When a person in New Orleans dies due to the fault of another, an action against the responsible party must be commenced within one year of the date of death. The wrongful death action is an action brought by family members to recover damages suffered by them as a result of the loved one’s accidental death. Which family members may pursue a claim depends on the structure of the family.
Louisiana Civil Code section 2315.2 provides the following breakdown of who may pursue a wrongful death action. The existence of one beneficiary in a higher category precludes anyone in the lower categories from recovering.
(1) The surviving spouse and child or children of the deceased, or either the spouse or the child or children;
(2) The surviving father and mother of the deceased, or either of them if he left no spouse or child surviving;
(3) The surviving brothers and sisters of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child or parent surviving; and
(4) The surviving grandfathers and grandmothers of the deceased, or any of them, if he left no spouse, child, parent, or sibling surviving.
The right to bring a lawsuit extends to adopted family members who otherwise fit within the above categories. A parent who abandoned the deceased while he or she was still a child is specifically barred from bringing any claim.
In a wrongful death action, each eligible beneficiary is entitled to a separate award for his or her damages, which may include loss of love, affection, services, support, society, and grief.
If your family has suffered a wrongful death and you need advice, please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 877-581-6411.