PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS

If you have lost a family member or suffered injuries as a result of another person’s negligence or misconduct, you could be legally entitled to compensation for your loss. To learn more about your right to damages, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney for straightforward solutions that will work for you.

Maximum Recovery For You and Your Family

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, personal injury attorneys at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger keep your best interests in mind. Contact us now.

We understand how hard it is to deal with a personal injury, on a physical, financial, social and familial level. We are committed to achieving the best possible compensation for you in a timely, responsive and caring manner.

Personal Injury – An Overview

Personal injury lawsuits are filed by people (or their representatives) injured due to the negligence of someone else. The injury may be either physical or emotional, and it can arise from a variety of sources or types of conduct. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases include slip and fall, automobile accidents, assaults and battery, medical malpractice, and product liability. In general, the goal of a personal injury action is to determine who was responsible and to compel the responsible party to compensate the injured person for the losses sustained. If you or someone you know has been injured by the careless actions of another, contact a personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, at once to find out how we can help you preserve your rights.

18 WHEELER / TRUCK ACCIDENTS

We’re here to help – when your life changes in an instant

Accidents on Louisiana roads involving semi-trailers or 18 wheelers often result in severe or fatal injuries to the innocent drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles.

When these accidents are caused due to truck driver error or trucking company negligence, it is almost inevitable there will be an immediate investigation by local, state and federal government agencies.

Make no mistake…most trucking companies and their insurers will have a legal team involved in the investigation, and their primary goal is to limit the amount of money the victims receive.

You and your loved ones should not have to face this fight alone, so it is vital you have a skilled personal injury attorney with substantial experience with truck accident cases.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we are dedicated to helping those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a big rig or 18 wheeler.

We will be at your side from the very beginning to protect your rights, and help you recover compensation for losses you may suffer, such as:

  • Medical bills, both presently owed and for the rest of your life
  • Social support services
  • Rehabilitation services to help you adjust to life after the accident
  • Lost work time
  • Pain and suffering

Immediate Action in Serving Victims of Truck Accident Cases

If the person injured or killed in a truck or 18 wheeler accident was the major provider for the family, we will immediately meet with you at the hospital or any other location convenient for you, so that we can provide you with necessary life expenses such as food and shelter.

Our Approach to Serving Victims of Truck Accidents

Our legal team will first examine all the facts of the case, and then share them with you to make sure you know your interests are well-protected.

We will also make sure the insurance companies are fully aware of the extent of your injuries, clearly outlining how the accident has impacted the lives of you and your loved ones.

We want to remind these companies they are dealing with human beings who are experiencing a real tragedy, and who deserve due compensation without unreasonable delays or insulting lowball settlement offers.

If you or a member of your family have been a victim of a serious truck or 18 wheeler accident, contact us to schedule a consultation today. We will charge you nothing unless you win.

Go to mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703.

BACK/NECK/SHOULDER INJURIES

When someone has been injured in an accident, there are long-term and possibly permanent effects that are often not readily apparent.

This is especially true in injuries such as:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Strains and sprains
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Recreational accidents
  • Trip and fall injuries
  • Slip and fall injuries

Often victims will not seek legal representation, saying “It wasn’t a big deal”, “I’m just sore, it will heal on its own”, or “a lawyer will just try to convince me to sue.”

But the reality is an injury could permanently affect your health and career, and if someone is responsible for your injuries, then it is extremely important for these victims to find an experienced attorney – and as soon as possible.

For over twenty years, Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger has served the legal needs of accident victims in Louisiana.

As a small firm, we are better able to get to know you personally. But despite our size, we have a reputation for being tough trial lawyers, knowledgeable in insurance law, and effective at getting things done.

  • We fight for your rights when you are unable to fight for yourself
  • We make sure you get the medical help you need
  • We demand the insurance company does what it is supposed to do:
  • pay your medical bills ñ and compensate you for the pain and suffering
  • We make sure you duly file for compensation within the time allowed by law
  • We make sure you pay nothing to us, unless we obtain a settlement or trial judgment for you.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, do not speak to any insurance adjuster, or sign any papers until you consult with a qualified, experienced attorney.

