Lafayette Wrongful Death Attorney

Helping Families Through This Difficult Time

In the wake of a tragic loss, navigating the legal complexities of wrongful death can compound the emotional turmoil families endure. At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., we understand the immense burden that accompanies such devastating circumstances. 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.

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 to describe a situation in which a person dies due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party. This legal concept allows surviving family members or beneficiaries to pursue a civil lawsuit against the responsible party or parties for monetary damages resulting from the loss of their loved one.

In Louisiana, to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs (usually surviving family members) must typically prove the following elements:

  1. Death of a Person: The first and most obvious element is the death of an individual. This death must be attributed to the actions or negligence of another party.
  2. Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased individual and that this duty was breached through negligent or wrongful actions. For example, in a car accident case, the defendant may have breached their duty of care by driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol.
  3. Causation: The plaintiff must establish a causal connection between the defendant's breach of duty and the death of the deceased individual. In other words, they must prove that the defendant's actions directly led to the fatal outcome.
  4. Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they have suffered measurable damages as a result of the wrongful death. These damages can include financial losses such as medical expenses and funeral costs, as well as non-economic losses such as loss of companionship, guidance, and support.

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?

In Louisiana, the law specifies certain individuals who are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These individuals are typically referred to as "survivors" under Louisiana's wrongful death statutes. The eligible parties who can bring forth a wrongful death claim include:

  • Surviving Spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased individual has the primary right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana. If there is no surviving spouse, the surviving children of the deceased may have the right to file the lawsuit.
  • Surviving Children: If the deceased individual does not have a surviving spouse, their surviving children have the right to bring a wrongful death claim. If there are multiple surviving children, they may file the lawsuit jointly.
  • Surviving Parents: If the deceased individual is unmarried and childless, their surviving parents may have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This right typically extends to both biological and adoptive parents.
  • Surviving Siblings: In some cases, if there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, the right to file a wrongful death claim may extend to the surviving siblings of the deceased individual.

Types of Damages Available in Louisiana Wrongful Death Claims

In Louisiana, wrongful death lawsuits aim to compensate surviving family members for the losses they have suffered due to the untimely death of a loved one. These damages typically fall into two main categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Understanding the types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit is crucial for ensuring that surviving family members receive fair compensation for their losses.

Economic Damages

  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: Surviving family members may be compensated for the reasonable costs associated with the deceased individual's funeral and burial arrangements. This can include expenses such as caskets, burial plots, cremation, memorial services, and related costs.
  • Medical Expenses: If the deceased incurred medical expenses as a result of the incident leading to their death, surviving family members may seek compensation for these costs. This can include hospital bills, emergency room fees, surgical procedures, medication costs, and other medical expenses directly related to the injury or illness that led to death.
  • Lost Financial Support: Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for the financial support they would have received from the deceased individual had they survived. This can include lost income, benefits, and other forms of financial support that the deceased would have provided to their family members.
  • Lost Household Services: If the deceased performed household services, such as cooking, cleaning, childcare, maintenance, or other domestic tasks, surviving family members may seek compensation for the value of these lost services.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and Suffering: Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain, suffering, and mental anguish experienced by the deceased individual before their death. This can include compensation for any conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased as a result of the incident that led to their death.
  • Loss of Companionship: Surviving family members may seek compensation for the loss of companionship, guidance, and affection they would have received from the deceased had they survived. This can include compensation for the emotional support, love, and companionship that the deceased provided to their family members.
  • Loss of Consortium: In some cases, surviving spouses may be entitled to compensation for the loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of marital companionship, intimacy, and support resulting from the death of their spouse.
  • Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress: Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for the mental anguish, emotional distress, and psychological trauma they have suffered as a result of the death of their loved one.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases involving extreme negligence or intentional misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.

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.

Rely on Our Compassionate & Personalized Support

The legal process surrounding wrongful death claims can be complex and overwhelming for grieving families. At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., we strive to alleviate the burden by providing clear guidance and open communication every step of the way. From negotiating with insurance companies to litigating in the courtroom, our experienced attorneys are prepared to advocate fiercely for our clients' rights and interests.

Call (337) 222-3526 or contact us online to let our firm fight for you while you get through this trying time.

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!”

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    “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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