The challenges that come with an unexpected loss are often amplified when your loved one’s death was preventable. If another person’s negligence was responsible for your loved one’s death, you could be entitled to monetary compensation through a wrongful death claim.
A successful legal claim can help you obtain a measure of justice from the responsible party. With the help of a Savannah wrongful death lawyer, you could recover damages that cover your loved one’s final expenses and compensate you for your loss. Contact the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers at (404) 888-8888 to find out how to move forward with your claim.
Understanding Wrongful Death Actions
It is important to understand the nature of a wrongful death action. Wrongful death lawsuits are not criminal proceedings—they will not result in jail time or fines. Instead, the remedy in a successful wrongful death lawsuit is compensation from the negligent party.
That does not mean a criminal act cannot lead to a wrongful death case. In fact, it is possible for criminal prosecution and a wrongful death lawsuit to take place at the same time. One case does not directly impact the other, meaning a prosecutor cannot stand in the way of a wrongful death claim.
Not all wrongful death cases involve criminal activity. Any careless, reckless, or intentional act that results in the death of another person could lead to a wrongful death claim. If you believe you are entitled to recovery following the death of a loved one, a Savannah wrongful death lawyer might be able to help. Reach out to the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a thorough evaluation of your claim by calling (404) 888-8888.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Savannah, call (404) 888-8888
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
There are many ways a wrongful death lawsuit can come about. Ultimately, any death resulting from the negligence of another person can potentially lead to a viable claim. One of the most common types of wrongful death claims involves medical errors. A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests that medical mistakes could be the third-largest cause of death in the United States. According to the study, 10 percent of all deaths stem from some kind of medical error.
Vehicle accidents also make up a large number of wrongful death claims. These cases include more than just car accidents, however, as wrongful death cases can also involve airplane crashes or shipwrecks as well.
Workplace accidents—particularly those in dangerous professions like construction work—also routinely result in fatalities. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 5,250 workers died on the job in the United States in 2018 alone. Preventable workplace deaths could result in a wrongful death lawsuit. Other examples of wrongful death cases can include:
- Violent crime.
- Slip and fall accidents.
- Defective products.
- Nursing home abuse.
- Toxic spills.
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The Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Although a death might impact a vast array of people, only certain individuals have the right to proceed with a wrongful death action. According to Georgia law, a surviving spouse has the primary right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the couple had minor children at the time of death, the surviving spouse must also bring the suit on behalf of the children as well.
If there are no surviving spouses or children, the right to file a lawsuit falls to a second group of individuals. This includes the surviving parents of the deceased or a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If the personal representative files the lawsuit, any proceeds are held by the estate and distributed to the next of kin.
Damages in a wrongful death action work differently than a standard personal injury lawsuit. There are essentially two types of claims available. The first type of claim covers the “full value of the life of the deceased,” and exists to compensate a family for the benefits they would have obtained from the deceased during the course of their life.
These claims include compensation for lost wages and pensions that the deceased likely would have earned in the future. Compensation for their lost companionship, as well as other intangible benefits, is also often available.
The second type of claim relates to the direct financial consequences of a person’s death. For example, these damages cover a person’s final medical expenses, funeral costs, and burial expenses. This type of claim also covers the pain and suffering the deceased person experienced before their death.
A successful wrongful death claim could recover both types of compensation. Often, the compensation awarded in these cases is significant. This is especially following the death of a person who was relatively young.
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Timeline for Filing a Lawsuit
As with any lawsuit, there is a strict time limit to bring a wrongful death action in Savannah. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. Should you file your claim after the deadline expires, the court is likely to bar you from pursuing it. This is the case even when the facts of your underlying claim are strong.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim expires two years from the date of death. Complying with the statute of limitations is vital, but there are certain circumstances where the two-year window may be paused. For example, the clock stops while a criminal case involving the same facts remains ongoing. There is also an exception when there is a delay in probate. Never assume these exceptions apply to your case.
Let Compassionate Legal Counsel Guide You Through This Difficult Time
Due to the statute of limitations, any delay in pursuing a wrongful death claim can be detrimental to your chances of recovery. Do not hesitate to speak with a Savannah wrongful death lawyer as soon as you are ready.
If you are prepared to hold the person or entity that caused the death of your loved one accountable, contact the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers right away to set up your initial consultation at (404) 888-8888.