Louisiana tort law states that a wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to the fault of another.
The cause may include a negligent act, medical malpractice or intentional act. As a result, certain affected parties can file a claim seeking compensation for their losses.
Parties eligible to file a wrongful death claim
In order of eligibility, the surviving spouse and children, parents, siblings or grandparents can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party for the loss of their loved one. This means parents cannot file unless there the deceased had no surviving spouse or children. Siblings cannot file if there is a surviving parent, and grandparents cannot file if a sibling can. Within each category, family members related by adoption have the same rights.
If a parent abandoned the deceased during their lifetime, the court considers that parent deceased prior to the wrongful death of their child and will not allow them to file a wrongful death claim.
The court recognizes the economic and non-economic impact of a wrongful death. Economic damages cover the financial losses, and non-economic losses reflect the emotional impact. Some recoverable damages include:
- The cost of medical bills incurred before the victim’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income and benefits the deceased provided for their household
- The loss of inheritance
- The loss of companionship, love, nurturing, care, society and guidance the deceased provided
Every wrongful death case has unique circumstances that can impact the value of the claim. Most cases end in settlement.