Schedule a consultation online at mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703 today.

CAR WRECK/DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we offer exceptional legal service from experienced lawyers who are dedicated to fighting for maximum compensation for those who have suffered serious injury, or the loss of a loved one, due to someone else’s negligence.

An Established Louisiana Personal Injury Law Firm

For over twenty years, we have helped hundreds of clients injured in car accidents, and have a proven track in obtaining financial settlements and won trial verdicts.

Thorough and Aggressive Representation

Our reputation for being prepared and trial-ready sends a clear message to the insurance companies when negotiating – we will not settle for less that what is fair.

We will listen carefully to the circumstances in your case in order to plan the best course of action, whether your case goes to trial or is settled out of court.

Whether your case goes to trial or is settled out of court, our goal is to maximize your recovery – with thorough investigation, aggressive settlement negotiation and determined representation.

Responsive Personal Service

We understand the needs of the family when making settlement recommendations or preparing for trial, so our attorneys routinely make home or hospital visits to clients who are seriously injured.

We are personally invested in the outcome of each case, and work hard to obtain financial justice for victims who were injured or lost a loved one in a fatal auto crash or drunk driving accidents.

All cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front fees or out-of-pocket costs to you. We only get paid when we obtain a financial settlement or judgment in your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

To schedule a consultation, go online to mgklawyers.com or call our Baton Rouge offices at 225-383-9703.

MARITIME OFFSHORE ACCIDENTS

Experienced Representation in Serious Maritime Accident and Injury Cases

Maritime offshore accidents can range from a slip and fall to a traumatic brain injury, and any one of them could result in a life-long physically challenging disability.

For many of these victims, that could mean retraining, surgeries, and physical rehabilitation.

Laws governing maritime or offshore accidents are different from most land-based laws governing personal injury or workers’ compensation, which makes it vitally important to have an attorney experienced in maritime accident and injury law.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, our attorneys have substantial experience representing the rights and interests of injured seamen and land-based maritime workers who are seeking maintenance and cure or other compensation and disability benefits in:

  • Jones Act claims
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) act
  • General maritime law claims relating to negligence or seaworthiness

Our thorough understanding of maritime accident and injury cases enables us to fight for the full financial compensation and medical benefits you deserve and need to recover from a work-related injury, including financial settlements for pain and suffering, when appropriate.

Former Admiralty Defense Lawyer Uses His Knowledge to Help You

Our maritime and offshore accidents lawyer, André Bélanger uses his experience as an admiralty defense attorney to create a powerful case on your behalf. He and his team know the terminology and processes underwriters can employ to minimize your case and recovery, and how to advance your claim forcefully and with dispatch.

You are entitled to medical care for your injury, and you do not need to use your company doctor. Even if you work on a fixed platform and do not qualify as a Jones Act case, we can help you file a claim and seek compensation.

If you have been injured on the job in the Gulf of Mexico, on the Mississippi River or any of Louisiana’s other rivers, lakes, bayous or waterways, schedule a consultation today. Online at mgklawyers.com or 225-383-9703.

MILITARY ADMINISTRATIVE REPRESENTATION & APPEAL

Baton Rouge Military Administration Representation Attorney

Fearless, Focused and Effective Military Administrative Representation

When a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine is injured or falls ill, they have the right under military law to hire an independent civilian military law attorney.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we offer sound legal advice and experienced representation in physical evaluation board (PEB) and medical evaluation board (MEB) hearings.

Our goal is to ensure you receive the respect, full medical care and financial benefit you deserve for your injuries.

Former Military Lawyer in Baton Rouge

W. Robert Gill served as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in a leadership position for the United States Military in California and Hawaii. During that time, he handled hundreds of cases for soldiers in the military.

If any military personnel, or for those soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, W. Robert Gill and his team can provide the sound legal representation you require.

Schedule a Consultation

Whether you are seeking placement on the temporary disabled retirement list (TDRL) after a traumatic injury, or appropriate medical and psychiatric care for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the skilled team will be at your side.

