Wrongful Death

Baton Rouge Wrongful Death Lawyers

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Representation in Louisiana

Our team of experienced Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyers at Chris Corzo Injury Attorneys offers experienced legal counsel that blends professionalism and genuine compassion. You might be in the most difficult situation of your life, and we would like to help you navigate it while showing real care about your well-being. Losing a loved one because of the actions and mistakes of someone else is an unthinkable tragedy. There are no easy answers in the aftermath, and no amount of money can make up for what has happened. However, you and your family have a right to justice, and recovering money damages from those responsible can help you reduce some of the financial stress that inevitably comes with an unexpected loss.

Our Christian values are the driving force behind our firm’s philosophy: help those in need, show love and respect to others, and always do what is right. We are deeply committed to providing our clients with the legal counsel and courtroom representation they need to hold negligent parties accountable for something as terrible as losing a loved one. Our Baton Rouge wrongful death attorneys have secured billions of dollars for thousands of clients, and we are ready to put our skills and experience to work for you and your family. No matter your circumstances, we will be there when you need us and fight to deliver the maximum recovery you deserve.

Contact us online or call (225) 230-3110 to schedule a free initial consultation. We are available to take your call 24/7. Offices located in Baton Rouge and Gonzales for client convenience.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Someone’s passing is considered “wrongful death” if they died due to the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity. If the victim more than likely would have lived if not for the actions of another party, qualifying loved ones likely have a wrongful death claim. This type of legal action allows them to obtain compensation for losses associated with the avoidable passing. The burden of proof is generally identical to that of what a personal injury lawsuit would have looked like had the victim survived. For example, if someone perishes in a car accident, the person bringing the wrongful death claim must prove the defendant driver’s negligence led to the collision. 

Types of Wrongful Death Actions in Louisiana

In Louisiana, a survival action and a wrongful death action are two distinct legal claims that can arise when a person dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. However, they serve different purposes and compensate for different types of damages.

  • A survival action is a lawsuit brought by the estate of the deceased person for the injuries suffered by the deceased from the time of injury until the time of death. The damages in a survival action can include pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages experienced by the deceased during this period. Importantly, a survival action essentially allows the personal injury claim the deceased could have pursued had they lived to "survive" their death, and it is pursued by the deceased's estate.
  • A wrongful death action is a claim brought by the surviving family members or loved ones of the deceased. This claim seeks compensation for their own losses resulting from the death of their loved one. Losses in a wrongful death action can include loss of companionship, emotional distress, loss of financial support, funeral and burial expenses, and more. In essence, a wrongful death claim is designed to compensate the survivors for their losses, not the losses experienced by the deceased.

What Types of Accidents Cause Wrongful Death?

Any accident can lead to wrongful death if the injuries or consequences caused by the accident or incident are severe enough. Even if a victim passes away years later, such as from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure, the passing could be considered a wrongful death. In other words, if a victim suffers serious injuries that eventually prove to be fatal, their loved ones still may have a wrongful death case.

Our Baton Rouge wrongful death attorneys can work on cases involving the following and more:

  • Car accidents: Rollovers, head-on collisions, and side-impact collisions can all cause devastating consequences, including life-ending injuries. 
  • Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists are more exposed to danger than other motorists and are more likely to be thrown from their vehicles in a crash, potentially resulting in fatal injuries. Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets are also likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries, which can cause an eventual fatality. 
  • Truck accidents: Enormous, 18-wheeler trucks are much larger and heavier than most other vehicles on the road, resulting in greater, potentially deadlier forces being exerted on other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists in the event of a collision. 
  • Bicycle accidents: Like motorcyclists, bicyclists are particularly susceptible to fatal injuries in a crash, especially if they are hit head-on by a vehicle at high speeds.
  • Pedestrian accidents: Even at low speeds, a pedestrian can suffer fatal injuries if they are struck by a moving vehicle. 
  • Slip and falls: Slip/trip-and-fall accidents are among the leading causes of accidental deaths of seniors, especially in nursing homes and assisted living centers.
  • Medical malpractice: Examples of fatal medical malpractice include misdiagnoses (leading to improper treatment or a failure to treat a potentially fatal condition), surgery-related mistakes, and failing to warn about the fatal risks associated with a procedure.

How to Prove Wrongful Death in Louisiana

As a qualifying family member (or representative of the deceased person’s estate), you have a very limited window to start the wrongful death legal process in Louisiana. Generally, you only have one year from the date the victim passed to file a lawsuit

To prevail in a wrongful death claim, you must prove the defendant’s negligence or willful misconduct resulted in the fatality. In other words, you must establish that your loved one more likely than not would still be alive if not for the defendant’s actions (or lack of action). 

