Wrongful Death

Charbonnet Law Firm

Wrongful Death

The death of a loved one can be incredibly difficult. You can feel depressed, anxious, angry, and overwhelmed. If that death happened unexpectedly as a result of an accident, or the negligence or actions of another party, it can be all the more overwhelming and awful.

As you grieve your loss and find the strength to live without your loved one, you may be feeling pressured by insurance companies to settle any legal claim you have around your loss. Before you sign anything, you owe it to yourself and to your family to talk with a caring, compassionate team of attorneys experienced in Louisiana wrongful death law. No amount of money can repair the loss or take away your pain. But one of the best ways to seek justice and make sure no other family goes through what you have is to hold the party at fault financially responsible.

Wrongful Death Under Louisiana Law

The Louisiana Civil Code that governs wrongful death and survival action cases makes clear that “every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.”

Wrongful death can be the result of a number of different scenarios. Medical malpractice can lead to wrongful death, in cases such as surgical error or medication errors. Negligence can cause wrongful death, for example, if a party fails to make reasonable repairs to a stairway that leads to a slip and fall death. Traffic accidents involving distracted driving, disregard for traffic laws, or drunk driving are other examples. Wrongful death can result from a workplace injury or a defective product.

In general, in order to prevail in a wrongful death case, the surviving family member/s must meet a similar burden of proof as would be necessary to show liability if the victim had lived. So, for example, in the case of negligence, the victim’s family or estate would need to show that: 1) the party at fault had a duty to exercise “reasonable care,” 2) that party failed in its duty, and 3) that failure caused the death of the victim. The victim’s family must then show that damages were suffered by themselves (and the victim in the case of survival actions) as a result of the death and circumstances surrounding it.

Who May Seek Wrongful Death Damages In Louisiana?

Louisiana law allows the following people to bring a wrongful death or survival claim:

  • 1- The victim’s spouse and children
  • 2- The victim’s parents, if the victim left no surviving spouse or child
  • 3- The victim’s brothers and sisters, if the victim left no surviving spouse, child, or parent
  • 4- The victim’s grandparents, if the victim left no surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling

These definitions include immediate family members through adoption. If a parent has effectively abandoned the deceased during their childhood, that parent is not entitled to seek wrongful death damages.

Damages In Louisiana Wrongful Death Cases

Louisiana law demands that a person or party responsible for causing the death of another must compensate the deceased’s family for damages endured and future losses.

Damages can be economic or non-economic and can include:

  • Loss of support
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of love and affections
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of society
  • Mental anguish and emotional suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Under Louisiana law, certain family members may also seek damages through a “survivor action” for all medical costs and other damages, as well as the pain and suffering that their loved one endured prior to his or her death.

If a wrongful death is proven to have been caused by egregious, malicious, willful, wanton or reckless action or gross negligence, a Louisiana civil court may also award punitive damages separate from economic and non-economic damages. Damages for a wrongful death caused by a drunk driver, domestic abuse, or a hazing incident may also include “exemplary damages” under Louisiana law. The surviving family members of an unborn child can file a wrongful death claim seeking damages against parties found to be liable for his or her death under Louisiana Law.

Criminal Cases & Statute Of Limitations

Some wrongful death cases may involve the same facts of an ongoing or prosecuted criminal case. For example, if a drunk driver kills a pedestrian, the state may prosecute that person on criminal charges, and the family of the victim may also file a wrongful death claim against that person. A criminal case does not prevent a wrongful death claim, but it’s important to understand the differences between the two cases and how each may influence the other.

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Louisiana is one year from the time of the death. If you have lost a loved one and believe another party to be at fault, speak to an attorney with experience in Louisiana wrongful death cases as soon as possible to ensure proper time to prepare a strong case before filing in court if it becomes necessary.

Call TheCharbonnet Law Firm Today

If you have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, a car, truck or motorcycle accident, a slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice or any other action or negligence on the part of another, you owe it to yourself to speak with a trusted, skilled attorney today. The Charbonnet Law Firm is a family firm that has been winning for victims in Louisiana for more than five decades. Let us help you understand your legal rights and the options you have in your wrongful death case. We will be with your family every step of the way, taking care of all the details and ensuring the best possible resolution of your case, so that you can focus on healing.


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    Uber and Lyft Accidents

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    Experienced Lyft & Uber Accident Lawyers in New Orleans

    We represent Uber and Lyft drivers.
    We represent Uber and Lyft passengers.
    We represent people in a crash with an Uber or Lyft car.

    Uber and Lyft arrived in New Orleans shortly after a city ordinance permitting those companies to operate in 2015. Charbonnet Law Firm got its first Uber accident case the following week! Since then, the popularity of rideshares has exploded with the number of trips taken using rideshare apps quickly overtaking traditional taxi trips.

    Our experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyers have represented hundreds of drivers, passengers, and bystanders in rideshare accidents. We know the attorneys who represent these companies and we have good working relationships with them.

