Lake Charles Wrongful Death Attorney

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Have You Lost a Loved One in an Accident in Lake Charles?

Nothing can be more devastating than losing a loved one in an accident, especially when there is a negligent individual at fault. It is not uncommon for a family to lose a loved one due to the negligent or reckless behavior of another. When someone loses a loved one due to another’s negligence, that individual has a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Specifically, a wrongful death lawsuit refers to a civil suit where the deceased person’s successors or estate may recover damages which have resulted from the death of a loved one. Every state has their own statutes regarding wrongful death lawsuits which provide the laws and procedures for bringing a wrongful death action. Louisiana has its own definition of wrongful death, procedures for filing wrongful death lawsuits, a time frame during which this type of lawsuit must be brought, and various remedies available in wrongful death suits. 

If you have lost someone in this manner, do not hesitate to reach out to Cueria Law Firm for assistance. We focus our efforts on helping families receive compensation for the loss of a family member. As your wrongful death attorney, I am on your side and I will fight for you.

What is a Wrongful Death Action?

In Louisiana, those who are related to a person that dies due to the fault of another may bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party whom’s conduct led to the decedent’s death. With a wrongful death action, liability may be imposed by a certain person’s conduct or through one’s occupation. Generally, a wrongful death suit arises when there is a negligent accident, a medical malpractice, or an intentional act, such as a crime. Because of this, the allegations in your wrongful death petition must allege sufficient facts to establish liability upon the defendant as to the cause of the decedent’s death.

How Do I Know if My Loved One's Fatal Accident Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Claim?

In general, a wrongful death claim can be made when the negligence or intentional act of an individual, business, or entity causes the death of a person. There are laws in place to provide an outlet for legal recourse when a family member has had a loved one lost due to a wrongful death situation. In every state within the US, the statutes will vary for wrongful death claims, including how the survivor of the individual can file a claim, who can file, and what will be provided by way of damages. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you pursue legal action and guide you through the claims process.

Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If an accident is qualified as an incident involving wrongful death, it does not mean that you qualify for a claim. Only certain people have the right to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages for their loss. Louisiana’s Civil Code Article 2315.2 for wrongful death actions sets out the proper parties who may bring a wrongful death action in Louisiana:

“If a person dies due to the fault of another, suit may be brought by the following persons to recover damages which they sustained as a result of the death:

  1. The surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased, or either the spouse or the child or children.
  2. The surviving father and mother of the deceased, or either of them if he left no spouse or child surviving.
  3. The surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, or parent surviving.
  4. The surviving grandfathers and grandmothers of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, parent, or sibling surviving.”
 

Thus, pursuant to the Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death action may be brought by the surviving spouse, children, and the parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents of the decedent. These categories are strictly construed by courts. Additionally, those related in the above degrees by adoption are treated the same under Louisiana law. However, important to consider is that the descendants of the decedent have the right to bring an action for damages resulting from the wrongful death of a parent, but for any children who are not filiated to their parent, he or she must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the parent had informally acknowledged them during his or her lifetime.

When must a wrongful death action be brought in Louisiana?

Pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.2(B), the right to bring a wrongful death action prescribes one year from the death of the decedent. Thus, the lawsuit must be brought within a year of the decedent’s death. Important to note is that a wrongful death action is potentially heritable, but the inheritance of it neither interrupts nor prolongs the prescriptive period according to subsection (C). If you are considering bringing a wrongful death suit, you should contact an attorney. A family can lose their rights to bring a lawsuit entirely if it is not brought within the statutory time period.

What remedies are available for a wrongful death action in Louisiana?

Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another can be a difficult and heart wrenching situation. Although it is difficult to make any family whole again after the loss of a loved one, there are laws that are meant to ease financial burdens following a loved one’s death when it occurs due to the fault of another. Damages are meant to compensate the relatives of the decedent for the individual’s death.

Wrongful death action damages compensate for economic and noneconomic losses. Noneconomic losses include both loss of love, affection, companionship, care, guidance, and emotional support which is suffered by the relatives of the decedent as a result of their death and survivors’ grief and anguish. Moreover, economic damages can be measured and include medical bills including hospital bills,  funeral expenses, loss of earnings and benefits, and/or the value of the services provided by the decedent to the household. Important to note is that there is no cap on the damages in a Louisiana wrongful death suit. However, there is a statutory cap for medical malpractice suits.

What limitations are there for wrongful death liability for COVID-19?

Retroactive to March 11, 2020, the Louisiana Revised Statute 2800.25 provides the limitations of liability for COVID-19 cases. It provides that “[no] natural or juridical person, state or local government, or political subdivision thereof shall be liable for any civil damages for injury or death resulting from or related to actual or alleged exposure to COVID-19 in the course of or through the performance or provision of the person’s, government’s, or political subdivision’s business operations…” However, this limitation is restricted in situations where “the person, government, or political subdivision” has “failed to substantially comply with the applicable COVID-19 procedures established by the federal, state, or local agency which governs the business operations…” The statute also requires that the injury or death be caused by the gross negligence or wanton or reckless misconduct of the individual or government entity. Any events held by a business or government are given immunity from liability except in situations where the damages were caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct. Additionally, workers compensation claims are not affected by this law.

Types of Wrongful Death Incidents

Car Accidents

Caused by someone who was negligent in how they were driving, their vehicle was not properly maintained or they were texting and driving which led to your loved ones death. 

Trucking Accidents

Semi trucks cause approximately 5,000 deaths  every year. Driver fatigue, improper maintenance and distracted driving are among the top reasons.

Work Place Accident

On average, 5000 people die each year due to an accident at their job. Improper safety measures, equipment failures or transportation accidents.  

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