Following the unexpected and untimely passing of a loved one due to another’s negligence, a beneficiary of the deceased has the legal right to seek compensation from the liable party. If you are filing a Lafayette wrongful death claim, it is important to seek an injury attorney as soon as possible. A seasoned lawyer could guide you through the process of filing a claim.
For wrongful death cases, only a beneficiary can file a claim. The beneficiary typically is any surviving spouse or children of the deceased. If no such relatives exist, then the claim would fall to the surviving parents of the deceased. If there are no surviving parents exists, then the claim would fall to the surviving siblings of the deceased and would continue down to the surviving grandparents.
The other thing that distinguishes wrongful death from other personal injury claims is a wrongful death action is designed to compensate the surviving relatives for their losses, not the losses of the deceased.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death action in Lafayette is one year from the date of death. However, there are exceptions to this rule for individuals with disabilities or children. If a beneficiary was a minor at the time of the incident, they have until one year from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim.
A lawyer investigating a wrongful death case in Lafayette needs first to figure out how the accident occurred and establish that the deceased was killed by or through the negligence of another. They also need to investigate what insurance coverage is available to compensate the surviving relatives for their loss. The state minimum insurance for an auto claim, for example, is $15,000 per person and $30,000 max per accident. If someone is killed in an auto accident through the fault of someone who has a minimum limit insurance policy, that is not nearly enough to cover their lawsuit. In these cases, a lawyer investigates the amount of available insurance early on in the process to ensure the surviving family members are adequately compensated.
The evidence that is gathered in a wrongful death case is different from the evidence that is normally collected in personal injury cases. Because the injured party is deceased, they are not a source of evidence in terms of explaining how the accident occurred. A lawyer must rely on eyewitness accounts and other information to establish negligence on the part of the defendant.
From beginning to end, a wrongful death case can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. It depends on the complexity of the accident, the amount of insurance available, and the number of parties involved. A case with ample insurance that is of average complexity could last at least a year or two.
Filing a Lafayette wrongful death claim can be a time-consuming process, so it is best to get a head start on it. An experienced injury attorney could help you gather the required evidence to prove a defendant’s negligence. A lawyer could also help you recover the necessary damages. Call today to begin the process.