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What is a wrongful death?

If your loved one recently died in Louisiana due to someone’s misconduct or negligence, you may wish to file a wrongful death action against the person responsible. Under Article 2315.2 of the Louisiana statutes, someone dies wrongfully when his or death was someone else’s fault. You may file a wrongful death suit if you are the spouse or child of the decedent or the parent of a deceased child.

Per FindLaw, there are a number of ways in which your loved one’s death was a wrongful death, including the following:

  • An automobile crash caused by a negligent driver
  • Medical malpractice on the part of a physician and/or health care facility
  • An accident at work or exposure to hazardous substances or conditions while at work
  • Criminal behavior on someone’s part

If your loved one died as a result of someone’s criminal behavior, your civil wrongful death action is separate from the criminal charges that prosecutors brought against the alleged perpetrator. Usually the criminal case concludes before you file your wrongful death suit. Be aware that even if the person is acquitted in the criminal case, you can still sue him or her civilly. In addition, your burden of proof is much lower. Prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. In your suit you only need prove that the defendant more likely than not caused your loved one’s death. In other words, your burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence.

What you must prove

To prevail in your wrongful death suit, you must prove the following things:

  • That your loved one died
  • That his or her death resulted from someone’s negligence or intent to harm him or her
  • That you and other family members suffered and are suffering monetary damages because of your loved one’s death
  • That you are the personal representative of the decedent’s estate

If you prevail in your wrongful death suit, the defendant must pay you money to compensate you for your losses, such as for the decedent’s medical and funeral expenses, your loss of the decedent’s support and services, your loss of an expected inheritance from the decedent had (s)she lived, etc.

While no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one, winning your wrongful death suit gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you held the person responsible for his or her death accountable. It also may help you find closure. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC
1101 Westbank Expressway
Gretna, LA 70053

Phone: (504) 500-5000
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