Lafayette Wrongful Death Lawyers

Understanding Louisiana's Wrongful Death Law

At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., we understand that losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult experience. If your family member has recently passed away, we want to express our deepest condolences. We truly empathize with the pain you and your family are going through, and our goal is to assist you in seeking the justice you deserve.

When a loved one's death occurs unexpectedly due to someone else's negligence, you may have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. While no amount of compensation can fully make up for your devastating loss, a fair settlement or verdict can provide you with the financial resources needed to manage unexpected expenses, allowing you to focus on healing and moving forward.

Continue reading to learn more about filing a wrongful death claim in Louisiana, or contact our firm at (337) 222-3526 to schedule a free consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys in Lafayette.

Understanding "Wrongful Death" in Louisiana

"Wrongful death" is a legal term used when an individual's death is caused by the fault of another person or party (La. Civ. Code § 2315.2). In other words, if someone dies due to another person's negligence, recklessness, carelessness, or intentional actions, their death is considered "wrongful."

Wrongful death cases often arise from the following types of accidents and incidents:

  • Vehicle accidents, including car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bus accidents
  • Serious falls, such as slip and fall accidents and falls from heights
  • Dangerous property conditions, like unsafe swimming pools or building code violations
  • Accidents involving dangerous or defective products, including workplace incidents
  • Sports and recreation accidents, such as boating accidents and ATV accidents
  • Assault, battery, homicide, murder, and related violent criminal acts

If your loved one would have had grounds for a personal injury lawsuit had they survived, you (or another eligible party) likely have a wrongful death case.

To learn more, we invite you to contact Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., and request a complimentary case review with a member of our Lafayette wrongful death lawyers.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana?

Louisiana state law specifies who can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Unlike other states where only the personal representative of the deceased individual's estate can bring a wrongful death action, Louisiana allows certain surviving family members to initiate these actions. The law also establishes the order in which these individuals can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

In Louisiana, the following individuals can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit (in order):

  • Surviving spouse and/or children of the deceased
  • Deceased person's parent(s), if there is no surviving spouse or child
  • Deceased person's surviving sibling(s), if there is no surviving parent
  • Deceased person's surviving grandparent(s), if there is no surviving sibling

The law grants permission to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit to both blood relatives and adoptive family members, as well as those related through marriage. However, if the court determines that a parent abandoned the deceased person during childhood, that parent is not allowed to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit for damages.

Types of Damages Available in Louisiana Wrongful Death Claims

Unlike a criminal prosecution, which seeks criminal penalties against the party responsible for another person's death, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case. In civil litigation, the party bringing the claim (referred to as the "plaintiff") seeks monetary compensation for specific losses (referred to as "damages"). The types of damages recoverable in a Louisiana wrongful death case are defined by state law.

In Louisiana, you can seek compensation for the following types of wrongful death damages:

  • Medical expenses related to the deceased person's treatment and care for the injuries or illness that led to their death
  • "Reasonable and necessary" funeral/burial expenses
  • Loss of expected earnings, income, and employment benefits, including retirement or pension contributions
  • Loss of expected inheritance, including contributions the deceased person would have made if they had lived
  • Reasonable value of household services and support the deceased person provided and would have continued to provide
  • Loss of comfort, care, companionship, counsel, guidance, love, and emotional support
  • Grief and anguish experienced by the survivor due to the individual's death

While there is no universal cap on economic or non-economic damages in wrongful death cases in Louisiana, the state's limit on medical malpractice damages may apply in wrongful death actions resulting from medical malpractice and negligence. For more information, reach out to our wrongful death lawyers in Lafayette today.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana?

The time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana is one year from the date of death. If this time limit, known as the "statute of limitations," expires before you file your lawsuit, you will likely lose your right to seek damages from the responsible party.

It is crucial to act promptly. The sooner you contact our Lafayette wrongful death attorneys, the sooner we can begin gathering evidence and building your case. We encourage you to get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

Rely on Our Compassionate & Personalized Support

When you and your family are navigating the aftermath of a tragic loss, you need the support and guidance of a trusted legal team. At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., our wrongful death attorneys in Lafayette genuinely care about helping you achieve the justice you need to heal.

We understand that no amount of financial recovery can erase the pain, suffering, and trauma your family has endured. However, by holding the responsible party accountable, you can help prevent others from experiencing the same fate. Additionally, a fair settlement or verdict can alleviate unexpected financial burdens, allowing your family to focus on honoring your loved one and moving forward.

As your legal team, we will be there for you every step of the way. Since our firm's establishment in 2007, Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. has been dedicated to assisting individuals and families throughout Southern Louisiana and nearby areas in seeking fair compensation when they have been harmed by the negligence and wrongful actions of others. We are proud to serve our community and are ready to learn how we can support you and your family.

Call (337) 222-3526 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no attorney fees unless we win your case.

The Doran & Cawthorne Difference

  • Relief

    An injury is a devastating thing to have to deal with and a legal case on top of it can seem impossible. Our firm’s personal injury attorneys are able to offer peace of mind when you know that someone with experience and commitment is handling the situation.

  • Litigation

    When a case can’t be worked out through negotiation, Doran & Cawthorne has no qualms about taking the matter to court. Whether before a judge, or jury, we will gather the evidence necessary to present your case before the fact-finder in the best light.

  • Negotiations

    It is all too common for insurance companies to offer less than what they know to be fair. Our lawyers will negotiate on your behalf, and won’t compromise for anything less than the amount they know you should be receiving.

  • Results

    Our lawyers don’t just talk it…we strive to deliver. You can rest assured you’ll have experienced personal injury counsel with Doran & Cawthorne on your side.

  • Experience

    Having handled hundreds, if not thousands of injury cases in Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere, we can assess the best options for each case.

  • Advice

    Our firm’s attorneys will guide you in the right direction to make sure your case is developed effectively to your advantage.

    This law firm is literally a force to be reckoned with!

    “They were sincerely concerned about my best interest and kept me informed all along the way. They did not skip a beat in their knowledge and efficiency. In the end, I most definitely came out on top!”

    - Rachaell D.
    Thank you for doing the good work, Doran & Cawthorne!

    “Doran & Cawthorne is a firm that puts clients first. The attorneys are passionate about their work. The staff is caring, diligent, and efficient in getting the job done. I recommend this firm to all of my family and friends.”

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    Recommended to all those who need real talk and results.

    “I was treated with respect and dignity as they realized this case meant a lot to me. I was counseled and represented with confidence and pride.”

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    “If you're ever in need of an attorney to bite down on the law on your behalf, I recommend Doran & Cawthorne. Not only are you treated with dignity but also welcomed with TRUE concern & compassion.”

    - Anita J.
    They make all the difference.

    “The Doran and Cawthorne team was diligent and a delight to work with. Their genuine concern and care are unparalleled. I recommend them to everyone!”

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