney serving Opelousas once you call our office.
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Compensation for Families Dealing With Wrongful Death in Opelousas
When it comes to the monetary damages available in an Opelousas wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff may seek compensation for any losses the deceased person sustained because of their death. This can include burial and funeral costs, as well as any other expenses. An Opelousas wrongful death attorney could review a case to identify the potential damages that are available.
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The Right to File an Opelousas Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Not just any friend or family member of the deceased has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Louisiana law, the intestate succession guidelines are used to identify the heir with the most substantial claim and give them the right to file the wrongful death case.
If the person with the best claim is no longer alive or refuses to participate, the right to file the lawsuit will fall down the list until someone is willing to take up the mantle. The parties with the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The surviving spouse or children
- The surviving parents
- The surviving siblings
- The surviving grandparents
If none of the prospective heirs are available to take the case, the decedent’s estate is entitled to bring the wrongful death action. It is worth noting that the damages available when a personal representative of the estate files suit are lower than when a qualifying family member files.
There are a few exceptions to this list of potential heirs, and a wrongful death lawyer in Opelousas should consider every option when preparing a suit. For example, a parent may not recover from a child’s wrongful death claim if they abandoned the child when they were young. Also, anyone convicted of a crime related to the deceased’s passing has no right to recover. For more information, call a compassionate lawyer.
Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in Opelousas
Under the law, the state’s statute of limitations allows a specific period in which your family must file an Opelousas wrongful death action (CC Art. 2315.2). This period is only one year, and it starts on the date your loved one died. If you do not file your wrongful death lawsuit in Opelousas before the deadline expires, you risk losing the opportunity to have your case heard.
Although one year may seem like more than enough time to move forward with your case, much of the evidence needed to support your case may be time sensitive. If this valuable evidence is lost in the days, weeks, or months before you reach out to a lawyer for help, it may be harder to recover compensation for your family.
The sooner you hire our Opelousas wrongful death attorney to advocate for your family, the sooner we can get to work to hold the liable party can be held accountable.
Call an Opelousas Wrongful Death Lawyer Immediately
If you believe you have a viable wrongful death claim, there is no benefit in waiting to proceed with the case. While dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one is challenging, it is important to protect your family’s financial future. If you have questions regarding the litigation process, contact an Opelousas wrongful death lawyer at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers right away.
Call or text (337) 777-7777 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form