    New Orleans Ridesharing Accident Statistics

    Rideshare apps have changed the way many of us get around. We use Uber or Lyft because of their convenience. Whether we are on vacation, heading to the airport or The Big Game, or making the responsible transit choice after a few too many drinks, many New Orleans residents rely on ride-sharing services to get us where we need to go safely. In fact, a 2018 Arizona State University study found that New Orleans had the second-highest rideshare use per capita of any major U.S. metropolitan area (beat only by San Francisco). A whopping 30% of New Orleans residents reported using one of the rideshare apps in the last 30 days.

    According to a 2018 survey, 36% of Americans say they have used a ridesharing app. Another 61% say they have heard of Uber or Lyft but hadn’t taken a ride yet, and just 3% of Americans said they hadn’t heard of them at all. The same survey taken in 2015 found that just 15% had used the apps and 33% had never heard of Uber or Lyft. Founded in 2009 and 2012, respectively, Uber and Lyft now account for 5.5 billion vehicle trips worldwide each year.

    This enormous growth comes with new dangers on the road and new legal complications when an accident occurs. In 2018 Uber released a U.S. Safety Report that found that there were 107 total traffic fatalities in 2017 and 2018 involving Uber. The company estimated its fatality rate to be roughly half the average for U.S. drivers. Analysts, however, point out that the company doesn’t report any data on non-fatal traffic accidents involving its drivers. A new study by the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that ridesharing services may actually increase traffic accidents and fatalities, especially in larger cities, by putting more cars on the road and creating more stop-start traffic.

    Lyft & Uber Accident Claims

    While the laws that govern car crash liability and personal injury liability in Louisiana generally apply to cases involving Uber or Lyft drivers, there are added complications. If you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident involving a rideshare vehicle whether as a passenger, pedestrian, or other drivers, it is important to know your legal rights.

    Determining who is the responsible party in an accident involving Uber or Lyft isn’t always straightforward. If you are injured in an accident, it might seem like the driver’s auto insurance company or the multibillion-dollar rideshare company involved will protect your interests as a rider, pedestrian, or driver. Don’t count on it. Both want the fastest possible resolution and will work to protect their bottom line first and foremost.

    In general, if the rideshare driver is at fault, his or her insurance will cover damages up to the maximum amount of that policy. If this policy is exhausted, then the ridesharing app’s third-party liability insurance should kick in up to $1,000,000. But, of course, the devil is in the details. Both corporations will use complicating factors in Louisiana law, like comparative negligence and personal injury caps, to protect their interests and keep their costs to a minimum. Furthermore, Uber and Lyft both require users to agree to “terms of service.” The amount of insurance coverage a rideshare vehicle has can vary minute by minute depending on whether there are passengers in the vehicle

    It can be a very complex process to sort out who is responsible for paying out compensation and in what amounts when an accident involves a ridesharing app driver. You owe it to yourself and your family to speak with a skilled and dedicated legal team with a strong track record of winning for clients who have been victims of Uber or Lyft accidents.

    What to do if you are in an Uber or Lyft accident in New Orleans

    Even if an accident seems relatively minor, following these steps will protect your interests and give you peace of mind down the road. In the event of a traffic accident, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

    • 1. Make sure you and others involved are physically okay. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if anyone is injured. Make sure you and others are not at immediate risk from oncoming traffic or other roadway hazards.
    • 2. Make sure the accident is reported immediately. Call 911 and explain the situation. If the emergency is non-life threatening, the operator may advise you to call 311 or another local service. Under Louisiana law, a driver must immediately report any traffic accident that results in an injury to any person, a death, or damage to property over $500. Drivers must further provide detailed information to a member of law enforcement who investigates the crash. Crash reports are available at the Louisiana Department of Public Safety website.
    • 3. Gather information and evidence at the scene. Use your cellphone to take photos at the scene that show the angle of impact, damage to vehicles and other property. Get the contact information for all witnesses at the scene. Take photos of insurance cards from any drivers involved. This step may prove invaluable later on as your legal team prepares evidence to build the strongest possible case.
    • 4. If you are a driver or a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, report the crash through the Uber or Lyft app within 24 hours. You may have to go take a drug test within 24 hours of the crash. REMEMBER: Being in an accident can be confusing and scary. Do not admit fault or make other statements about your injuries or those of others to anyone until you have gained a full picture of what happened.
    • 5. If you are injured, contact an attorney with a strong track record of winning for clients in Uber and Lyft crash injury cases in Louisiana.

    Car accidents are complicated enough, but when a rideshare app is involved, things can get even more complex. You can find yourself dealing with hospitals, doctors’ offices, your own insurance, the rideshare driver, his or her auto insurance, the ridesharing app, its third-party liability insurance, and any other involved parties and their insurance. It can feel like trying to find your way out of a maze. Let an experienced Uber car accident attorney at Charbonnet Law Firm help you sort through this tangled web and get the compensation you deserve.

    Contact Charbonnet Law Firm About Your Rideshare Accident

    If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle in Louisiana, call the dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm right away. We have been winning for our personal injury clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes for more than five decades. You deserve the peace of mind of knowing a skilled, trustworthy law firm is on your side.

    At Charbonnet Law Firm, we will help you understand your case and your options for compensation. If you choose to pursue your case, we will be there with you every step of the way, protecting your interests and fighting for the best possible outcome. Call today for a free consultation.

    More Related Info: Uber & Lyft Insurance and Settlements

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