When someone's negligence causes a loved one's death, you may be entitled to compensation via a wrongful death claim. However, there are four common mistakes that you must avoid in order to protect your legal rights.
1. Waiting Too Long to File Your Claim
Louisiana has a strict statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. You must file your claim within one year of the deceased person's death. If you wait too long, you lose your right to compensation. It is best to begin the process of filing your claim as soon as possible. It takes time to prepare a solid case and evidence becomes more difficult to obtain as time passes.
2. Talking to the Insurance Company
In a wrongful death claim, it's vital that you realize the insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. Its goal is to make a profit, even if that means offering you a settlement far below what you may legally deserve. As such, even a seemingly innocent conversation may be used against you.
3. Accepting a Low Settlement
A wrongful death settlement should adequately compensate you for the deceased person's medical expenses up to the time of death, funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased person's future earnings, the deceased person's pain and suffering in their final moments, and your own loss of the deceased person's care and companionship (your own "survival claim").
Once you accept a settlement, you're not allowed to go back and ask for additional funds at a later date. The decision to accept a settlement should be made very carefully, especially if your claim involves someone who provided income that was vital to supporting your family.
4. Thinking You Can Settle Your Case Without an Attorney
The do-it-yourself approach works well for many things in life, but settling a wrongful death claim requires experienced legal representation. Your attorney can assess the worth of your case, gather evidence to support negligence, lineup expert testimony, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact us today at (985) 590-6182 for a free and confidential consultation from our office located in Covington and serving all areas of the Northshore including St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parish (Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, Slidell, Hammond) and the New Orleans metro!