Normally our morning and evening commutes are uneventful and are simply part of the day-to-day routine. But this routine can be shattered if you are waiting for your loved one to return home after work only to learn they have been killed in a car crash on the way.
This type of tragedy, unfortunately, happens to many families in Louisiana. Some families who find themselves facing the death of a loved one at the hands of another choose to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action you can pursue following a loved one’s death. The death must have been caused by willfulness or negligence. Negligence occurs when a person owed your loved one a duty, failed to adhere to this duty, and this lack of adherence caused your loved one’s death. You have up to one year from the date your loved one died to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Let’s look at the situation of a fatal crash caused by a drunk driver. All drivers owe a duty to all others on the road to drive predictably and defensively. Drunk driving breaches this duty, as a drunk driver is too impaired to operate a vehicle and make reasonable decisions. We know we cannot safely drive if we have been drinking.
If a drunk driver kills another person in an accident, the victim’s survivors are likely left with identifiable damages. These damages can include loss of income, loss of consortium and funeral and burial costs. The victim’s loved ones can seek compensation from the drunk driver through a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is important to note that wrongful death lawsuits can be sought not just following a car crash, but in other circumstances where your loved one is killed due to the misconduct of another. For example, if your loved one dies due to an act of medical malpractice, unsafe conditions on a construction site or due to chemical exposure over a long period of time, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence, you will want to meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss what happened. The attorney may be able to advise you on your legal options, including the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit.