What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Is there any recourse for you if your loved one dies because of the negligence of someone else, say, in a car accident, trucking accident or due to a botched operation?
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When someone dies as the result of the negligence or intentional actions of another, the surviving members of the victim’s family can bring a civil lawsuit for “wrongful death” against the person legally liable for causing the person’s death.
Which of the surviving members of the victim’s family can actually bring the wrongful death lawsuit, (i.e., who can be the “representative”) varies from state to state. If you want to know more about Louisiana’s wrongful death statute, contact us.
Many wrongful death actions arise out of accidents, fights, medical malpractice or criminal activity. A wrongful death claim can stem from almost any kind of personal injury situation. Wrongful death actions allow the decedent’s representative to get money damages (for the estate) caused by the tort (i.e., the “wrong” of causing the victim’s death).
In addition, a decedent’s representative may be able to recover for the pain and suffering that the victim endured before death. This is because the personal injury action survives the death of the person who suffered the injury. “Survival actions” as they are called, can be brought to get compensation for the pain and suffering the victim endured.
What Types of Damages Can You Get?
Damages in a wrongful death action are “pecuniary” or financial. The money recovered can be for things such as the loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance or medical and funeral expenses.
What Do You Need to Prove?
If your wrongful death claim is based on negligence, as opposed to an intentional act, like a fight or a murder, you will need to prove that the defendant:
- Owed the decedent a duty of care, and
- that the defendant breached that duty of care, and
- this breach actually caused decedent’s harm, which
- caused decedent damage.
This is generally known as duty, breach, causation and damages. So, for example, if your loved one died because he was hit by a car while properly crossing the road in a crosswalk, in your wrongful death action you would have to prove that the driver of the car owed decedent a duty to drive with due care, that she breached that duty (for example, because she was texting and driving and not paying attention to the road ), that this breach actually caused decedent’s injuries and death. Damages will be presumed because your loved one died.
Both wrongful death and survival actions are creatures of statute and they are strictly governed by state law, which means that the laws can vary from state to state.
Need to Know More? We’re Here for You.
If your loved one died at the hands of someone else and you are wondering whether you can bring a wrongful death action, call us. At the Day Law Group, our clients are more than just cases to us: they are people who need our help. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Contact us ToDay or call (225) 200-0000.