Contact a Baton Rouge wrongful death attorney.
Losing a beloved family member is never easy, but the loss can be especially difficult if the fatal illness or injury was caused by the careless or negligent behavior of another. In many instances, the loss of a loved one initially triggers feelings of shock, grief and pain. As the realization dawns that someone else was responsible, these feelings may be replaced by anger. However, the financial impact that the loss of a loved one may also leave family members struggling with anxiety, a sense of powerlessness and an uncertain future. Although nothing can erase your pain or replace your loss, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim that can help you find justice for your loved one and ease your financial burdens.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a civil action alleging that the defendant bears the liability for the death due to the defendant’s negligence. Negligence typically refers to the actions that the defendant took, but in some cases, the term may also apply to the defendant’s failure to take certain actions. For a wrongful death suit to be successful, your attorney must prove that the other party’s negligence is responsible for the death of your loved one.
Examples of Wrongful Death in Baton Rouge
There are many examples that could potentially point to a wrongful death, and in some cases, more than one party may be liable. For example, a minor who was guilty of driving while intoxicated may cause an accident, but the bartender who allowed a minor to purchase alcoholic drinks and the bar’s owner who failed to ensure that bartenders obeyed the law could possibly be named in the suit as well. In the Baton Rouge area, most wrongful death cases result from one of the following causes.
• Careless or inebriated drivers who cause a car accident that results in the death of another driver, a passenger in their own car, a passenger in another car, a cyclist or a pedestrian
• Defective products, including electronics that cause fires, contaminated foods that result in the consumer’s death and vehicles with defects that lead to fatal accidents
• Accidents involving commercial trucks that were unsafe or operated by unsafe drivers
• Medical malpractice involving misdiagnosis, improper prescriptions, surgical errors, improper treatments or other types of actions or inactions indicating malfeasance
• Over-the-counter or prescription drugs with dangerous side effects, especially if patients and prescribing physicians were not informed of the potential risks
• Work-related diseases, including mesothelioma
• Workplace injuries that result in the immediate or eventual death of the injured party
• Falls caused by slipping or tripping that result in death
• Environmental contamination that leads to the death of someone exposed to the contamination
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit?
Louisiana statutes are quite clear on who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Relationships, which include those established through adoption, are ranked by priority, allowing certain relatives the option to file before the others are permitted to file.
1. The deceased party’s surviving spouse and children have the highest priority although either the children or the spouse can file.
2. The parent or parents of the deceased can file if there is no surviving spouse or child. However, a parent who abandoned the deceased while the deceased was a minor is typically ineligible.
3. The siblings of the deceased may file if the deceased left no surviving child, spouse or parent.
4. Any grandparent of the deceased can file if the deceased left no surviving child, spouse, parent or sibling.
5. The deceased’s estate or succession representative may be able to file if no spouse, child, parent, sibling or grandparent is surviving.
Types of Compensation for Wrongful Death in Baton Rouge
Every wrongful death case is different, so not everyone who files a suit will be eligible for every type of potential compensation. However, the following examples demonstrate the areas of compensation that can be awarded in a wrongful death case.
• Loss of the deceased’s future income
• Pain and suffering
• Funeral expenses
• Medical bills
• Child care
• Financial support
• Lawn care and other types of household assistance
• Loss of companionship
• Personal care
Common Myths About Wrongful Death
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, you need to be sure that you do not fall victim to any of these common misconceptions.
• The insurance companies will offer a fair settlement. Insurance companies are in business to turn a profit, so keeping settlements as low as possible benefits them rather than the family.
• There is plenty of time to file a suit. In the state of Louisiana, you only have one year following the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
• It is not necessary to engage an attorney. Wrongful death cases are complex and require the legal expertise of an attorney. Engaging a lawyer as soon as you suspect that a wrongful death has occurred allows witness statements and other evidence to be collected in a timely manner, gives you the benefit of valuable legal information and helps ensure that you receive the settlement to which you are entitled. Furthermore, your attorney can handle the negotiations with the defending party or parties, freeing you from additional disruptions to your life.
If you believe that you have grounds to file a wrongful death suit, contact an attorney immediately. Look for a lawyer with a proven record in the litigation of wrongful death cases. Collect all of the data that you can, including the deceased’s birth date and date of death, his or her employer’s information, the hospital treating the deceased and the date of the incident that resulted in death. If you have an official death certificate or accident report, let the attorney know what you have. If the deceased contributed to your financial support, be prepared to provide the attorney with an accurate estimate of the amount.
Monetary compensation cannot undo the damage caused by someone else’s negligence. However, it can help you honor your loved one’s memory and provide you with the financial means to recover and maintain your standard of living.
We Also Help Victims of Wrongful Death in these Areas of Louisiana
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Our attorneys will review your case and represent you throughout your wrongful death claim. Contact Broussard & Hart L.L.C. today for help pursuing a wrongful death settlement. Your first consultation is free and we won’t charge fees unless money is recovered.
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