Office Location: 400 Poydras Tower, Poydras St Suite 1975, New Orleans, LA 70130
Fatal accidents can occur at any time, in any place. If your relative was a victim of one of these accidents, your life can be sent spiraling into chaos. While mourning the loss of your loved one, your and your family must also adapt to a drastic loss of income and loss of support. You may struggle to make ends meet. If the victim was the primary breadwinner for your family, the situation becomes even more dire.
You need help, and you need answers, now.
You need expert guidance straight from a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer.
New Orleans is a vibrant city full of life, but it is not without its dangers. Check out the recent data compiled by Louisiana State University:
- Nearly 730 people die in fatal car crashes in Louisiana each year. That’s an average of 2 per day.
- Lousiaiana has an average of 20 fatal bicycle accidents per year.
- Of the interstates passing through Louisiana, I-10 has consistently had the most deaths.
- Last year, New Orleans accounted for 28.6% of all car accident injuries and 9% of all car accident fatalities throughout Louisiana.
Driver distractions account for more than half of all fatal car accidents in Louisiana, and drunk driving is also a major contributor.
But what can be done for the family members left in the wake of these tragic accidents? A wrongful death claim may be the answer, and a New Orleans personal injury lawyer can help you pick up the pieces. Read on to find out more, or contact us right now for a 100% free consultation. We’re here for you.
What is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New Orleans?
Each year, across the United States, 45,000 people die in car accidents. Nearly 6,000 people are fatally injured in workplace accidents. A whopping 90,000 deaths happen as a result of medical malpractice.
In each of these cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may be possible.
Louisiana law defines a wrongful death claim as a civil action from a deceased person’s family against the party whose misconduct led to the death of their loved one. The settlement award from a wrongful death claim serves to compensate the victim’s family for their pain and hardship.
Types of fatal accidents include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Plane crashes
- Swimming pool drownings
- Domestic or wild animal attacks
- Murder or fatal assault and battery
- Harmful medications
- Defective products
- Premise liability accidents such as slips and falls
Every accident will have unique circumstances. Medical malpractice, for example, may include a misdiagnosis or an overdose. No matter the cause was, however, the surviving family members of a fatal accident victim deserve rightful compensation. Throughout this difficult time, a New Orleans wrongful death attorney can be their greatest advocate. Read on to find out why.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work?
When you file a wrongful death claim, your case will typically go through the following phases:
- Collect evidence
- Determine liability
- Estimate the value of the claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- File a wrongful death lawsuit, if necessary
- Present evidence to judge and jury
- Receive compensation
Keep in mind every accident is unique, and so is every wrongful death case. Many different factors will determine exactly what happens in your wrongful death lawsuit. Experienced New Orleans wrongful death lawyers can connect you to the resources you need during this devastating period.
Note: a wrongful death case is different from a murder case. Murder charges are brought forth by the state, whereas wrongful death claims are civil matters filed by family members. If criminal charges or arrests have been made in connection to the accident, you can use this as evidence in your wrongful death claim. However, your wrongful death case will proceed separately from any criminal prosecution.
Even if no one was charged with a crime, you might still have a valid wrongful death claim. Explore your options with a free consultation from a New Orleans wrongful death accident lawyer.
What Are New Orleans Wrongful Death Damages?
When a death occurs, the victim’s surviving loved ones cope with many hardships and expenses. These losses are also known as “damages.”
Damages in a wrongful death claim may include but are not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages, lost benefits, and lost earning potential
- Lost inheritance
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of emotional support, guidance, and counsel
- Pain and suffering
- Home maintenance and childcare
When it comes to lost wages, earning potential, and inheritance, your New Orleans wrongful death lawyer may consult investigators and economists in order to estimate how much the decedent would have earned over the course of their life, had it not been cut short.
Punitive damages may also apply. Unlike the above compensatory damages, punitive damages exist to punish the person or entity responsible for the death. Punitive damages are much more likely to be included if the at-fault party is convicted of a crime.
All together, these damages will make up the total estimated value of your New Orleans wrongful death claim.
However, insurance companies will do everything they can to prevent you from obtaining this compensation. Their greed knows no bounds, and they’re not above kicking you while you’re down. They’ll pressure you to settle for less than what you really deserve.
