Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

A man holds a single red rose at a funeral of a loved one in Louisiana.

When filing a Louisiana wrongful death case, the types of damages plaintiffs can seek usually fall into two main categories: those generated by the victim before their death, and those suffered by their surviving family because of  their death. 

These damages can include economic damages, with measurable losses, as well as non-economic damages, or subjective losses experienced by the victim and their family. As with any Louisiana personal injury suit, the damages awarded in a wrongful death suit depend on the particulars of the case, including each party’s share of liability, and the extent of your family’s loss.

When someone loses their life due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, their family members or the representative of their estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Louisiana, only the deceased’s closest family members can file a suit, and the civil code defines a one-year statute of limitations for bringing a suit. These facts are important to keep in mind, because every year, thousands of people die due to negligence in the United States. If one of them is your loved one, you need to remember. 

Of all the causes of wrongful death, medical malpractice and car accidents are the most common. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) reports that more than 1 in 5 medical malpractice cases involve wrongful death—and these cases are the most financially devastating. 

In addition, over 42,000 people died on America’s roadways in 2021 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If your loved one has been killed by one of these or another accident, a wrongful death lawyer can help you determine how to file a case and recover damages for your losses.

The Deceased’s Personal Injury Damages

Nearly every wrongful death case would have been a personal injury lawsuit, had the victim survived. Since they didn’t, it’s up to their surviving family members with the assistance of their lawyer to recover the damages they suffered:

  • Medical expenses: If the victim incurred healthcare expenses, such as emergency care and others, before their death, the wrongful death claim can include compensation for these bills.
  • Lost wages: After their death, the victim won’t be able to earn an income to support their family—and the loss of the income from before their death and afterward can be recovered by their loved ones in a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Pain and suffering: Before their death, a wrongful death victim generally suffers pain and suffering from their injuries. The surviving family members can seek compensation for these damages suffered by the victim before their death, in what’s known as a survival action.

Damages That May Be Awarded to the Victim’s Family

After a wrongful death, the victim’s surviving family members also suffer damages that can be recovered by a lawsuit, especially if they are suffering from a child death or even the death of an unborn child. These damages can include both economic damages and those without monetary value:

A Louisiana wrongful death attorneys desk with pen, gavel, glasses, and paperwork.
  • Funeral and burial expenses, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Oftentimes, a wrongful death claim will include damages for the cost of the victim’s funeral and burial.
  • Loss of future wages can provide compensation for family members that relied on the deceased’s income for their living.
  • Loss of consortium, or companionship, which helps compensate the surviving spouse for their severe emotional trauma, and help them seek the help they need to recover.

Who’s Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Suit?

The Louisiana Civil Code defines who can bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of their family member:

  • The surviving spouse or children of the decedent, or the deceased victim; or
  • If the spouse and children have died, the parents of the decedent; or
  • If the spouse, children, and parents have died, the brothers and sisters of the decedent; or
  • If the spouse, children, parents, and siblings have died, the grandparents of the decedent.

In all cases, adopted relations may have the same rights as those of blood or marriage. While the right to bring a suit is heritable, meaning that family members lower on the following list can inherit the right after someone higher up dies, the 1-year statute of limitations does not extend in that case.

Call a Louisiana Wrongful Death Lawyer for Justice for Your Loved One

A woman holds a bunch of white lilies and touches a casket after the loss of a loved one.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent or criminal behavior, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death suit. The experienced team of wrongful death lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are compassionate advocates for our clients, and we can help you determine if you have a case and the possible damages you can seek. Call us today at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your case.

We view every one of our clients as our own family, so you can trust that we will not rest until we’ve helped you find justice for your family member. We’ll help you uncover evidence to prove the other party’s liability, negotiate on your behalf with insurance, and even represent your interests in court. In fact, we promise not to charge you a dime until we win your case—that’s the G Guarantee.