Wrongful Death Attorney in Lafayette

People in Lafayette, Louisiana are sometimes killed by other people because of negligence or criminal acts. When deaths are caused by negligent or intentional conduct, the surviving family members may file wrongful death lawsuits against those whose actions caused their loved ones’ deaths. These cases may be filed at the same time or following criminal cases that may also be filed against the defendants. By getting help from an experienced wrongful death attorney in Lafayette, you may be able to hold the person who caused your loved one’s death accountable for his or her actions.

Contact Us at 337-439-2450 or fill out the form below.

What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death refers to a type of civil lawsuit that is filed against people who cause the deaths of others through negligence, failures to act or criminal acts. Since these cases proceed under the civil law, they are allowed to proceed at the same time as criminal cases that are filed against the defendants for the same conduct. However, civil cases have a lower burden of proof than do criminal cases. In a civil wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiffs have to prove their cases by a preponderance of the evidence. By contrast, criminal prosecutors must prove that the defendants committed crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, which is more difficult. It is possible in some cases for plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits to win their cases even if the defendants are found not guilty in their criminal matters. One example of this is the case of O.J. Simpson, who was famously found not guilty in his criminal case but was found to be liable in the civil lawsuit that was filed against him for the deaths of his wife and her friend.

Why people should get legal help in wrongful death cases

As O.J. Simpson’s case demonstrates, the high burden of proof that is required to convict people of crimes sometimes means that people who have caused the deaths of others may not be prosecuted or may be found not guilty in criminal cases. Civil wrongful death lawsuits may offer a way for the family members to get justice for what happened to their loved ones by holding the defendants liable to pay damages. Wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to helping their clients to prevail in their claims so that they may be compensated for the losses that they have suffered because of the actions of the wrongful or negligent perpetrators.

Common misconceptions about wrongful death

Many people have mistaken beliefs about wrongful death lawsuits, including the following:

• It is easy to win a wrongful death case;
• The insurance company will reach a quick settlement;
• Wrongful death cases always end up in long trials; and
• People don’t need to get help from an experienced lawyer.

Insurance companies often mount strong defense cases against wrongful death claims. While the burden of proof is lower in civil cases, that does not mean that wrongful death cases are easy to win. Instead, these cases often are complex and require extensive preparation. Experienced attorneys may have a clear understanding of the legal principles that are involved and the legal elements that must be proven to prevail in the case. While some wrongful death lawsuits do end up going to trial, the vast majority eventually are settled beforehand.
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Louisiana defines who may file wrongful death lawsuits in the Louisiana Civil Code § 2315.2. The parties who are allowed to file include the following:

• Surviving spouses and the children of the deceased
• Parents of the deceased if there are no surviving spouses or children
• Siblings of the deceased if there are no surviving parents, spouses or children
• Surviving grandparents if there are no surviving parents, siblings, spouses or children

How you may be entitled to wrongful death damages

Survivors may be entitled to compensation for the losses that they have suffered because of the deaths of their loved one. These damages may include the following:

• Medical expenses incurred in caring for the decedents before they died
• Funeral and burial expenses
• The loss of the decedent’s income and benefits
• Property losses
• The physical pain and suffering that was experienced by the decedent leading up to his or her death
• The value of household services that the decedent provided
• The loss of companionship, guidance and care that was provided by the decedent

Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in Lafayette

There is a one-year statute of limitations in Louisiana for wrongful death cases. This means that you must file a lawsuit within one year of the date of your loved one’s death. If you don’t meet this deadline, your ability to recover damages may be foreclosed. Contact our office today to learn about the rights that you might have.


We Also Help Victims of Wrongful Death in these Areas of Louisiana

Alexandria | New Orleans | Lake Charles | Baton Rouge | Lafayette | Shreveport

Contact Us at 337-439-2450 or fill out the form below.