The death of a loved one is not only emotionally taxing but may also cause significant economic hardships. It may seem like an impossible task to place a value on a person’s life. However, wrongful death damages awarded in a lawsuit are intended to unburden the members of the surviving family from their losses.
For instance, economic losses can be accounted for if the person was an earning member of the family.
Depending on the type of loss faced due to a wrongful death, damages can be either compensatory or punitive.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death Damages?
Damages are usually awarded to immediate family members. Depending on the case and the relationships of the deceased with the family, the court typically awards damages to parents, children and spouses.
They are usually the surviving family that is directly affected — financially and otherwise.
They are also likely to claim wrongful death damages for the loss of care and companionship.
Those who can sue include:
- Spouses, for instance, can claim for emotional trauma and loss of companionship.
- Young children, on the other hand, may be awarded damages for the loss of a parent’s support and comfort.
- Parents can also claim such damages for the loss of a relationship. However, it may be more likely for them to receive damages if the deceased child was a minor.
In case there are is no surviving spouse or child, any person that would be entitled to the property due to intestate succession can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes surviving parents or siblings.
Any person who can show that they are financially dependent on the deceased may also claim damages. Apart from the deceased’s parents, it can also include a “putative spouse”, children of the putative spouse and step-children.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations refers to the specific time period within which a claim must be filed. Most personal injury claims have a strict statute of limitations in every state.
In California, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years.
In some states, however, the statute of limitations depends on the “date of discovery”. This refers to the moment the harm is discovered.
The two years are then counted since this date. Depending on your state, the statute of limitations can be referred and adhered to. For more information on the statute of limitations in Louisiana, please visit our New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer page.