There is perhaps nothing more devastating than the unexpected loss of a loved one. This loss can be all the more overwhelming and painful if you believe that your loved one’s death could have and should have been prevented if not for the negligent or intentional action of someone else.
At Rusty Messer & Associates, we are committed to helping our clients in the wake of the unthinkable. We know that you are overcome with loss, and we are here to help you through the legal aspects of your case so that you and your loved ones can find justice and financial support even as you mourn.
We want you to know that you could secure both legal justice and compensation if your loved one’s death was due to another person or party’s:
- Negligence or gross negligence.
- Reckless behavior.
- Intentional behavior.
We offer a free, private legal consultation. This can simply be a time where you can tell your story and ask your legal questions to an experienced, compassionate attorney. It can also be a time when we plan legal action against the entities that contributed to your loved one’s death.
THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF WRONGFUL DEATH CASES
In the U.S., unintentional injuries caused in accidents are the fourth leading cause of death behind only heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases. However, not every death due to unintentional injury is a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit – however, many are.
Wrongful death cases can take on many different forms. Technically, any death that is caused by another party’s negligence or direct intention can be followed by a civil lawsuit. But some types of wrongful death cases are more common than others. In both the United States and Louisiana, the following wrongful death cases are most common:
Traffic accident deaths. Each year in the United States, more than 30,000 people are killed in traffic accidents. While some of these accidents don’t involve negligence, a significant number are due to other parties, from other drivers to auto manufacturers, to trucking companies to mechanics to municipalities.
Medical malpractice deaths. In the United States, it is estimated that at least 90,000 people die each year due to preventable medical mistakes and medical malpractice. Yet only a fraction of these deaths is followed by loved ones seeking settlements or filing lawsuits. Getting justice after a fatal medical mistake is one way medical mistakes can be prevented in the future.
Dangerous and defective drug deaths. Even with FDA regulations, there are thousands of deaths due to defective drugs and negligent pharmaceutical companies. There are a number of class action lawsuits against companies that have broken the law by improperly selling and marketing dangerous drugs or failing to warn of problems they know are caused by the drugs they sell.
Nursing home neglect and abuse death. Our elder loved ones deserve the best care in their final years. Yet nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse are not only common, but often deadly. These cases often involve falls, bedsores, medical restraints, assaults, and malnutrition.
Premises liability cases (slip and fall). If a deadly accident occurs on someone else’s property, and the accident should have or could have been prevented by the property owner, they may be liable for the death. Slip and fall accidents are just one subset of premises liability accidents, which could involve falling objects, assaults, drownings, or animal attacks.
Work accidents. On the job accidents happen every day, even with all state and federal regulations in place to keep workers safe. Some fatal work accidents occur because of worker negligence, but others are due to employers who are reckless or negligent – or simply cutting corners to increase profits.
Homicides and manslaughter. It’s important to note that if someone intentionally, fatally harms a loved one, you can file a civil suit and collect wrongful death damages. This is a separate legal action from any criminal charge that may be filed.
These are just a few of the most common causes of death in wrongful death cases. No matter the type of accident or death, if you believe that your loved one’s death should have or could have been prevented, you should speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney about your case.
WHO CAN LEGALLY FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT IN LOUISIANA?
Louisiana has special state laws regarding who can file a wrongful death claim. These laws not only specify who can file a claim against the at-fault parties, but also when they can file. Here’s what you need to know.
The representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a “survival action,” which can recover certain types of damages owed to the deceased person for the physical and economic injuries he or she incurred. In contrast, a “wrongful death claim” belongs to the relatives of the deceased person for the damages they incurred as a result of the person’s death. The right to bring these claims would generally belong to the following:
- The surviving spouse and children of the deceased person are first in line to file suit.
- The siblings of the deceased person would be next in line.
- If the deceased person did not have any of the above, the grandparents would be next.
- Lastly, the deceased person’s succession would have the right to bring a survival action.
Because any wrongful death claims would have to brought within one year of person’s death, it is very important to act quickly after your loved one’s death to make certain they get the justice they deserve, and you get the compensation you need. Even if you are not sure if you are legally allowed to file, and even if you aren’t sure if you have a valid wrongful death claim, speaking to a Louisiana wrongful death attorney can help you get the answer you need and reveal your best options for action.
WHAT DAMAGES ARE AVAILABLE WHEN FILING A LOUISIANA WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
We lose so much when we lose a person that we love. But while most people are overcome with grief because of their lost dreams and their lost futures, it’s important to keep in mind the wide range of damages that occur when someone is taken from our lives unfairly and unexpectedly. In a Louisiana wrongful death case, you can sue liable parties for several types of damages, including:
Funeral expenses. Funerals, memorials, burials, and cremations can be very expensive, especially for families who were not expecting a loss.
Related medical costs. In many wrongful death cases, loved ones spend time in the hospital before they pass away. These medical costs should be compensated by the at-fault parties.
Loss of future wages. If your loved one was a breadwinner, you may be owed his or her future expected wages so that you can still support your family. If your loved one contributed around the house (for example, cleaning and childcare), you may also be compensated for those losses.
Loss of benefits. You may have lost benefits along with your loved one, such as lost life insurance and lost health insurance. These should be covered in damages.
Loss of companionship. Although it can be difficult to put a monetary value on the loss of care, assistance, protection, and affection that you lost when you lost your loved one, you can receive compensation for these damages in court.
In certain situations, you may be able to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are a monetary award taken from the at-fault party to punish them for their negligence or recklessness. For example, you may seek punitive damages from a drug company that knowingly sold a dangerous prescription drug, in order to better ensure that the company stops its illegal practices in the future.
PROVING A LOUISIANA WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
To recover in a wrongful death claim you must prove the majority of fault belonged to the other party and not to the deceased. Just as with all personal injury lawsuits in Louisiana, proving fault means proving whether the defendant breached a duty of care owed to the affected person and whether this breach caused injuries and death to the deceased.
Secondly, a person must prove the amount of damages they believe they are owed. This can be calculated with the help of your legal team and experts who specialize in determining damages. One of the biggest mistakes families make when settling wrongful death claims is not realizing the extent of their damages and accepting much less money than they are owed under the law.
CONTACT A BATON ROUGE WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY TODAY FOR A FREE, PRIVATE CONSULTATION
We understand that you are likely not thinking first and foremost about legal actions following the death of your loved one. That’s why we are here: we take the burden of your loved one’s legal proceedings off of your shoulders and make certain that their rights and your rights are protected, every step of the way.
Our team of experienced, thoughtful, and thorough attorneys are here for you, from determining whether you have a wrongful death claim, to filing the claim, to settling the case or going to court. We are committed to answering your questions, analyzing your best options for legal action, and making certain that you get what you deserve fairly under the law.
Rusty Messer & Associates offers confidential, complimentary consultations for families who have lost a loved one. Call our office today at (225) 963-9638 to find out more about our legal services or schedule your meeting with a Louisiana wrongful death attorney.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER TODAY
The law firm of Rusty Messer & Associates handles all types of personal injury claims in Louisiana. We also handle claims and cases related to immigration, felony criminal defense, and family law. Our decades of Louisiana personal injury law experience allows us to successfully represent all of our clients with a personalized hands-on approach.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that was caused by the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of another person or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an attorney at Rusty Messer & Associates today at (225) 963-9368 to schedule a free consultation.
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