To schedule your consultation, contact us online at mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-9703. to discuss your rights and legal options in a consultation with an independent and knowledgeable military administrative representation attorney.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Motor vehicle accidents cause the loss of time, property, health and even life. Such accidents occur because of elements including driver error, negligence, manufacturing defects and dangerous weather. No matter what the specific cause or result, a crash can turn a normal day into a prolonged struggle. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer can help you sort out your rights, your options, and your future.

At-fault, negligent and aggressive drivers

When you have been in an auto accident, you may have a sense of who caused it. Issues of fault, however, can be complicated by who acted when and which laws governed the situation. If the other driver was negligent, you may have to prove that the driver breached a duty of care to you and that the breach caused your damages. The assistance of an attorney can be immensely valuable at this time, whether you are battling an insurance company, seeking compensation for your injuries or defending yourself in court.

Sources of information on the accident include police reports, witnesses and the condition of the vehicles involved in the accident. They could reveal what happened and why.

Actions, on the part of either driver, that may have contributed to the accident include:

  • Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to compensate for dangerous weather conditions
  • Driving above or below the posted speed limits
  • Driver distraction caused by a cell phone, passenger, radio or another source
  • Failure to obey traffic laws regarding turn signals, rights-of-way and other rules

Sometimes the at-fault driver is more than merely negligent; he or she may have acted recklessly or even intentionally. A reckless driver acts with conscious disregard for the probable consequences of his or her actions. Road rage incidents often involve reckless behavior, and they can escalate into intentional behavior. Road rage, in particular, can be extremely dangerous, leading to injuries and criminal charges. Generally, aggressive drivers are a serious threat to safety. Speeding and taking other risks contributes significantly to highway and other driving fatalities.

Drunk driving

Drunk driving can lead to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Additionally, the business that sold alcohol to the drunk driver may be held liable if it served the driver when he or she was visibly intoxicated. This, however, does not take any responsibility from the driver who drove while intoxicated. If you have been in an accident involving alcohol or drugs, seek the help of a personal injury attorney who will explain your legal options.

Auto accidents not caused by the drivers

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you drive, you cannot avoid an accident. In certain cases, a vehicle’s manufacturing or design defect causes the accident or makes it worse. This might happen if, for instance, the brakes on your car fail or the airbag does not deploy when it should. The law of products liability applies in this situation, protecting consumers when products create an unreasonable risk of harm. If a product defect caused your injuries, you may have a case against the designer, manufacturer or distributor of the product.

Another responsible party could be a mechanic who improperly repaired the car that caused the accident. Both the mechanic and the mechanic’s employer could be liable in such a case.

Finally, poorly maintained roads, messy and confusing construction, unclear signage, improperly designed roads and similar problems can contribute to an accident. Government entities are typically responsible for the roads and highways; they may, therefore, be liable for accidents caused by the above factors. Special rules, however, apply to lawsuits against government entities; a lawyer will be able to explain them in detail.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

It is important to take prompt action when you have been in a motor vehicle accident. This will help you preserve your rights and seek proper compensation. Contact Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, to schedule a consultation with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer.

MOTORCYCLE/BOAT/RECREATIONAL VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

When a loved one has died in a motorcycle, boating, ATV or other recreational vehicle accident due to negligence, families need sound legal advice and representation to hold the responsible party accountable to the full extent of the law.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we have a successful track record throughout Louisiana for helping families and victims of serious ATV injury or wrongful death.

We possess the required skill, flexibility and keen understanding as to when to employ aggressive tactics, and when to take a more strained approach.

You Have a Right to Seek Monetary Compensation

While insurers routinely fight to award only the most minimal of payments, the law provides for people who have suffered serious injuries caused by another’s negligence to seek recovery of monies for medical costs, surgery and other related expenses.

We believe you need sound legal representation so you can focus your efforts on healing, and receive justice under the law. Our experienced trial lawyers know how to identify key facts related to an injury, and how to aggressively pursue compensation from those parties who are legally responsible to pay it.

Schedule a Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or loss in an accident, you need to learn more about your rights and legal options for obtaining fair compensation.

