Losing a loved one is always hard, but when the death was senseless, accidental, preventable, or purposeful, the pain is often greatly compounded because the death was not necessary and not expected.
According to Louisiana Civil Code Section 2512.2, a “wrongful death” means that a person has died due to the fault of another. A wrongful death claim filed in the state of Louisiana is brought to collect compensation from the at-fault party or parties—those parties may be a single individual, a hospital, a business, or a government agency. A wrongful death may be caused by an accident, as is often the case in motor vehicle accidents or a purposeful act, as is often the case in a death resulting from an assault or attack.
If your loved one has died due to the negligent, reckless, or criminal act of another, you need a Louisiana wrongful death attorney with experience in these complex cases. Here in Shreveport, the Law Offices of J. Ransdell Keene can help you during this difficult time.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of Louisiana, the following parties may file a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving spouse of the deceased
- The surviving children of the deceased person
- If there are no surviving spouse or children, the surviving parent or parents
- If there are no surviving parents, the surviving siblings of the deceased person
- If there are no surviving siblings, the surviving grandparents of the deceased person
Unlike many states, Louisiana has a very short statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. You only have one year from the date of death to bring a personal injury claim. This is why it is so important to immediately contact a wrongful death attorney when your loved one’s passing is wrongful.
Criminal Case vs. Personal Injury Case
In many wrongful death cases, criminal charges may be brought against the defendant. A drunk driver who kills a person in a car crash after leaving a bar or a party may also face criminal charges of driving under the influence in addition to the wrongful death claim being filed. A trucking company may face criminal charges if it knowingly allowed truck drivers to carry loads over the legal limit or to drive beyond the time limits allowed by law. While both the criminal and personal injury cases may be based on the same fact, they are separate cases and the family members of the deceased must bring the civil claim. You cannot rely on the state.
A criminal case does not prevent the filing of a wrongful death claim, and a wrongful death claim does not affect the outcome of a criminal case. It’s important to understand the difference, and your attorney will be able to explain the differences to you as you work together on your wrongful death claim.