Louisiana’s civil laws protect accident victims who suffer injuries and other losses caused by another person’s negligence, or carelessness. There are many different personal injury laws that allow injured individuals to pursue financial compensation for their medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other negative outcomes caused by an accident.
If another person’s negligence has caused the death of an immediate family member, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the person or entity who is responsible for the death. You may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, as well as a survival action. So, what is the difference between the two? Below, our Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyer explains.
What is a Survival Action in Baton Rouge?
As its name implies, a survival action can be filed for the losses a loved one could have claimed had they survived the accident. For example, if your loved one was the victim of medical malpractice and they suffered for some time before succumbing to their injuries, a survival action could be appropriate. Through a survival action, you can pursue compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, lost income, and the pain and suffering they endured. The compensation is then awarded to your loved one’s estate.
Survival actions are not only appropriate when there was a significant amount of time between the accident and the resulting death. For example, if your loved one was in a fatal car crash and died immediately, you may still be able to file a survival action to recover the property damage to their vehicle. A Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyer can advise on when a survival action is appropriate.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim in Baton Rouge?
While survival actions focus on compensating your loved one’s estate for their losses, a wrongful death claim can be filed to compensate you for your own losses. If your family member earned an income the household was dependent on, a wrongful death claim can help you recover those damages. You can also include other losses in a wrongful death claim, such as the loss of household services, the loss of companionship and support, and the loss of consortium if you were intimate with the accident victim.
Unlike survival actions, the damages in wrongful death claims compensate family members for their losses. As such, if you are successful with your claim, anyone in the family who suffered from the loss can receive compensation.
Who Can File Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Claims?
A survival action and wrongful death claim can both compensate your family for the losses incurred as a result of the accident that caused the death. Under state law, only certain family members are eligible to file these claims, however. The law follows a sequence of different family members who are eligible to file, and that is as follows:
- The surviving spouse or children of the deceased, if the individual was married or had children,
- The surviving parent or parents of the deceased, if the individual was not married and did not have children,
- Surviving siblings of the deceased, if the individual did not have a surviving spouse, child, or parent,
- The grandparents of the deceased, if there were no other surviving family members, or
- When the individual did not have any surviving family members, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a claim.
The above sequence applies to both survival actions, as well as wrongful death lawsuits.
The Statute of Limitations on Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Time is of the essence when filing either a wrongful death lawsuit or a survival action. You have only one year from the date of the person’s death to file either type of legal action. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations, and if you do not file your claim before it expires, your family will lose its legal right to claim any compensation at all.
It is important to file a claim as quickly as possible after a loved one’s death for many reasons. Witnesses may become harder to locate if you wait too long, and it may be difficult to remember important facts after several months have passed. For these reasons, you should speak to a Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Baton Rouge Can Advise on Your Case
Losing a loved one is always difficult. It will result in not only emotional losses but financial consequences, as well. At Big River Trial Attorneys, our Baton Rouge wrongful death lawyers can advise you of your legal options and give you the best chance of success with any claim you file. Call us now at (225) 963-9638 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.