When we say goodbye to our loved ones in the morning, we fully expect we’ll be saying hello to them again soon.
The shock and the pain associated with realizing that “goodbye” was the last time you would see them again is almost too much to handle. Grief is a powerful emotion, and just when you’re completely lost in it and think it can’t get any worse, you hear about how that person died — and now you’re wondering if someone’s carelessness or recklessness is to blame. It might all seem like too much to deal with, logistically and emotionally, but death caused by negligence should be taken seriously. It’s not about blame or anger, but about justice — holding the responsible parties accountable in a way that can help you get back on your feet while also preventing this devastation from happening to another family.
Of course, money doesn’t bring anyone back and it cannot make up for your loss, but it is the legal system’s way of addressing what happened to you. In a typical wrongful death suit, the following damages might be awarded:
- Expenses associated with the funeral and burial
- Medical bills incurred immediately following the injury
- Any pain or suffering felt by the victim after the incident
- Anguish of the survivors
- Loss of income, now that the victim has died and is no longer earning
- Loss of companionship or parental guidance.
Each state has laws dictating who is authorized to bring a wrongful death case. Legally known as “standing,” Louisiana gives priority to make a claim to the victim’s spouse or child. If the victim has neither, the right passes to his or her parents, then siblings, then grandparents. If the victim has none of these next-of-kin, then the claim lapses under the assumption that there are no closely-related parties affected by the loss.
Louisiana law also provides for a one-year statute of limitations. That means you have one year from the day of the victim’s death to bring a lawsuit. While it’s easy to get caught up in your grieving and overlook the potential reality that you have suffered compensable damage, time is of the essence. To get the help you need, talk to friends and family about how you feel — and talk to an attorney soon about what can be done to resolve your claim. Building a viable case takes time. An attorney will need to gather information, talk to witnesses, prepare documents, and more.
It’s always best to give as much information as possible so the attorney can get a sense of the big picture. Each case is unique, so each detail is potentially significant. A wrongful death claim has its basis in negligence, which means certain elements have to be proven in order for it to be successful. Additionally, there may be more than one liable party. For example, if a drunk driver causes a fatal motor vehicle accident on a defectively designed roadway, recovery should be sought against both the driver and the engineer. If a defective car part is to also blame, then additional defendants might include the manufacturer, the supplier, the installer, or the mechanics who maintained the car.
Based on the facts given, personal injury attorneys may gauge the potential viability of the claim by examining any possibly applicable insurance policies and by seeking independent professional opinions from accident reconstruction experts or medical experts. Cases where liability is clear are likely to settle during the pre-suit negotiation phase. More typically, a complaint listing the facts is filed and this act officially begins the wrongful death lawsuit. All the defendants named in the complaint have a legal duty at that point to respond within a certain timeframe, thereby commencing the familiar back and forth of paperwork as arguments for both sides are crafted, evidence is presented, and rulings are made.
When an accident occurs and leads to a wrongful death, you need a well-established law firm with an outstanding reputation. Alexandria LA wrongful death lawyer Chris J. Roy Jr., founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm, offers nearly three decades of experience and skilled representation. While the firm is large enough to supply the necessary resources to handle any type of personal injury (including state-of-the-art technology and expert witnesses), it is also small enough to provide the individual attention that your case deserves. Chris J. Roy, Jr. will carefully examine all possible avenues for compensation to make sure you get the best recovery possible and that all responsible parties are held accountable. If someone’s recklessness or carelessness in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Grant Parish, or anywhere in Central Louisiana caused you to lose someone you love, contact trusted advocate Chris J. Roy, Jr. by calling 1-318-487-9537 for a free initial consultation.