Lafayette, Louisiana Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help When Your Loved One Has Died As The Result Of Someone Else’s Negligence
LOUISIANA WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS
Did you lose a loved one in a devastating accident? For death caused by medical malpractice, death caused by defective products, and accidental death, those left behind often struggle to make sense of their loved one’s passing due to the negligence of a third party. From financial burdens associated with the sudden loss to the emotional trauma and grief, the pain is too much. After the wrongful death of a loved one, whether due to automobile accident, helicopter accident, or any other trauma, you have the right to sue the person or company who was negligent.
The loss of a loved one is hard enough but when that death is caused due to the fault or neglect of another individual or company, it can make the loss almost unbearable.
There are often financial burdens associated with the death of a loved one – funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income are just a few. Facing this financial burden is one thing but often the surviving family members are primarily concerned with obtaining justice for their loved one’s memory. They want to make sure the death is not forgotten and to make sure that no one else has to suffer the loss of a family member the same way.
At St.Pe’ Law, we have handled wrongful death cases which have resulted from auto accidents, offshore/maritime accidents, helicopter accidents, products liability and medical malpractice. We understand the emotional issues go far beyond the case. Money and civil damages are rarely the issue. Justice for that loved one is always the issue.
Because our law firm has such a large nursing home practice, and because the elderly are always more susceptible to death from an injury, we have probably handled more wrongful death cases than most lawyers and law firms.
Under Louisiana law there are basically three (3) types of cases that arise when a person is killed through the fault of another party. Two (2) of these are codified under Louisiana statutory law. The first is called the Survival Action found in La. Civil Code Art. 2315.1. This is the cause of action the deceased person would have had under our law, had they survived. Upon their death, it passes to the family members in a very specific order. The surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased are the first individuals with the right to bring the claim. If there are no surviving spouse and/or children then the deceased’s mother and father are the next class who obtain the right. Thereafter it passes to brothers and sisters if there are no surviving mother and father and to grandparents if there are no surviving brothers and sisters. The types of damages contemplated under the survival action are things such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, medical bills.
Many lawyers who are not familiar with the intricacies of handling wrongful death cases fail to realize the significance of the survival action and that it is an intrical part of the overall wrongful death case.
The second type of case is the actual Wrongful Death Action codified under La. Civil Code Art. 2315.2. This passes to the survivors of the deceased individual in the same manner as the survival action. It contemplates damages for the surviving individuals’ loss. In other words, damages that the surviving spouse, child, parent or sibling has endured because of the death of their loved one. Because of this, it is a very individual type of claim.
The best way to think about and distinguished two (2) types of cases described above, Survival Action and Wrongful Death Action, is that the Survival Action are damages for the deceased individual’s personal injuries and the Wrongful Death Action are damages for the surviving individuals having lost a loved one.
The third type of case is the “Lost Chance of Survival” Action. This legal theory comes from Louisiana jurisprudence. It provides that the survivors may be entitled to damages where the defendant’s conduct was not the sole cause of death but rather caused a lost chance of survival. The typical case involves medical malpractice issues where, for example, a person may have been sick and nearing the end of their life; however, the defendant’s negligence hastens the death.
This is a complex legal theory which in our experience, is difficult for many lawyers and even judges to understand. Kenneth D. St. Pé has tried several lost chance of survival cases including one of the first reported cases, Hanes v. Lifecare Ambulance Services.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s fault or neglect, please give us a call.
The law offices of St.Pe’ Law serve all of Louisiana including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Shreveport and Monroe.