Initiating A Wrongful Death Claim In Louisiana
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In Louisiana Following A Trucking Accident?
In Louisiana, the parties who can file a wrongful death claim are categorized into a specific order of succession.
First, the surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased have the right to recover. They may do so together or separately, depending on the circumstances.
If there's no surviving spouse or child, the right to file a claim passes to the surviving parents of the deceased.
If the deceased left behind no spouse, child, or parent, the surviving siblings are then eligible to file the claim.
Finally, in the absence of a spouse, child, parent, or sibling, the surviving grandparents of the deceased are entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
What Is The Process For Initiating A Claim?
Initiating a wrongful death claim usually starts with finding competent legal representation. After consulting family, friends, and doing some online research, you would contact the chosen legal professional to discuss your case.
Once you have selected your legal representative, the case will be screened to determine the liable party. Following this, the legal team will collect the necessary information to establish your claim. This would involve setting up a meeting to finalize details, retrieving the driver's information, and tracking down the relevant police report and law enforcement agency.
Since this involves a death, the focus is not on treatment but on gathering crucial details such as the coroner's information, tracking medical expenses, and contacting the coroner's office.
The legal team would also aim to identify the driver, the trucking company, and their insurance carrier. A preservation letter would be forwarded to the defendants to ensure that the evidence from the commercial motor vehicle involved will not be disposed of. Your litigator of choice will also mail a Freedom of Information Act(FOIA) request to access any public records related to the accident. This could include reports filed by state troopers, the sheriff's office, or city officials. Additionally, efforts would be made to gain access to the truck and the accident scene.
What Type of Damages Can Be Sought In A Wrongful Death Claim Related To A Trucking Accident?
A wrongful death claim related to a trucking accident can seek compensation for various types of damages. These can broadly include the loss of love, affection, companionship, services, and support, as well as the medical and funeral expenses related to the deceased.
If the claim involves the death of a child, additional factors such as the closeness of familial ties, potential future support from the child, the child's age and intelligence, and other aspects relating to the child's expected life are considered.
In instances where multiple plaintiffs are involved in a single wrongful death claim, the amounts awarded for loss of care, guidance, and affection may vary. This is based on the different degrees of affection between the deceased and the different plaintiffs, as well as the varying needs for guidance among minor plaintiffs.
Are There Any Time Limits or Statutes of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana After a Trucking Accident?
Yes, there is a time limit. In Louisiana, wrongful death claims, like other torts, must be filed within one year from the date of the incident. This rule, known as "prescription", means that you have until the same date in the following year to file the lawsuit.
How Can the Negligence or Fault of the Truck Driver or Trucking Company Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Proving the negligence or fault of the truck driver or the trucking company involves a multi-step process. First, all available data, including information from the truck's "Black Box", Infotainment System or ACM Download that may record speed, braking data, or even video footage, is collected and analyzed.
The next step involves understanding the reasons behind the incident. Was it due to poor vehicle maintenance by the driver? Was there a violation of company policy? Could it be a result of hiring practices or insufficient training provided by the company? The ultimate goal is to determine the exact cause of the accident, whether it relates to performance, maintenance, or safety procedures. This information is typically gathered through a combination of technological analysis and expert testimony.
For more information on Initiating A Wrongful Death Claim In Louisiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (225) 267-9729 today.