A family can usually sue for wrongful death, and they have a limited time to do so. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is only appropriate in certain circumstances.
Whenever another person or company is responsible for an act that results in a death, family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Speaking with an attorney could help family members to determine if this is possible.
What Makes a Death a “Wrongful” Death
To prove that a person’s death is wrongful, as well as the potential impetus for a wrongful death lawsuit, family members need to show that another party was at fault for causing one’s death. This can be the result of a car crash, a slip and fall, a malfunctioning product, or even medical malpractice.
A simple way to evaluate this question is whether the victim would have had the ability to bring a personal injury lawsuit had they survived. If the answer is yes, then a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate. The fact that a victim died as the result of the incident has nothing to do with whether another party carries the blame for the death. A lawyer could help investigate the cause of death and determine if another party is legally liable.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
Who Has the Right to Sue for Wrongful Death
In most personal injury lawsuits, the party who suffers the harm has the sole ability to demand compensation in court. Of course, if this person is deceased, this is impossible. Instead, other parties must step in to pursue the case for the benefit of the family.
Louisiana Civil Code (CC) §2315.2 provides a list of which family members can sue following a loved one’s wrongful death. The statute gives priority to a decedent’s surviving spouse or child. If the person dies with neither a spouse nor children, the father or mother of the person has the next chance. If parents are not available, brothers and sisters are next in line. Finally, grandfathers and grandmothers have the last chance to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is also worth noting that these relationships do not require a connection through blood. A person who becomes a parent or child through adoption has the same right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit as a natural relative.
There Are Strict Time Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There is no doubt that a sudden, wrongful death is a traumatic experience for a family. However, it is essential to act quickly if you hope to collect the compensation that you need to pay funeral costs, cover medical bills, and make up for lost income.
According to CC §3492, there is a statute of limitations of one year on all wrongful death lawsuits. This means that family members who have the right to sue must submit their cases to the court no more than one year from the date of death. This is an extremely short time to gather evidence, measure losses, and identify defendants.
Still, an attorney could help lay the groundwork for a case that helps family members to meet all applicable deadlines.
Family Members Have the Right to Pursue Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Losing a loved one is always a difficult time. One way that families can bring comfort and stability back into their lives is to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The legal team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers is here to help. We can take care of all the details in the case, allowing you to focus on your future. Reach out to us today at (337) 777-7777 to learn more.