Wrongful Death Lawsuits Involving Police & Government Entities

Apr 20, 2015 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

With recent headlines replete with stories of police brutality, unarmed suspects and questionable procedural maneuvers, many are considering the extent to which government entities such as police or state-run hospitals should face liability (or immunity) for their role in the severe injury or death or another person.

This article discusses a wrongful death settlement recently approved by the Baton Rouge city council involving allegations of excessive force against a now-deceased victim of the city police department, as well as how Louisiana’s Government Claims Act works to extend personal injury rights to citizens injured by government employees. If your loved one was recently killed in an accident you believe may be the fault of another person, we encourage you to contact the Baton Rouge wrongful death attorneys of Dodson Hooks, ALPC today.

Wrongful Death Settlements Highlight Importance of Victim Advocacy

In November, 2014, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council approved a $425,000 settlement with the family of a 23-year old man killed following an incident with the Baton Rouge police department. According to allegations, the victim was driving his friend’s vehicle erratically in the direction of an on-duty officer and collided the vehicle with several parked cars during the incident.

In response to the victim’s alleged violations of Louisiana traffic regulations, the officer pulled his firearm, discharged several rounds in the direction of the driver and ultimately killed him with a fatal shot to the chest. At the time of the shooting, the victim was operating the vehicle in a mall parking lot.

In September, 2014, the Metro Council approved a settlement with the family of an elderly man who ultimately passed away after his vehicle was struck by a police car traveling 92 miles per hour without the lights or siren engaged. The victim was rendered paralyzed and developed a malignant growth as a result of the paralysis. The family was awarded $500,000 for the wrongful death of the man after a jury found the police officer liable in negligence.

The Louisiana Government Claims Act

Claims against government officials require an extensive knowledge of the practical application of the Louisiana Government Claims Act – and the help of a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney. Under the Act – which was drafted to eliminate government immunity to some extent – victims may be able to recover from negligent government actors under a limited set of circumstances, namely:

  • Discrimination & civil rights violations
  • False imprisonment
  • False arrest
  • Harassment
  • Personal injury (including that resulting in death)

To recover from a government employee or entity, the plaintiff must also successfully assert that, at the time of the incident, the defendant was acting within the scope of his or her employment and/or in direct response to orders given by commanding officer or supervisor.

A wrongful death action against any Louisiana government agency is limited to a $500,000 recovery amount; however, this limit does not include property damage, medical care or loss of earnings.

Contact Dodson Hooks, ALPC

If you are considering a wrongful death action or have questions about whether you can advance a successful lawsuit against a government entity, please do not hesitate to contact Dodson Hooks, ALPC today.

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