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When Are You Eligible to File Wrongful Death Charges?

Under Louisiana law, wrongful death claims are appropriate when "a person dies due to the fault of another." These cases can be brought against an individual or a corporation (or other large entity), and the cause of death can include negligence, reckless behavior, and intentional conduct. Here's how wrongful death cases work in Louisiana, and how to determine if you or your loved ones are eligible to file charges.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

An easy way to think about a wrongful death case is as a personal injury case in which the injured party is no longer available to seek damages in court. Since the victim is no longer alive in wrongful death cases, someone else must file a claim. Eligible parties include the deceased's surviving spouse or children, parents, siblings, grandparents, and the estate representative, in that order. A family member with less priority cannot file a claim if someone with higher priority exists. In addition, Louisiana implements a statute of limitations of one year from the person's death.

Are Wrongful Death Cases Handled in Criminal or Civil Court?

When a person dies due to another's actions, both criminal and civil charges may be filed. Wrongful death civil charges are brought by the deceased's surviving family members and seek only monetary damages. Criminal charges are filed by the state through a prosecutor's office and may result in incarceration, fines, and other penalties for the defendant.

What Kinds of Damages Are Available?

Wrongful death claims may win damages to cover both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are those that can be measured concretely, including medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages and benefits. Noneconomic losses suffered are immeasurable and include the pain and suffering of the victim's surviving family members.


The attorneys at  Mansfield Melancon Cranmer & Dick work directly with our clients to provide clarity and guidance throughout their case. To learn more about how we can help with your wrongful death or personal injury case, contact us today online or by calling (504) 500-1108.