Your Advocate In Serious Injury Claims

Are punitive damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit? 

Those who have recently lost a loved one to a car crash or similar incident often go to the Louisiana civil courts for justice. A wrongful death lawsuit is sometimes an option for people whose family members died due to misconduct or negligence. 

A successful wrongful death lawsuit can give families a sense of closure and compensate them for the losses they have suffered. Often, the focus is on provable economic losses, but those may not seem sufficient to grieving families. 

Do people also have the option of requesting punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana? 

The standard for punitive damages is higher

In some cases, people can request punitive damages in a Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit. However, the rules for such damages are different than traditional economic damages, like medical expenses and lost wages. The rules also differ from non-economic losses, like the bereavement of surviving family members or the pain and suffering of the deceased before they died.  

Plaintiffs will have to prove that the situation meets a specific standard to obtain punitive damages. Instead of simply proving negligence on the part of the defendants, the plaintiffs have to prove that someone acted with recklessness, wanton disregard for the safety of others or egregious maliciousness. It can be more difficult to pursue punitive damages than to simply seek compensation for verifiable economic losses and standard non-economic losses. 

However, particularly if there were no criminal charges stemming from the incident, families may feel strongly that a lawsuit is their best option for demanding justice. Learning more about the types of damages possible in wrongful death lawsuits may help those grieving a loved one plan the best response to their tragedy.