We can help you prove the specific legal elements needed to win a wrongful death case, such as:

  • Duty of care: You must demonstrate that a “duty of care” relationship existed between your loved one and the defendant at the time of the incident. Drivers owe other motorists a duty of care whenever they get behind the wheel, for example, so someone who perishes due to car accident injuries can most likely establish a duty of care relationship. In a product liability case where a dangerous or defective product kills someone, the manufacturer (and potentially other parties in the product’s chain of distribution) owes the victim a duty of care by only selling safe products, for example.
  • Breach of duty: Someone breaches a duty of care when they act negligently, recklessly, or with malicious intent. Using the previous examples, a driver breaches their duty of care to other motorists when they operate their vehicle while intoxicated or fail to follow the rules of the road, and a manufacturer breaches their duty of care to consumers when they sell a dangerous product.
  • Causation: The defendant’s conduct must have resulted in the victim suffering fatal injuries. The injuries do not have to immediately lead to death for a claim to be justified.
  • Damages: As a qualifying family member or representative of the estate, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim and/or survival action if your loved one’s untimely passing resulted in financial, emotional, and physical harm.

How Much Is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?

In a Louisiana wrongful death claim, you can potentially recover economic and non-economic, as well as punitive damages in rare cases. Economic damages cover financial expenses and losses while non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for types of harm that cannot be straightforwardly quantified. Punitive damages are not always granted but are meant to punish the defendant for especially unacceptable behavior and deter others from acting similarly; in other words, punitive damages do not compensate the plaintiff but instead punish the defendant.

Our Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyers can fight for compensation related to:

  • Medical costs associated with the victim's fatal injuries and death: Such damages are the costs incurred for the medical treatment of the deceased before their death, including hospital bills, medication costs, and any other related healthcare expenses.
  • Funeral and burial expenses: The costs related to the funeral and burial of the deceased can be claimed as damages, such as the cost of a casket, burial plot, memorial service, and other related expenses, within reason.
  • Loss of future income the deceased would have earned in life: This loss refers to the amount of money the deceased would have earned had they lived. It considers the deceased's age, health, life expectancy, occupation, skills, and other factors.
  • Loss of benefits the deceased would have provided: If the deceased provided certain benefits like health insurance or pension plans, the value of these lost benefits can be claimed. The same is true of benefits or assets that would have been gained through inheritance.
  • Loss of companionship or parentage: This type of damage compensates for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, and affection that the deceased would have provided.
  • Emotional pain and suffering: This non-economic damage compensates surviving family members for the mental anguish, grief, and emotional distress caused by the loss of their loved one.

How Many People Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Louisiana, only these people or parties can file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one:

  1. Deceased’s surviving spouse and/or children;
  2. If no surviving spouse or children, surviving parents;
  3. If no surviving parents, surviving siblings; then,
  4. If no surviving siblings, surviving grandparents.

The order of the above list is important because it shows the order of legal authority to start a claim. For example, if the deceased’s spouse and/or children do not want to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, then no one else in the order (parents, siblings, and grandparents) may start a claim. This authority- and priority-based organization of potential wrongful death claimants helps ensure that multiple claims are not filed for a single person’s untimely passing.

Call Today for Reliable Legal Counsel in Louisiana

As you grieve your lost loved one, the last thing you should have to worry about is how you will navigate a complex legal procedure. Let our experienced Baton Rouge wrongful death attorneys provide the compassionate and attentive legal support you need to hold negligent parties accountable while simultaneously giving you the space to mourn and move forward. We have the experience, resources, and insight required to handle all parts of the case, including investigations into the death, liability determinations, and more.

With the help of one of our lawyers, your case may not require a trial to conclude. We have a proven track record of negotiating fair settlements with defendants and avoiding drawn-out court battles. However, you can rest assured that we will be ready if your case does go to court. Chris Corzo Injury Attorneys never backs down from a difficult legal fight, especially not when something as important as honoring the memory of a lost loved one depends on the outcome of the case.

When you choose our firm to represent your family, you will always come first. Contact us online or call (225) 230-3110 to learn more about how we can assist you during this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death in Louisiana

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Louisiana?

Typically, the surviving spouse and/or children have the priority to start or halt a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in an accident. The authority to start a claim can be passed to parents, siblings, and grandparents, in that order, depending on the deceased’s surviving family members. On the other hand, a representative of the deceased’s estate will generally have the ability to start a survival action. Not sure if you have the right to pursue a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one? We can evaluate your situation and help you understand your legal options.

What Is Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims?

In most cases, a qualifying party has one year from the date their loved one passed away to file a Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit. Note that the deadline is tied to the day your loved one died, not the day they sustained their fatal injuries. For example, if someone suffered catastrophic injuries in a motorcycle accident but only succumbed to those injuries a month later, the clock starts ticking on the day they passed away, not the date of the accident.

Who Receives the Money in a Louisiana Wrongful Death Settlement?

The person or persons who bring the wrongful death lawsuit will receive the money from a settlement or damage award. Surviving spouses and children receive first priority, followed by parents, then siblings, then grandparents, then estate representatives. If a sibling has standing to file a wrongful death claim and successfully does so, for example, the sibling will receive the money.

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  • Truck Wreck

    Rear-end: Chris’ client suffered head, neck, elbow, arm, wrist, rib, back, and leg injuries in a truck wreck in Pointe Coupee Parish.

  • Car Wreck

    Side-Swiped: Chris’ client suffered head, neck, and back injuries in a car wreck in East Baton Rouge Parish.

  • Truck Wreck

    Rear-end: Chris’ client suffered headaches, neck, back, and various soft-tissue injuries in a truck wreck in Pointe Coupee Parish.