To schedule a consultation, contact us online at mgklawyers.com or call 225-383-903 today.

PERSONAL INJURY DAMAGES

Personal injury lawyers can help ensure that their clients receive the damages to which they are entitled by law. Some of the items for which injured parties are legally entitled to compensation include lost wages, past and future medical expenses, damages for both physical and emotional pain and suffering, and damages for disfigurement. Sometimes, a close family member of the injured person, such as his or her spouse, may also be entitled to damages. This award is often referred to as loss of consortium damages, which is intended to compensate the loved one for the loss of the injured or deceased person’s services and companionship.

Other kinds of damages that may be awarded, depending on the laws of the state where the lawsuit is brought and the facts of the particular case, include hedonic damages, which are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of enjoyment of activities that he or she once valued but can no longer participate in as a result of the injuries suffered. In addition, punitive damages may be awarded when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious and the court or jury determines that the defendant should be punished by paying an amount above and beyond the plaintiff’s actual damages. Punitive damage awards may also serve to deter others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.

“Legal causation” of personal injuries

Not every injured plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for the injury he or she sustains. Besides the injury, the plaintiff must also establish, through credible and relevant evidence, that the defendant is legally responsible for his or her injuries. The plaintiff must present proof of causation both in terms of actual causation and proximate (legal) causation. Actual causation is determined by literal cause and effect. Whether legal causation is established depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular matter in question.

In some personal injury actions, legal causation may be established if the plaintiff can show that the defendant engaged in intentional conduct. This means that the wrongdoer intentionally or purposefully harmed the plaintiff or knew that the conduct in which he or she engaged gave rise to a substantial likelihood that harm would result.

Negligence and strict liability

Other personal injury actions are based on a looser concept of fault called negligence. Under the negligence theory, a defendant is held liable for the results of action, or inaction, when an ordinary person in the same position should have foreseen that the conduct would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. Still other types of personal injury actions are based on strict liability, which is a no-fault system under which liability may be established regardless of the fault of the various parties, including the injured party. Strict liability may be applied in products liability cases, such as when a manufacturer or seller of a defective product puts that product into the hands of consumers and users of the product are injured.

The defendant can be held liable for actions taken or for actions not taken. A driver who fails to stop at a red light and hits another vehicle and injures the other driver or passengers is liable based on her negligent acts. A property owner who fails to clear the ice and snow from the front steps of a business open to the public may be liable for his inaction if a patron falls and breaks her leg when attempting to enter the premises.

Defenses to liability in personal injury cases

In some situations, the defendant’s conduct, while questionable, may not give rise to damages. If, for instance, a plaintiff knowingly and willfully chooses to encounter a known hazard, then the law provides that he or she has assumed the risk of injury and therefore the defendant should not be liable. The assumption of the risk theory may apply also in a case in which the plaintiff engaged in a friendly game of tackle football and another player broke his arm; in such a case, the plaintiff may be unable to recover for his injuries because he knew of the risks inherent in the game and willingly chose to encounter them.

The following are possible defenses to personal injury claims.

  • Statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations are laws setting forth the period within which the lawsuit must be initiated.
  • Sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity provides that certain government officials are immune from civil liability for their official conduct.
  • Intentional misuse. Injuries caused by a plaintiff’s intentional misuse of a product may be a defense to liability in a products liability case.
  • Contributory or comparative negligence. Contributory or comparative negligence exists where the plaintiff’s own conduct caused or contributed to his or her injuries.

A personal injury lawyer can explain these and other defenses and determine whether they apply to a particular case.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Personal injury actions often require a lawyer’s careful examination of the surrounding facts and circumstances to determine whether the defendant is legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. A personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can look at the facts of your case and determine whether you have a legally valid claim, how soon you must act to preserve your rights, the damages to which you may be entitled and whether you may be entitled to some type of financial benefits before your lawsuit is even resolved. Additionally, in many personal injury cases, you owe no legal fees unless and until the defendant pays the damage award.

