Your Advocate In Serious Injury Claims

What do plaintiffs need to prove in a wrongful death lawsuit?

People die every day in Louisiana, and each of those losses is a tragedy for those who survive. However, some deaths may be more tragic than others. They occur not due to natural causes or advanced age but instead because of an incident caused by another party. Those grieving the loss of a loved one may struggle to accept how their life has changed and to minimize the practical challenges associated with their loss.

Both businesses and individuals are sometimes to blame for a death. Under these circumstances, those left behind when someone dies generally have the option of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties in question. Plaintiffs need to prove the following to secure compensation in a Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit.

The fault of the other party

The wrongful death statute in Louisiana requires that the defendant in the lawsuit be at fault for the death. The fault could stem either from misconduct or negligence. Misconduct could entail overtly unsafe behavior or illegal activity. Negligence could constitute doing something that is obviously unsafe or failing to do that which is obviously necessary for safety. Establishing fault in civil court requires some degree of evidence.

Thankfully, the standard for evidence is lower in civil cases than it is in criminal court. Plaintiffs only need to show that a preponderance of the evidence shows that the defendant is to blame for their loved one’s passing. They will not need to establish fault beyond a reasonable doubt the way that prosecutors would.

The financial impact of the tragedy

Wrongful death lawsuits typically require that plaintiffs request a specific amount of compensation. Surviving family members therefore need proof of medical expenses, property damage losses and other losses. Prior paychecks can establish lost wages, while employment contracts can affirm the value of employment benefits.

Families can also seek non-economic losses related to the loss of services provided by the deceased and the impact that they had on the lives of family members. Provided that plaintiffs can show that the defendant was at fault and that the death caused economic hardship for the family, they may be able to recover some of their financial losses.

With all of this in mind, learning more about the rules that govern Louisiana wrongful death lawsuits, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, can help families seek justice after a tragedy.