Baton Rouge Wrongful Death Attorney
South Louisiana Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing a loved one unexpectedly is a tragic and devastating experience. It’s even more difficult when that life is lost due to another person’s careless or negligent actions. After a tragedy, families are left behind to pick up the pieces while grieving their loss and often experiencing significant financial strain. If a loved one or family member died due to someone else’s negligence, you may need the legal assistance of a Baton Rouge wrongful death attorney.
Since 2001, the Joubert Law Firm has helped clients in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas recover damages and achieve maximum compensation following their devastating losses. Our Baton Rouge, LA personal injury lawyers understand that this is a difficult time in your life. Let us shoulder some of the burdens by pursuing wrongful death litigation against the negligent party.
To speak with our wrongful death lawyers today, give us a call at (225) 761-3822. We offer a free consultation to get started on your claim.
What is Wrongful Death?
When the misconduct or negligence of another person causes the death of someone else, this may be considered a “wrongful death.” In these cases, family members of the deceased may file claims for wrongful death to seek compensation from the responsible party.
Wrongful death lawsuits do not take place in criminal court. Instead, they are a completely separate type of litigation that focuses on awarding the plaintiff financial compensation for any damages that took place, such as the deceased’s lost wages, funeral costs, and loss of companionship or consortium, rather than punishing the defendant for their conduct. However, as the wrongful death action is a civil matter, the required standard of proof is much lower than that of a criminal trial. So, even if someone is found liable for wrongful death, they may not be found guilty of any associated crimes.
How Does Louisiana Define Wrongful Death?
Per Louisiana Civil Code § 2315.2, when “a person dies due to the fault of another,” it is a wrongful death. Thus, any other individual or third-party entity, such as a corporation, may be responsible for the death.
Is Wrongful Death a Crime?
A wrongful death may involve a crime that caused or is associated with the person’s death. However, as previously mentioned, a wrongful death claim is a civil action. It holds an at-fault entity or person financially responsible for economic losses suffered by survivors.
Keep in mind, however, that in a separate criminal proceeding, the events that caused a wrongful death may be subject to criminal charges.
Are There Different Types of Wrongful Death Claims?
Any fatal injuries resulting from another’s reckless or negligent acts may lead to wrongful death. As such, there are numerous different types of wrongful death claims. Some common types of claims in Louisiana include:
Wrongful death claims may commonly follow Baton Rouge motor vehicle accidents. This may include a car crash, semi-truck accident, motorcycle collision, bicycle accident, or even a pedestrian accident. After such a fatal accident, any driver found responsible for causing a wreck that killed another driver, passenger, or pedestrian could face a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases often occur when an impaired driver causes the wreck.
Wrongful death actions also frequently stem from medical malpractice claims. Patients can easily lose their lives when a medical provider makes a detrimental mistake, and the loved ones of the victim may file a wrongful death claim against the responsible physician(s).
Defective products can include anything from children’s toys, pharmaceuticals, car tires and airbags, breast implants, home appliances, foods, and more. Any product that was sold to the public with inherent flaws that caused injury or death may lead to a claim. Anyone in the supply chain may be held liable. This includes retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.
Additional common wrongful death claims may include:
- Dog bites
- Nursing home abuse
- Injuries in the workplace
- Slip and fall injuries
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim
To reach a successful outcome in a wrongful death lawsuit, your Baton Rouge wrongful death attorney must demonstrate negligence on behalf of the guilty party. To do so, your attorney must prove the four elements of negligence existed.
The four elements of negligence include:
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed a certain duty of care to the decedent that any reasonable person would exercise. For example, a driver’s duty to operate their vehicle safely on the roads would be an owed duty of care.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant violated their duty to the deceased. This includes any negligent action or behavior that led to another’s death. An example would include a motorist driving while intoxicated.
- Causation: It must have been the defendant’s fault that the deceased lost their life. For example, the driver’s choice to drive while intoxicated caused a car crash that killed the deceased.
- Damages: The plaintiff, such as the family or deceased’s estate, must show they suffered losses due to the wrongful death. This may include pain and suffering, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and more.
Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Louisiana, surviving family members may recover compensation for wrongful death. Per Louisiana Civil Code 2315.2 (A), this includes but is not limited to (in this order) the surviving spouse, surviving child or children, surviving parents, surviving siblings, and surviving grandparents.
What Can You Obtain from a Baton Rouge Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Often, in addition to grief and shock, surviving family members face serious financial difficulties after their loved one’s death.
A wrongful death suit aims to provide these family members with financial compensation to make up for the loss of their loved one’s contributions to the family. Common damages included in these settlements include:
- Economic losses
- Lost wages
- Medical Expenses
- Financial contributions lost, including pension plans and benefits
- Lost future earning
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost household services
- Non-economic losses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental duress
- Companionship, consortium, and protection lost
- Punitive damages, in limited situations
Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable?
Though exceptions do exist, most wrongful death settlements are not taxable.
Exceptions include jury awards such as lost wages or punitive damages. These are considered income, and as such, are thereby subject to taxation. Be sure to speak with the top Baton Rouge attorneys at Joubert Law Firm to clarify whether you may be required to pay tax on any part of your settlement.
Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death Damages in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, there is no limit on the amount of damages awarded in a wrongful death action. However, there are caps on medical malpractice claims as well as cases filed against a government agency. Generally speaking, that limit is $500,000.
What are the Time Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana?
Louisiana’s time frame for filing a wrongful death suit is one of the shortest in the country. Outlined in Louisiana Civil Code 2315.2 (B), plaintiffs have one year from the date their loved one died to file a civil wrongful death claim.
One year is not a long amount of time – especially for complex cases. Do not take a chance of letting time run out. Speak to the Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers at Joubert Law Firm as soon as possible.
Call for a Free Consultation with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Baton Rouge Today
Legal action for wrongful death is often the last thing surviving family members think about amid their grief. Unfortunately, Louisiana has a very short time limitation for filing personal injury claims, and it takes time for a Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyer to review the details of your claim, gather evidence, and file your suit. Time can slip away easily – don’t let it.
It’s best to retain the legal counsel of a lawyer experienced in wrongful death law as soon as possible after the incident. The Louisiana wrongful death lawyers at Joubert Law Firm are here to provide legal guidance and lighten your load while we pursue justice for the enormous loss you suffered. As soon as an attorney-client relationship is established, we will get straight to work building and strengthening your case to ensure you receive maximum compensation for the loss of your loved one.
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