Can you file a lawsuit after a fatal car crash?

| Jul 13, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accident |

The actions of other people can do real harm to you and your family. Car crashes are a perfect example. You may be incredibly careful when you drive, but you can’t stop someone else from texting at the wheel, eating a cheeseburger while they drive or getting behind the wheel after having several beers.

Every time your family drives somewhere, there is a tiny risk that someone else’s decisions will affect your safety. If you have recently lost someone you loved to a car crash, you probably want justice. 

The state of Louisiana might charge the other driver with a crime. Regardless of those criminal charges, you may want accountability for the impact this crash has had on your family. Are you in a position to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Louisiana only allows immediate family members to file

You have to have a biological or legal relationship with the deceased party to be able to file a civil lawsuit after their death. The state gives the strongest rights to spouses and children.  Still, parents, grandparents and even siblings can also sometimes bring wrongful death claims under Louisiana law. 

Is the other party clearly to blame?

Louisiana’s wrongful death statute allows surviving family members to bring a claim when they can show that either negligence or wrongful acts cause the death of their loved ones. 

If the state prosecutes and convicts someone of drunk driving, that could help your wrongful death claim against them. However, successful criminal prosecution is not necessary for a wrongful death claim. The standard for evidence is lower in the civil courts, which means you might win even if a prosecutor didn’t secure a conviction for the wreck.

Knowing whether you have the right to file can help you decide if a wrongful death claim is the best way to seek justice for your loved one. An experienced advocate can help you better understand your options.