It’s a tragedy that changes everything. And when a loved one dies, the last thing you want is a complicated legal process to worry about. That’s why we’re here to help! Wrongful death compensation can never make up for the fact that your loved one is gone. But if your loved one died because of someone else’s purposeful actions or negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation.
Definition of Wrongful Death
A wrongful death is when “a person dies due to the fault of another,” according to Louisiana Civil Code Section 2512.2. The death may be caused by the fault of another individual, or it may be the result of wrongdoing by an entity like a corporation. A wrongful death may be caused by conduct that is negligent, reckless, or intentional.
Wrongful death cases can be complicated, but that’s why we’re here. We help take the load of pursuing justice off your shoulder so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and honoring your loved one’s legacy.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of what to expect when you file a wrongful death claim in Shreveport, Louisiana. And of course, we’re available to support you each step of the way!
- Understand the statute of limitations. Louisiana’s statute of limitations for wrongful death gives the surviving family members or personal representative one year to file a wrongful death claim in court, usually starting from the date of the deceased person’s death.
- Determine if you are eligible to file. In Louisiana, the following parties may file a Louisiana wrongful death claim:
- the surviving spouse or children of the deceased person
- if there are no surviving spouse or children, the surviving parent or parents
- if there are no surviving parents, the surviving siblings of the deceased person, or
- if there are no surviving siblings, the surviving grandparents of the deceased person.
- Call an experienced wrongful death attorney. Wrongful death cases are complex. Too often, victims walk away from their case with a settlement far lower than the law entitles them to. An attorney can help you understand what amount of compensation is fair and how to successfully claim it.
- Assemble evidence and begin investigations. As the plaintiff in a wrongful death case, you’ll need to prove the following:
- Duty of Care – You must prove to the court that the defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one. For example, in the case of a car accident, you must prove that the defendant had an obligation to obey the Rules of the Road and drive carefully while operating any vehicle
- Breach of Duty of Care – You must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to your loved one. Again, if the situation involves a car accident, you must show that the defendant failed to obey the applicable traffic laws, such as by speeding or by running a red light.
- Causation – You must show that the defendant’s particular action directly caused the wrongful death. So, even if the defendant ran a red light while driving a car, the defendant is not responsible if the death was caused by something else, such as a mechanical failure on the deceased’s vehicle, according to Nolo.
- Determine the value of your case. In Louisiana, damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case include:
- funeral and burial expenses
- medical bills, including bills for emergency care related to the deceased person’s final illness or injury
- lost wages and benefits
- value of lost household services,
- bills for damaged property.
- the pain and suffering the deceased person suffered in his or her final moments,
- the loss of care, companionship, guidance, and emotional support suffered by family members as a result of the untimely death.
Your case is drafted and filed. Once your attorney has gathered sufficient evidence and information regarding your case, they can then bring forth a formal filing with the court. This complaint will identify the defendant, outline the supporting evidence of your case, and state the monetary amount you will be seeking.
Discovery and deposition stage.
Both sides of the case will “discover” facts, details, and evidence about your claim. The attorneys will conduct the deposition, a process that gathers statements from witnesses prior to a trial.
Trial. Sometimes a case is settled before going to trial. But if both sides can’t agree, then a trial is scheduled before a judge or jury to decide the outcome.
Do you need to file a wrongful death case in the Shreveport, LA area? Don’t go through this alone. Contact a wrongful death attorney by calling (318) 855-0285 or contacting us online!
1815 Roselawn Ave
Monroe, LA 71201