Can You Sue for Wrongful Death After a Murder?
“It’s been a bloody December,”
Says one New Orleans resident after a deadly shooting occurred on her block. In addition to this shocking statement, CBS News ranks New Orleans as one of the most dangerous cities in America, due to its high murder rate.
You may be wondering what legal recourse is available for the victims’ families.
At the The Womac Law Firm, we’d like to educate you about wrongful death lawsuits, which are, in fact, available for the families of murder victims, per a section of personal injury law known as “intentional tort.”
Are Criminal Consequences Enough?
While arrests, convictions, and sentences may help to keep murderers off the street, these criminal consequences do little to help those who murder victims leave behind.
When someone passes away in such a violent way, their families often face premortem medical bills and the costs associated with burial and interment. Filing a civil lawsuit can help with these expenses and provide financial comfort to a victim’s loved ones in the wake of their murder.
Murder convictions may lead to wrongful death lawsuits, as the defendant’s intentional misbehavior has already been established in criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, criminals who are entering prison may not have the assets to fulfill a settlement or verdict.
To find out if a wrongful death case is worth pursuing, we recommend you speak to an attorney.
What If the Murderer Was Not Convicted?
Sometimes, people literally get away with murder. This is because criminal trials have a high burden of proof. If the prosecution cannot prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that an individual committed murder, the defendant can be found not guilty.
Even if they walk away without criminal consequences, however, the alleged perpetrator can still be held liable in a wrongful death claim.
How to Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Before you file a wrongful death lawsuit, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:
- Am I eligible to file this type of claim in Louisiana? Per Louisiana Civil Code Section 2512.2, only certain people can file wrongful death lawsuits. The surviving spouse or children of the deceased have priority, followed by the parents or siblings of the decedent. If none of these relationships exist, the surviving grandparents of the victim may file a claim.
- Am I making my claim within the allowed timeframe? State law only allows surviving family members a certain amount of time to file a wrongful death claim in court.
If you are related to the person who passed away and filing within an appropriate amount of time, you should speak with an attorney ASAP.
Our firm can help you determine whether or not a wrongful death lawsuit is worth your while.
Call us at (504) 470-3935 for a free case evaluation.