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 for guidance and help avoiding the legal pitfalls that are common in these cases.
Louisiana has a statute that governs and defines wrongful death actions. According to Louisiana Civil Code 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.
A wrongful death case can involve a variety of 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.
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 as a result 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.
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 gives 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:
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.
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 right away.