If your loved one passed away due to an accident and you are now considering legal action, there are some important things to know about your wrongful death case, including who can file a claim and the circumstances that qualify. Most importantly, a wrongful death claim only arises if your loved one died due to the actions of a person or the actions of some other party. In other words, if your loved one caused their own accident or injury, you will not have a claim.
The claimant will have to prove negligence in order to have legal recourse and seek compensation. Individuals wishing to file a wrongful death lawsuit should discuss their potential case with a wrongful death attorney who can advise them whether their case qualifies for a wrongful death lawsuit in Atlanta.
Reasons for Wrongful Death Claims
While no lawsuit or compensation can bring back a loved one, the family of the deceased has a right to seek justice and could potentially hold a responsible party accountable for their loved one’s untimely death. There can be many different reasons for filing a wrongful death claim.
Some common situations that can lead to wrongful death cases may include:
Medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Examples of medical malpractice can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, birth injuries, and many others.
When you place your medical care in the hands of professionals, you expect that they will safeguard the life of you and your loved ones. When those professionals fail to uphold their duty of care through medical negligence, you may qualify for wrongful death damages.
Figures from the National Safety Council (NSC) show that more than 46,000 people died in car accidents in this country in 2022. A car accident fatality can qualify as a wrongful death case if the at-fault driver acted negligently in causing the accident.
Negligence can include, among other behaviors:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving generally recklessly
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Driving a defective car
When someone fails to obey traffic laws, whether it be a drunk driver, road rage, or someone distracted by their cell phone, their negligent actions can be deadly. A fatal accident caused under these circumstances would be grounds for a wrongful death action.
Slip and Fall
While premises liability claims can potentially occur in various circumstances, one of the most commonly known premises liability claims is a so-called “slip and fall” case. These cases can arise when a property owner fails to keep a property safe from hazards such as broken flooring, ice and snow accumulations, and other hazards. You may have a claim against the property owner if your loved one suffered catastrophic injuries due to a hazardous condition and subsequently passed away.
Defective products can cause harm and potentially death to consumers. Examples of defective products can include faulty medications, unsafe toys, defective appliances, and defective vehicles, among many others. Manufacturers are generally responsible for ensuring that their products and appliances are safe to use. Design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn can potentially all lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
There can be many other circumstances in which a wrongful death claim can potentially arise, including but not limited to:
- Nursing home neglect
- Aviation or boating accidents
- Animal attacks
- Negligent security
When looking for legal assistance, it is best to stay specific in your search. Look for a local attorney specializing in the area of interest to you. For example, if your loved one has suffered abuse in an Atlanta nursing home, contact an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer. They will be well-versed in all the laws and rules that apply to nursing home neglect and abuse cases in the region.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
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When to File a Claim
One of the most important things to know about your wrongful death case is when to file. Most states have deadlines for wrongful death lawsuits. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the statute of limitations would be determined by O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 which gives you 2 years to file.
Failing to file a lawsuit within that time frame could bar the family of the deceased from recovering any compensation. Two years is normally a long time to meet a deadline but after an untimely death, two years can go by very quickly. Between grieving for your loved one, the stress of rebuilding your life, and possibly recovering from your own injuries, you may not have the time or energy to deal with the legal process.
A wrongful death lawyer can comprehensively advise you on the deadlines that apply to your case and inform you of the ideal time for filing a claim. At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we will treat you with the compassion you deserve during this difficult time and make sure your legal needs are met.
Who Can File a Claim
If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you will also need to know who is entitled to file such a claim. In Georgia, not every family member may be eligible for filing a wrongful death suit. According to Georgia Code (OCGA) §51-4-2, the surviving spouse will typically file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If there is no surviving spouse, then any children of the deceased may bring the suit. If parents lost a child to wrongful death, then the parents may bring a lawsuit.
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Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
In a wrongful death claim, the family of the deceased may be able to seek compensation for a range of losses, which can include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are economic losses that can be calculated using medical bills, receipts, pay stubs, and the like. These financial losses may include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Loss of income from the deceased
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of inheritance
Non-economic damages are losses of a more personal nature and are not as easy to quantify. An experienced lawyer can still work to get you the financial compensation you deserve. Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of consortium
There may be additional forms of compensation you can pursue, depending on the specific wrongful death claim.
A Wrongful Death Attorney Can Fight for Your Rights
If someone else’s recklessness caused your loved one’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit could help your family cope financially. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can advise you of your legal rights and help you seek justice.
Contact a member of our team today for a complimentary consultation.