You may be shocked at how much you can get in a wrongful death suit when you enlist the help of a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re up against a trucking company, product manufacturer, surgeon, drunk driver, or any other negligent party. We will always fight fiercely for fair compensation.
For more help estimating the value of a wrongful death claim, reach out to a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer now.
Who Gets the Money in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Louisiana state law permits the following family members to bring a wrongful death claim or subsequent wrongful death lawsuit:
- The victim’s spouse
- The victim’s children
- The victim’s parents, if the victim had no spouse or children
- The victim’s siblings, if the victim had no spouse, children, or living parents
- The victim’s grandparents, if the victim had no spouse, children, or living parents or siblings
If you are entitled to compensation due to the wrongful death of a loved one, don’t delay.
What happens in a wrongful death lawsuit will change the course of the rest of your life.
Protect your rights now by getting advice from an experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyer.
How Are New Orleans Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
When it comes to how to divide a wrongful death settlement, a claimant’s relationship to the victim will be taken into consideration. The amount of compensation a claimant receives will depend on how close the claimant was on the victim, whether they depended on them financially, and how much income the deceased contributed to the household. Typically, the closer the claimant was to the victim, the greater percentage of the settlement award they will receive.
At the end of the case, a settlement award will be paid out. Your lawyer will then deduct their fees. They will also deal with settling any related liens and paying expert witnesses and consultants who helped with the case, so you don’t have to.
Afterward, the settlement will be divided among the eligible claimants in percentages that reflect their relationship to the decedent.
If you settle out of court, you may receive a lump sum in the form of a disbursement check.
Other times, payment for a wrongful death lawsuit is released as a structured settlement. A structured settlement is a series of periodic payments released on an agreed-upon schedule. This ensures you will have a consistent stream of income in the months and years to come.
Structured settlement payments may be disbursed via direct deposit or via checks that are mailed to you.
The exact amount and timeline of your structured settlement agreement will depend on the unique circumstances of your wrongful death suit. Consult a New Orleans personal injury lawyer for more details.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death in New Orleans?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove causation (what caused the accident) as well as liability (who caused the accident.) You and your wrongful death claim lawyer can do this by providing evidence.
Evidence in a wrongful death case may include:
- Police report or accident report
- Surveillance footage
- Witness testimony
- Photos from the scene
- Medical bills and medical records
- Autopsy reports
A New Orleans wrongful death lawyer can help you gather evidence and develop a unique legal strategy.
Call or click here for a free consultation. Our experienced, compassionate experts will listen to your story and let you know all about your options.
When Should I File A Wrongful Death Claim in New Orleans?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Louisiana is one year from the date of death.
Special exceptions to the statute of limitations may apply in the following cases:
- New evidence was discovered
- Evidence was deliberately hidden during initial investigations
- A new cause of death was revealed (usually via autopsy)
- Products or medications involved in the death were recalled or deemed defective
If you are wondering how to file a wrongful death claim or need to know if these exceptions apply to you, a New Orleans wrongful death attorney can steer you in the right direction.
Remember: one year may seem like a long time, but your lawyer will need adequate time to compile evidence and strengthen your case. New Orleans courts may dismiss your case entirely if you miss this deadline. The sooner you take action, the better your results will be.
Act Now: Hire A New Orleans Wrongful Death Lawyer
After the passing of a loved one, you may feel like you’re drowning under the weight of grief and the never-ending flood of bills.
A wrongful death claim can provide you and your family with relief — and closure.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve had the honor of helping thousands of families through New Orleans wrongful death cases. We guarantee you will be treated with the respect and sensitivity you deserve while you are coping with this loss.
In addition, a dedicated Louisiana personal injury lawyer works on a contingency fee basis. We’re not here to take advantage of grieving families by sticking them with costly legal fees and more headaches. In fact, you pay us nothing at all upfront. Instead, we take our fees from a portion of your final settlement award one the case is successfully closed. If we don’t win your case, we don’t get paid. Plain and simple.
Wrongful death claims are complex cases that require thorough investigation, sensitivity, and commitment. Legal representation is crucial during a time like this, and only a New Orleans personal injury attorney can develop a unique legal strategy to help you ensure justice is served. Get help now. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, New Orleans Office
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Managing Attorney of the New Orleans office of Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers is attorney Brian Page. Stewart J. Guss is not licensed in Louisiana.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.