SLIPS, FALLS, AND OTHER PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIMS

Premises liability law involves the legal responsibilities of property owners and occupiers to prevent injuries to persons on their property. One of the most common causes of such injuries is a trip or slip and fall, such as on an icy sidewalk, a loose or uneven stair tread, or a piece of debris or spilled liquid on the floor. Property owner liability varies depending on the rules and principles adopted in the jurisdiction where the injury occurred.

An experienced personal injury lawyer at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can evaluate the strength of your premises liability claim and help you recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Premises liability: general principles

Some states’ premises liability laws focus on the status of the visitor to the property. In such states, the injured person is generally defined as either an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser.

  • Invitee. An invitee is someone who is expressly or impliedly invited onto the property of another. The owner owes the invitee the highest duty of care, which includes taking every reasonable precaution to ensure the invitee’s safety.
  • Licensee. A licensee, by contrast, enters the property for his or her own purposes but is present at the consent of the owner. The owner is required to warn a licensee of hidden dangers, but is not necessarily required to fix them.
  • Trespasser. A trespasser enters the property without any right whatsoever to do so. In the case of adult trespassers, the owner generally has no duty of care and need not take reasonable care of his property or warn of hidden dangers. Even if a person was trespassing at the time of his or her injury, he or she may still be able to recover, however, if he or she can show that the owner knew it was likely that trespassers would enter the property. Children are owed a higher duty of care, regardless of whether they are considered trespassers. A landowner’s duty to warn is also heightened with respect to children.

In states where consideration is given to the condition of the property and the activities of the owner and visitor, a uniform standard of care is applied to both invitees and licensees. This uniform standard requires the exercise of reasonable care for the safety of visitors other than trespassers. To satisfy the reasonableness standard owed to invitees and licensees, an owner has a continuing duty to inspect the property to identify dangerous conditions and either repair them or post warnings as appropriate.

Proving owners’ liability in premises liability cases

In proving a premises liability case, an injured person must show that the standard of reasonableness required by an owner has not been met. Perhaps the most difficult element an injured person must prove is the owner’s knowledge of the condition causing his or her injury. The injured person must prove that the owner knew or should have known the condition in order for liability to attach, which is often quite difficult to establish.

Defenses to liability in premises liability cases

One of the commonly applied theories to limit an injured person’s recovery is comparative or contributory fault. A visitor has a duty, in most cases, to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety, and when that degree of care is not exercised, an injured person’s recovery may be limited or reduced by an amount attributable to his or her own negligence.

In the cases where a person’s injuries are the result of slipping on an icy sidewalk in front of a business or on a grape, lettuce leaf, banana peel or other food item that has fallen on a grocery store floor, the property owner may or may not be liable for the person’s injuries. Although property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain the premises in such a way to prevent injuries to lawful visitors, if a condition of the premises is noticed by a customer or other visitor or should be readily apparent, the property owner may avoid liability because the injured person has also a duty to protect himself or herself against the injury.

The property owner may also avoid liability by establishing that the debris had so recently fallen on the floor or that the ice had so recently accumulated that the responsible persons had no reasonable opportunity to correct the condition and avoid the hazard before the plaintiff fell. In other words, the plaintiff in a slip and fall case, whether it occurs in a grocery store or elsewhere, must show that the owner had a reasonable period of time in which to discover the dangerous condition and in which to remedy it. The determination of what constitutes a reasonable time will vary from case to case.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Even common accidents such as slips and falls can present complex legal issues and complicated questions of both fact and law. Accordingly, if you have been injured in a premises-related accident, an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise you on your rights and work with you to pursue a favorable outcome.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

The Center for Disease Control reports that every year, 1.5 million people suffer from some form of brain injury due to an accident, resulting in:

  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Blunt Trauma
  • Brain Damage
  • Coma
  • Memory Loss
  • Paraplegia
  • Cognitive Deficits
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage (Brain Bleed)

These kinds of injuries are costly to treat, can devastate families and often leave the victim with permanent, life-altering disabilities.

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another, it is vital you seek the knowledgeable legal guidance and experienced representation of a personal injury attorney.

At Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger, we understand the challenges faced by the survivors and their families, and are dedicated to helping those who have been injured obtain maximum recovery.

We have over twenty years experience in personal injury cases, and can help you take immediate and decisive action to ensure you receive the full and fair financial compensation you deserve, which includes:

  • Basic necessities such as food and shelter
  • Medical bills, including hospital and surgery and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Future care and ongoing medical needs for treatment such as physical rehabilitation,
  • Speech therapy and occupational retraining
  • Pain and suffering

We are powerful advocates for victims and their recovery after a Traumatic Brain Injury.

To schedule your consultation, learn about your rights and legal options, and receive an evaluation of your personal injury case, contact us today – online at mgklawyers.com or by calling 225-383-9703.

WRONGFUL DEATH

In general, a wrongful death claim is one in which it is alleged that a person died as a result of another’s negligence. The deceased person’s surviving relatives, dependents or beneficiaries may bring suit against the responsible party or parties, seeking monetary damages for their losses. Each state has its own wrongful death laws and not every state follows the same guidelines, principles or rules.

A personal injury attorney from Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, can advise you on whether you have a valid wrongful death claim and help you pursue that claim against the responsible party or parties.

Wrongful death laws vary from state to state

Some states have “true” wrongful death acts in which the deceased person’s survivors or next of kin are entitled to bring a cause of action for their damages resulting from their family member’s death. Other states have acts that are more properly called “survival actions.” In general, survival actions are brought on behalf of the deceased person for the deceased person’s pain, suffering and other damages resulting from the injuries that caused his or her death.

The individuals who are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim also depends on the jurisdiction. Generally, the primary beneficiaries of the person who has died (often the spouse and children) are able to bring a claim, and in some states the parents of the deceased person may be also designated as beneficiaries. In most states, if the deceased person did not leave behind a husband or wife, children or parents, there may be no one who may bring a wrongful death claim.

In many jurisdictions, it is not necessary that the defendant’s conduct be the sole cause of death. Even when the defendant’s negligence contributes only in part or in tandem with other circumstances to a person’s death, liability may still attach.

Wrongful death damages

Types of damages. When a defendant is found legally liable for the death of another, the types of damages that may be recovered can also vary greatly. For example, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death case may be able to recover the deceased person’s medical expenses; funeral and burial expenses; lost earnings; and lost benefits (such as pension benefits or medical and health insurance coverage). Additionally, in a few states, the plaintiffs may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish that they experienced as a result of the death as well as punitive damages.

Calculating damages. The method and manner of calculating damages in a wrongful death action can be complicated. This potential complexity is especially true when trying to calculate the monetary loss to which the plaintiffs are entitled. Monetary loss, sometimes called pecuniary loss, generally includes the survivor’s lost support, contributions and services of the deceased person. The computations for these damages are typically based on the deceased person’s life expectancy and work life expectancy as well as the life expectancies of the beneficiaries and, where necessary, the remaining period of minority of any beneficiaries.

Multiple beneficiaries. In cases where there is more than one beneficiary, the damages will be distributed among those beneficiaries. Most states allocate the damages among the beneficiaries in accordance with their losses. However, in some states the recovery is divided as spelled out in its wrongful death or intestacy laws.

Defenses to liability in wrongful death cases

In general, a defendant is entitled to raise any defenses in a wrongful death action that could have been raised in an action brought directly by the decedent, had he or she not died. Therefore, if the decedent was contributorily negligent in causing his or her own death, the defendant may assert that defense in the wrongful death action. Also, in most states, if the decedent had already recovered damages, such as in a case where the death was not immediate and the decedent was able to bring his own successful personal injury claim, the survivors may not then successfully bring a wrongful death action and recover for the same injury. There are limitations to this prohibition, and in some situations the survivors may still be entitled to bring a wrongful death action in their names.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

When a loved one dies, the complexities of a legal claim against the wrongdoer can be overwhelming. At this already stressful and emotion-laden time, the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Bélanger in Baton Rouge, LA, who can guide surviving family members through the complex legal maze and help secure compensation for their devastating losses, can be invaluable.

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