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  • Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana?

Louisiana has a set of structured rules that govern who may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The state gives the surviving spouse and surviving children the right to file a claim. If these immediate family members choose not to file a wrongful death lawsuit, then no one else may do so.

However, there are instances in which other family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana.

Without a surviving spouse or children, then the decision passes on to next of kin: parents, siblings and then grandparents, in that order. Any surviving relatives beyond siblings or grandparents (for example, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews or cousins), do not have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana under any circumstances.

In Louisiana, if no family member brings a wrongful death lawsuit, then the executor of the estate may file a claim. While a family member’s claim may seek to recover both economic damages (loss of earnings and support) and non-economic damages (anguish and loss of companionship), any claim brought by the estate may seek to recover economic damages only.

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