We all know that motor vehicles are dangerous, but we all try to pretend that the risk will never affect our lives. People do die every day on the road in Louisiana. Losing a loved one to a sudden motor vehicle collision is a truly tragic and life-altering experience. You may find yourself struggling to believe that the loss is real. Your family may have a very difficult time adjusting.
It is common to overlook the financial consequences of such a loss until you had some time to process your grief. Losing yourself in grief will not benefit or protect your family. In the wake of a crash, you need to take time to familiarize yourself with your rights as a survivor. It is important for surviving family members to familiarize themselves with their rights under Louisiana state law to minimize the ongoing impact of a tragic crash.
Louisiana lets you sue for wrongful death
State law in Louisiana allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a person who causes the death of another. However, the law does limit which individuals may file such a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
Generally speaking, only the surviving spouse, child, parents, siblings or grandparents can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Preference is given to spouses and children, with parents, siblings and grandparents only getting to seek compensation if there are no dependent children or spouse involved.
The law also limits how long you have to seek a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused the crash. You must file the lawsuit within one year of the date of the death of your loved one. Waiting too long could mean losing the chance to hold the other driver accountable.
Families can seek specific damages after a fatal crash
In the wake of a fatal car crash, money may be the last thing on your mind. Even as you struggle to make ends meet, you may just be trying to hold everything together for your family. You may not like the idea of seeking money as the result of your loss.
However, barring a criminal conviction for causing the crash, a judgment may be the only form of justice you can seek against the driver responsible. Your family has the right to seek actual damages related to the loss of life.
These damages could include:
- lost wages
- medical expenses
- funeral costs
- the loss of services provided by your loved one
In some situations, including scenarios that involve drunk driving, you may be able to seek additional damages because the actions are due to a reckless disregard for the safety of others. The compensation you receive through a wrongful death lawsuit can't undo the damages caused by a reckless driver, but it can help protect your family from financial distress in the future.