A wrongful death lawsuit could start for many reasons. Maybe a loved one died in a hit-and-run accident, the driver was later caught, and you believe the person may have lived if the driver stayed and called 911. Maybe a loved one died in the workplace, and you think unsafe conditions directly caused the accident and the death. Whatever the situation, there are typically two types of damages that can be sought: Pecuniary damages and punitive damages.
Generally speaking, you can think of punitive damages more as a punishment. If the other party did something wrong and it’s very clear – like the hit-and-run noted above – you could seek these damages as a means of showing that the punishment should go beyond jail time, tickets or citations, and the like.
You may be more interested in pecuniary damages, though, which are financial damages to offset the costs that you have on your end. For instance, your loved one may have been taken to the hospital and gotten treatment for a week before passing away, so there could be outstanding medical bills. If your loved one was the breadwinner for the family, you could be facing the loss of all wages and income. Furthermore, you may argue that there are lost future wages; if the person expected to work for years or even decades, that was potential money you were planning to get that you’ll now never see.
Whether you’re seeking punitive damages, pecuniary damages, or a combination of the two in Louisiana, be sure you know your legal rights and how best to present your case.