Losing a loved one is hard enough, but losing someone you love to the negligence of another is heartbreaking. No one should have to endure loss because of someone else’s mistake.
Unfortunately, this happens every day. While nothing can bring your loved ones back, you can seek compensation for the pain you’ve suffered. You can get justice for the person you love who can no longer seek justice for themselves.
By holding those responsible accountable for their actions, you can prevent others from falling victim to the same fate in the future.
Here is what you should know about the law, your rights, and what to expect of your legal team as you try to get closure and move forward with your life.
Relatives of the deceased person may file a wrongful death claim when the death is the direct result of negligent behavior.
A wrongful death claim aims to hold the responsible party accountable for the negligent actions which led to your loved one’s loss of life. The claim will come about in a civil action suit, which is any lawsuit between two parties held in civil court. A wrongful death suit does not seek a punishment like jail time or the death penalty. This type of claim is to hold those accountable responsible for their actions which led to a preventable death.
It may seem like an oxymoron, but common law jurisdictions prevent the deceased from filing a lawsuit. A spouse, parent, child, or other close relatives can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Each state has its own laws when it comes to who can file a wrongful death claim and when, so it is best to meet with an attorney to discuss all your options.
In the state of Louisiana, the beneficiaries of the deceased are the only ones can file a claim on behalf of the deceased. The four groups of beneficiaries are spouses and children, parents, siblings, and grandparents – the first beneficiary group of spouses and children is preferable.
The statute of limitations on a wrongful death suit also varies from state to state. In Louisiana, it is one year from the date of death. This means you will need to file your claim before the one-year anniversary for a court to consider it.
You want to make sure your attorney is not only experienced with wrongful death claims but also experienced with this type of claim in your state. As each state may have its own unique laws and requirements, any wrongful death attorney should know all of this information well.
This will ensure your legal team has the best possible chance of seeking justice for you and your loved one. During your first consultation, ask all the questions that come to mind, including questions about your attorney’s past experience with cases like yours.
Another quality to look out for is compassion. While you are seeking to get justice, you are also dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a loved one. Your attorney should be compassionate towards you and express a genuine concern for your situation.
Will filing a wrongful death claim help you heal? In short, the answer is yes. While there is no dollar amount that can compensate for your emotional suffering, holding someone accountable for the wrongful death of your loved one can bring you the closure you need to begin the healing process and move on.
According to David Kessler and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, America’s leading experts on grief and loss, the final step in the five stages of grief is acceptance. Though we may never fully heal from the loss of a loved one, we can begin to rebuild our lives once we have passed through all five stages of grief. In order to achieve acceptance in a wrongful death situation, there needs to be some closure – some recourse for the responsible parties.
It can also help prevent the same incident from affecting another family in the future. For example, in the case of medical malpractice, a particular practice may be commonplace, despite being risky. In the event of a wrongful death lawsuit, the professionals will be more careful and put certain rules in place to prevent such a catastrophic event from happening again.
In cases where the primary income income-earner in a family is a victim of wrongful death, surviving family members may need financial support to prevent falling into debt or poverty. Whatever the reason, filing a wrongful death claim can help you bring justice to your loved one’s memory and help you move forward with your life.