Some wrongful death lawsuits are filed as a follow up to criminal action taken by the state to award damages to the victim’s estate and may be pursued regardless of the outcome of the criminal proceedings. For example, when the athlete and actor O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1994, the victims family was still able to prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit, since the standards of proof are less extensive. Other situations may be cause for a wrongful death lawsuit as well including:
- Cases of personal injury where the victim ultimately died from injuries
- Cases of medical malpractice that led to death
- Exposure to hazardous conditions at work that result in death
In any wrongful death lawsuit, the following elements must apply
- A person has died
- Someone else caused the death via negligence or intent
- A personal representative has been named for the victim’s estate
Why Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is more than an extension of a personal injury or other similar lawsuit. If a loved one has died from injuries they sustained in an accident while a personal injury case is in the works, that case can continue and compensation may be sought for survivor action based primarily on the pain and suffering that the victim felt since the accident. A wrongful death lawsuit is subject to a different set of criteria, and any compensation awarded is based on other types of expenses that the survivors are faced with due to their loss. These expenses are referred to as pecuniary injuries, and include elements such as the loss of services or support, future inheritance, and reimbursement for medical and funeral expenses. Interest on these expenses may also be calculated for the settlement. The calculation of a wrongful death settlement will be based largely on the character of the person who died their level of health and natural life expectancy, and perceived earning capacity.
Getting Legal Help
Wrongful death lawsuits are not easily won, those responsible are likely to fight the action every step of the way, and if they aren’t convincing as to why they believe compensation is not appropriate, they may still take steps to devalue the life that you’ve lost. Attorney Leonard Cardenas of Cardenas Law Firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is highly experienced in personal injury and wrongful death cases. In the first 10 years of his 30 year career, Cardenas was a representative of the insurance companies in these cases, which allows him a unique perspective versus some other attorneys. He’s also a unique choice in that he is Board-Certified in Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He’s licensed not only in Louisiana, but in Texas as well, and speaks fluent Spanish and is ready to help a wide range of clients who have suffered a tragic loss.
If someone else’s negligence or malice has caused the death of your loved one, a consultation at Cardenas Law Firm is the first step to finding out how to move forward.