Fatal motor vehicle accidents tend to be incredibly harsh on the family members of the victim. The family has to cope with sudden loss of a loved one as well as face potential financial problems if the victim was the primary earner in the family. If any such fatal accident occurred due to the fault of another person, it is only fair that person be made liable by law to pay compensation to the family of the victim.
Louisiana laws allow family members of the victims of fatal accidents to recover damages for losses as a result of the death, if the death was caused by the negligence of another. The first right to claim compensation goes to the surviving spouse and children of the deceased. If there is no surviving spouse, the children can claim the damages.
If the deceased left no children, then the right to claim compensation can be exercised by the surviving father and mother of the deceased. If there is no surviving spouse, parents or children, then the claim for compensation can be made by brothers and sisters of the deceased. Grandparents can claim compensation only if the victim is not survived by a spouse, any children, parents or siblings.
The right to claim compensation is available only for a period of one year from the death of the victim. The right to claim damages can be inherited, but such an inheritance does not extend the time period available to make a claim. The right to claim compensation also extends to adopted family members.
It is often helpful for a lawyer well-versed in cases of wrongful death to take up one's case to successfully claim compensation. If you are next of kin of any victim of negligence, you may wish to consult a lawyer to help you understand your right to claim compensation in of the event of a wrongful death.
Source: Legis.LA.gov, "Wrongful Death Action," accessed March 13, 2015