Fatal Car Accidents
Louisiana Wrongful Death Attorneys
Each year, approximately 700 people in Louisiana die in car accidents, reports the Highway Safety Research Group. Survivors and loved ones must face various issues, from funeral arrangements and counseling to financial strain and insurance matters. And it can all be extremely overwhelming, especially in the midst of grief.
While we know nothing can make up for the loss of your loved one, we may be able to help ease the financial strain you are encountering. Call our office and speak to a fatal car accident attorney at no charge about your potential to file a wrongful death claim.
Contact Hoffoss Devall today at 337-433-2053 to explore your legal options and learn how to pursue financial restitution.
What is a wrongful death claim?
In legal terms, a wrongful death is one that results from another person’s actions. Each state provides its own unique wrongful death laws; you can find Louisiana’s in Louisiana Civil Code 2512.2.
The statutes provide that the act that caused the death does not have to be intentional to be “wrongful.” A driver who makes a mistake and accidentally kills someone in a car accident can still be legally liable for negligence.
Family members, often through a lawyer, file wrongful death suits against the person, business, or entity responsible for the death. In the case of a fatal car accident, the family would sue the at-fault driver (or other party liable for the accident) for economic and non-economic losses.
Note: A wrongful death claim is separate from and has no bearing on any criminal case the at-fault driver may be facing, e.g., DUI criminal charges. Wrongful death claims are for the sole benefit of the deceased’s beneficiaries.
Which family members can file a wrongful death claim in LA?
Louisiana statutes stipulate the only the following parties are eligible to file a wrongful death claim:
- The first priority victims are the surviving spouse and children of the deceased. Wrongful death claims are usually on their behalf because they usually sustain the most loss.
- If there is no spouse or children, then the surviving father and mother of the deceased can file.
- If there is no surviving spouse, children, or surviving parents, the surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased can file.
- Finally, if the deceased left no surviving spouse, child, parent, or siblings, then the surviving grandparents of the deceased can file.
The statute recognizes children, parents, siblings, and grandparents by adoption as well.
Can I file a wrongful death claim for my loved one’s fatal car accident?
In order to have a viable wrongful death claim that you can pursue for your loved one’s fatal car accident, you must establish the following:
- The person you are suing (the defendant) caused or contributed to the death of your loved one. This may be the driver of another car, a car manufacturer if some kind of defect caused the accident, or even a city entity if a hazardous roadway contributed to the crash.
- The defendant was somehow negligent when s/he caused the accident. Examples include speeding, driving under the influence, texting while driving, and general inattention.
- Your loved one’s death has caused you monetary losses.
We can help you collect the necessary documentation to prove liability, establish your losses, and demand appropriate compensation.
What kinds of damages can I recover?
There are three general categories of damages you might be able to recover with a fatal car accident wrongful death case:
Economic losses: You can pursue compensation for all the measurable, financial losses you sustain due to losing your loved one. This includes losses such as:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of future wages and benefits
- Medical bills your loved one accrued after the accident before his/her death
- The value of lost household services.
Noneconomic losses: You can also pursue damages for the intangible harms that result from the fatal car accident, such as:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance and support your family will suffer in the absence of your loved one
Punitive damages: If a drunk or intentionally reckless driver caused your loved one’s fatal car accident, you might also be able to collect punitive damages. Judges and juries do not award punitive damages to compensate you for your losses; rather, they award them to punish the wrongdoer for his/her actions and deter future wrongful behavior.
With a wrongful death case, it is very important to work with an attorney to help you accurately calculate the value of your case. You want to make sure that you have accounted for the full extent of your losses to protect your and your family’s futures. Our team collaborates with financial experts to create a clear, comprehensive analysis of the damages you have sustained and fight for fair and full compensation.
Is there a time limit on when I can file a claim after a fatal car accident?
Yes. Louisiana statutes place a one-year time limit on when you are able to take legal action after a fatal car accident. Call our office to discuss your case and determine what your next steps are. The consultation is free and we offer our services on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay us unless you win your case.
Our caring, determined wrongful death lawyers are passionate about helping families seek justice and restitution — and about ensuring that they receive fair compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one. Contact Hoffoss Devall at 337-433-2053 today.