Compensation Available through a Louisiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When you’re grieving the death of a loved one, the last thing you may want to think about is filing a lawsuit in court. Unfortunately, if you relied on the deceased to provide financial support for your family, it may be a consideration that must be addressed sooner, rather than later.
If you are thinking about filing a Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit against the person or persons responsible for your loved one’s death, it’s important to have a general idea of what types of compensation may be awarded.
Reimbursement of Direct Expenses
The most common type of damages awarded in a Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit are known as direct expenses. These are the costs which you would not have incurred had your family member not been killed. Some examples include:
- ambulance charges and emergency room bills
- hospitalization costs (including tests and procedures)
- funeral expenses
- burial expenditures
Direct expenses are usually the most easily determined because receipts and invoices can be produced to verify how much money the family members spent on these types of costs.
Compensation for Lost Future Wages
If an individual was married or had dependents at the time of his or her death, the surviving family members are eligible to receive the amount of money that the decedent would have earned over their lifetime had the untimely death not occurred. The most basic way to compute this amount is to multiply the decedent’s annual salary by the number of years they were expected to continue working.
In practice, this process is more complicated. The above-mentioned method does not account for college students, recent graduates, or even homemakers. If the person who died was a child or was unemployed at the time of death, this calculation would also be inappropriate.
What commonly happens is that a Louisiana wrongful death lawyer will consult an economist who will make more detailed computations about the person’s future earnings. The economist may also consult a work-life expectancy table to assist in coming up with a more accurate sum.
Emotional Damages in Louisiana
In addition, you may also seek monetary damages based on the emotional toll that the death of your loved one has taken on your life. Even though these costs are hard to quantify, juries commonly award compensation for survivors’:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of care
- Loss of companionship
In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages from a Louisiana wrongful death lawsuit. These types of damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were established to be malicious, reckless, wanton, willful, or extremely negligent. Punitive damages are designed to punish the person or organization that caused the death and help ensure that such a situation never occurs again.
An experienced Louisiana wrongful death lawyer will help you determine which types of damages are appropriate in your specific case.