Shreveport Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you’ve just lost a loved one due to an accident, illness, or injury, we offer our sincerest condolences for you and your family’s loss. Losing a family member through a traumatic accident is one of the hardest ordeals anyone can go through.
When your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence or malice, your grief can morph into anger or another strong emotion. While nothing can repair the depths of your pain after losing a family member, a Shreveport personal injury lawyer can help you when you’re ready to explore your legal options.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death refers to any death caused by someone’s violence, neglect, or carelessness. Louisiana law allows for family members of wrongful death victims to file suit and seek justice on the deceased’s behalf.
Tragically, not all accidental deaths qualify for wrongful death claims. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to hire an adept Shreveport wrongful death lawyer to provide legal advice and represent your loved one’s interests.
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Family Members Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Shreveport
Louisiana law defines a specific order of family members who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim:
- The surviving spouse or children of the deceased or
- The surviving parents of the deceased, if both spouse and children have died or
- The surviving siblings of the deceased, if spouse, children, and parents have all died or
- The surviving grandparents of the deceased, if spouse, children, parents, and siblings have all died
All of these relations also include adoptive relations of the same degree. The statute also stipulates a 1-year statute of limitations on bringing a wrongful death claim to court. This right of action is heritable, meaning it can pass down the list if previous rights holders die. However, the statute of limitations does not extend past the original year.
Common Negligences Resulting in Wrongful Death
Under Louisiana law, wrongful death is defined as death “due to the fault of another,” either another person or an entity like a corporation. Causes of wrongful deaths include intentional acts such as crimes, and negligence, or inaction:
- Injuries during childbirth
- Medical malpractice
- Truck accidents, car accidents, and motorcycle accidents
- Defective products
- Slips and falls, and other premises accidents
- Occupational hazards or exposure
- Neglect and abuse in nursing homes or assisted living care facilities
- Criminal acts, like shootings or stabbings
Damages You Could Be Awarded After a Wrongful Death Claim
The monetary funds and other considerations awarded plaintiffs after a successful wrongful death case are known as damages. There are three main categories of damages that are awarded to wrongful death victims’ families:
The monetary costs and hardships suffered by the victim’s surviving family are economic damages, and can be recovered. They may include the following:
- Medical bills incurred before the victim’s death
- Funeral costs and burial costs incurred after their death
- Loss of medical insurance, retirement benefits, or other benefits of the deceased
- Loss of future income from the deceased
- Loss of inheritance
If you’ve lost a loved one, many of the damages you’ve incurred will be without an exact economic value. These non-economic damages are so-named because they’re considered priceless or otherwise outside of monetary worth, such as
- Emotional anguish, pain, and suffering, also referred to as a survival claim
- Loss of companionship with the deceased
- Loss of consortium with the deceased
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Rarely, courts will award punitive damages to a plaintiff in a wrongful death case. Instead of compensating the plaintiff for their losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and dissuade them from the behavior that led to the wrongful death. Punitive damages are usually only awarded in cases of extreme negligence or wrongdoing.
Proving Your Shreveport Wrongful Death Lawsuit
As the plaintiff in your wrongful death case, you and your lawyer will need to prove four facts in order to establish the defendant’s liability in your loved one’s death:
- Negligence. The wrongful death must have been caused by the defendant’s careless, reckless, or otherwise negligent actions.
- Breach of duty. The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the victim, and have breached that duty through their actions or inaction. Some examples of this duty include the responsibility doctors have to their patients, or drivers’ responsibilities to other road users.
- Causation. The defendant’s breach of duty must have caused the victim’s death, either in whole or in part.
- Damages. Finally, the victim’s death must have caused quantifiable damages to their surviving family.
Proving each of these facts requires strong and conclusive evidence, and all of them must be proved to be eligible for wrongful death damages. Evidence can include a police report, photographs of the scene, witness testimony, hospital bills, and other documentation. Even in the best of circumstances, proceedings can be complex.
A knowledgeable wrongful death claim lawyer in Shreveport can help you collect evidence, find and call witnesses, build your case, and finally prove your claim. While no amount of money can return your loved one back to life, holding the responsible party accountable can help you start to heal.
Call a Shreveport Wrongful Death Attorney Today
You could be experiencing a mix of emotions after the wrongful death of a loved one, including grief, frustration, and anger. You deserve compensation to pay for their funeral and recover other costs, and to account for your immeasurable grief. Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys understands your feelings, and we’re here to help you recover a wrongful death settlement so you can continue on.
If you’re mourning a loved one’s unjust passing, call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys’ team of Louisiana wrongful death lawyers in Shreveport at 318.888.8888 for a free consultation. We’ll listen to what happened, and provide consolation and legal advice as to next steps. Our team of Shreveport wrongful death lawsuit attorneys will get started on your case right away, and you won’t owe us a dime until you win your case.
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