If your loved one died in a car accident that was the fault of a driver, property owner, doctor, or another party in Atlanta, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim is a legal action that holds a person or an entity (company or government agency) legally accountable for the negligent or intentional death of another person. A wrongful death action can be brought by certain members of the victim’s family in a civil court case.
In 2021 alone, there were more than 224,000 unintentional injury deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These devastating incidents do occur, and sometimes it is due to someone else’s negligence.
From motor vehicle accidents to medical malpractice, a wrongful death claim can take many different forms based on the circumstances. Certain relatives or a representative of the decedent’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek financial compensation for losses resulting from their loved one’s death.
Wrongful Death in Georgia
Proving that the other party was negligent and that negligence caused your loved one’s death can be challenging in some cases, however. The standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is set high. This means you might need an experienced attorney to help you hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongful actions.
Typically, a wrongful death is a death caused by the negligent or even criminal acts of another. This could be the manufacturing or selling of defective products. Or a medical professional that engaged in medical negligence. It could also be the consequences of a drunk driver or a construction accident.
To seek wrongful death damages, you must prove that the at-fault party:
- Had a duty to use reasonable care and failed to do so
- That failure or violation caused your loved one harm
- That harm led to your loved one’s death
- Their death led to your losses (e.g., medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and more)
To show that each of these elements is true, you or your lawyer will need to gather evidence. When facing the loss of a loved one, this can be a difficult task for a family to take on alone. However, a lawyer can assist with or manage this process on your behalf.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
Georgia law limits who can bring a wrongful death suit after the loss of a loved one. These limitations establish an order for who can pursue a case based on their proximate ties to the deceased victim. This keeps the courts from dealing with competing lawsuits from different aggrieved family members.
In most cases, the spouse of the deceased person may bring the wrongful death claim to court. If there is no spouse, the next in line would be any surviving children. Should the children be minors, their interests will typically also be represented. In the case of the wrongful death of a child, the surviving parents may also be able to bring a claim.
If the deceased person does not have a spouse or children, their parents or guardians may be able to bring a suit. In some instances, the estate of the deceased person may file if there are no surviving relatives.
Wrongful Death FAQs
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Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
When you lose a loved one due to the negligent actions of another person or entity, it is unfair. Of course, no amount of money will bring your beloved family member back. But you should not have to bear the financial burden on your own, especially as you are still grieving over your loss.
Georgia law allows you to pursue compensation for many of the damages caused by the loss of a loved one. These losses may be both economic and non-economic, including the loss of important experiences with a loved one. Economic damages are those with monetary values that are easier to calculate as part of your claim.
- Medical expenses (leading up to your loved one’s death)
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost income and benefits they would have earned had they lived
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are more difficult to put a monetary value on. This could include:
- Loss of companionship and care (e.g., nurturing of the children, etc.)
- Loss of life experiences
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Georgia
All states have set limits on the amount of time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. In Georgia, GA Code § 9-3-33 (2022) states that you have two years from the time of death to file. If you miss filing before the deadline, your case could be dismissed by the court.
There may be certain circumstances where the clock stops and a family is allowed more time to file a lawsuit. Two years may seem like a lot of time. But when you are grieving and dealing with the emotional and financial trauma of losing a loved one, two years can go by much more quickly than you think.
A lawyer familiar with Georgia’s laws and statutes can help navigate this part of the legal process for you and let you know which laws apply in your unique case.
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim
Nothing is more devastating than suddenly losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. You do not have to take on this legal burden alone.
An attorney at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can tell you more about what a wrongful death claim is and if you have the basis for one. We can then help you file a claim or lawsuit on your loved one’s behalf.
We know you and your family are grieving, and we are here to take on the legal battle for you. Call us today to speak with one of our team members and begin your journey to justice.