Unexpectedly losing a family member causes unbearable grief as well as a host of other emotions. You might feel angry toward the party whose reckless or intentional act led to your loved one’s death. Additionally, your family members might be anxious about financial pressures if the deceased were the breadwinner.
A wrongful death lawsuit could help your family obtain financial stability and find closure by holding the responsible party accountable. Although money is no comfort when you are missing a loved one, relief from financial pressure might help you and your family members move forward after the loss. A Thibodaux wrongful death lawyer could preserve your legal rights and pursue the justice your family deserves. Reach out to speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney from our firm.
Circumstances that Could Lead to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death is caused by a third party’s negligent or criminal act and can occur in various ways. Our Thibodaux attorneys represent the family members of people who sustained fatal injuries due to:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accident
- Building fires
- Workplace accidents
- Criminal assaults
- Medical malpractice
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Defective products
Nearly any accidental death could give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit if another party’s conduct had a role in the incident.
Criminal Charges for Wrongful Death
Sometimes the person responsible faces criminal charges. For example, a prosecutor might bring criminal charges if a decedent died from a drunk driving accident or a drive-by shooting. Any criminal proceedings are separate from the wrongful death lawsuit, which happens in civil court.
Additionally, a criminal conviction might provide helpful evidence in a civil lawsuit for damages. However, a family could win a civil case for wrongful death even if a defendant was acquitted.
Procedural Rules Concerning Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Louisiana Civil Code 2315.2 determines who can bring a wrongful death claim and in what order of priority. If the decedent was married, their spouse or surviving children must bring the legal action forward. If a decedent had no surviving spouse or children, a parent could be the plaintiff. Siblings can also file a wrongful death lawsuit if they are the only immediate family surviving a decedent.
A person must file the lawsuit within one year of the decedent’s death unless the death resulted from an act of violence. In those cases, the family has two years to bring legal action. Contacting a Thibodaux attorney soon after a wrongful death could preserve the family’s right to sue.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death claim is like a personal injury lawsuit the decedent could have brought if they had survived. However, the damages a family could seek differ somewhat from those an injured person would pursue.
If the person who files the claim benefitted from the decedent’s economic contributions, they could seek damages to compensate for this loss of income. The family also could request reimbursement of medical and burial expenses.
The party responsible for the death could also pay money to compensate for the family member’s grief, emotional anguish, and the loss of their loved one’s guidance and companionship. However, damage caps apply if the death arose out of medical malpractice. Damages are also limited if the responsible party is a state or municipal government unit. A Thibodaux wrongful death attorney could help a family determine what damages they are eligible for.
Seek Legal Guidance With a Thibodaux Wrongful Death Attorney
When another party causes your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Securing damages is a way to hold the responsible party accountable and ensure your family’s financial security.
The law provides a short time to act, so speak with a Thibodaux wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can. Call today to discuss your situation with a skilled and caring legal professional.