Who can sue for wrongful death in Louisiana?

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Luke Williamson - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Luke Williamson

Located in Baton Rouge, LAWilliamson Fontenot Campbell & Whittington, LLC

Baton Rouge, LA
Phone: 225-383-4010
Fax: 225-383-4114

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First, it is important to distinguish “wrongful death” from “survival action.” Legally speaking, wrongful death covers damages for your loss of love, affection and financial support from your family member. However, survival action covers the pain and suffering experienced by your loved one prior to death. For the purpose of this question and my answer, when considering whether you can sue for the death of your loved one, we are speaking only about wrongful death.

Louisiana has unique laws about wrongful death suits and who can bring them. Under Louisiana law, a hierarchy exists based on an individual’s relationship to the decedent. Only the most senior member of the hierarchy may bring a suit. If someone exists who is more senior in the hierarchy, whether or not they want to bring a suit, you cannot bring a suit. The hierarchy is as follows:

  • Spouse and/or children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents

So, the spouse and children of the decedent take precedence, down to the grandparents with last priority. This hierarchy means that if no existing legal tie, such as with a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend, then there is no possibility at all of bringing a suit.

Overall, the process of suing for wrongful death is extremely complicated. It requires not only legal knowledge, but medical understanding of the situation. If you are considering suing for wrongful death of your loved one, you must contact an attorney with deep experience in this area.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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