5 Steps to Initiate a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana
Louisiana’s Wrongful Death Law
Louisiana has its own unique legal code, different from many other states. So if you have read about or been informed about wrongful death law in another state—go ahead and throw that out the window. This is why it can pay to seek legal help from an experienced wrongful death law firm in Baton Rouge like Williamson Fontenot Campbell & Whittington. Louisiana’s legal code deals with the issue in Acts 1986, No. 211, §2; Acts 1997, No. 1317, §1, eff. July 15, 1997.
Art. 2315.2. Wrongful death action
- If a person dies due to the fault of another, suit may be brought by the following persons to recover damages which they sustained as a result of the death:
(1) The surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased, or either the spouse or the child or children.
(2) The surviving father and mother of the deceased, or either of them if he left no spouse or child surviving.
(3) The surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, or parent surviving.
(4) The surviving grandfathers and grandmothers of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, parent, or sibling surviving.
- The right of action granted by this Article prescribes one year from the death of the deceased.
- The right of action granted under this Article is heritable, but the inheritance of it neither interrupts nor prolongs the prescriptive period defined in this Article.
- As used in this Article, the words “child”, “brother”, “sister”, “father”, “mother”, “grandfather”, and “grandmother” include a child, brother, sister, father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother by adoption, respectively.
- For purposes of this Article, a father or mother who has abandoned the deceased during his minority is deemed not to have survived him.
These are broadly defined, of course, which means there is a great deal of wiggle room in the law. That means the judges have a lot of discretion to determine whether a wrongful death suit is viable. In addition, they also have more discretion regarding how much restitution is owed.
Average Damages for a Wrongful Death Suit in Louisiana
Damages can be prescribed to cover both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include funeral and burial expenses. And they also include medical expenses related to the deceased person’s injury, lost wages/benefits, property damage bills, etc.
Non-economic losses are less defined. And that includes damages awarded for pain and suffering the deceased person suffered in their final moments. Also, it includes the loss of care, companionship, guidance, and emotional support which family members suffer.
There is precious little data available about average settlement or damage amounts when it comes to Wrongful Death suits. And this makes sense since it is a complicated issue that involves a lot of sensitive feelings.
When Can a Wrongful Death Case Be Pursued in Louisiana?
There are time limits on wrongful death suits in Louisiana. However, they are not super constricting. You have a full year, usually, from the time of the deceased person’s death, to file a suit in court. If the suit isn’t filed within the time constraint, it’s likely the defendant will file a motion to dismiss. And the judge would likely grant that motion. So, it’s important for you to file motions sooner rather than later. And the experienced lawyers at WFCW can help. Call us at 225-383-4010 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.