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What are the components in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Posted in Our Blog,Wrongful death on February 26, 2016

Although every wrongful death lawsuit is different, there are some elements that all of them must contain. In Louisiana, if these elements are not present, plaintiffs will have a very difficult time recovering money relating to the death of their loved one. This article will discuss the four necessary components of all wrongful death claims.

First and foremost, it must be established that a human being died. Secondly, the death needs to have been caused by another person or party’s negligence. Alternatively, the death needs to have been caused by the intention to cause harm – which might be through criminal activity or violent acts. Thirdly, there must exist surviving family members who suffered a financial injury due to the loss of their loved one. Fourthly, a personal representative must have been appointed to the deceased person’s estate.

Since all of these elements must be present in a wrongful death claim in order for the plaintiff to succeed, it then becomes the attorney’s job to prove that these elements are present in the case that he or she is representing. For this reason, cause of death is vitally important in any wrongful death action. Also, a large part of a wrongful death claim involves proving the amount of financial damages that loved ones have incurred as a result of their family member’s death are important to identify. Those financial damages might include, lost family income, lost future income, lost future inheritance, lost family relationships, emotional pain and suffering, and a whole lot more.

In Louisiana, wrongful death actions often come about after a person dies due to medical malpractice. Automobile and airplane accidents are also causes of wrongful death lawsuits. Other causes include: occupational exposure, violent criminal behavior, and deaths that happened during supervised activities like team sports or other group events.

Following a wrongful death, Louisiana residents should speak with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible if they wish to pursue claims for damages. Partly, this is because statutes of limitation apply to all wrongful death claims. What this means is that family members will only have a set period of time in which to file their claim, or they will be forever barred from doing so.