When it comes to a wrongful death claim, the at-fault party would most likely be responsible for paying out damages to those who file a lawsuit. In practice, this means the insurance carrier of the at-fault party or parties pays out a settlement to the plaintiff, which could be a family member or representative of the estate of the deceased individual.
Wrongful death can be devastating, causing great emotional distress and financial hardship for an entire family. If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, a wrongful death lawyer can help answer any questions you may have, and advise you of your legal rights to compensation.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Close relatives of the deceased may be able to recover compensation with a wrongful death lawsuit. This compensation can be based on economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that involve direct economic losses. They are generally easy to identify and calculate using receipts and paychecks. Examples of these kinds of monetary damages are:
- Medical expenses before death – This may include the cost of an ambulance ride, time spent in the emergency room and hospital, and other medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Loss of income from the deceased
- Loss of benefits from the deceased
- Loss of inheritance
Non-economic damages are different from financial damages in that they do not generally have a direct dollar amount connected to them. Damages for pain and loss are more subjective and therefore are not as simple to calculate. An experienced attorney will be able to fully explore your losses and help you find the best way to compensate your wrongful death damages.
Examples of these kinds of non-economic damages include:
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress and suffering
- Loss of parental instruction for children
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of care
Relatives could potentially receive other types of compensation, depending on the specific wrongful death claim.
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Examples of Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful deaths can occur for a number of reasons, including deliberate wrongful acts such as violent crimes and murder, or negligent acts. Examples of wrongful death claims can include but are not limited to:
Medical malpractice can be a reason for a wrongful death lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims can be tricky and typically involve expert witness testimony as well as a considerable amount of evidence. Wrongful deaths from malpractice are, unfortunately, very common. They may even be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Medical malpractice, if the plaintiff dies, can qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Since many car accidents happen due to driver error and negligence, for example, drunk driving, speeding, and reckless driving, a car accident fatality can potentially result in a wrongful death lawsuit. In some cases, plaintiffs can sue a car manufacturer or a liable third party if an accident happened due to a manufacturing defect or error in servicing and maintenance.
If an individual intentionally murdered your relative or hurt them and they later passed away, you could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover compensation. It is important to note that if an incident happened due to a lack of premises security, you could also potentially file a claim against a property owner according to premises liability law.
Fatal Work Accidents
If your relative died due to a work accident, you will most likely turn to workers’ compensation for benefits and help in the first instance. However, if the employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, or your loved one died due to a negligent third party, you could file a wrongful death claim and potentially recover compensation. A wrongful death lawyer can inform you about any legal options that could be open to you.
When an individual falls and suffers fatal injuries due to a hazardous or dangerous condition such as wet floors or broken steps, relatives may have a wrongful death claim against a property owner. Similarly, if a person comes to harm due to a violent attack on someone else’s property, a wrongful death claim can arise if a property owner failed to install adequate security measures at the premises.
Defective Product Claims
If your loved one was harmed and subsequently died due to a defective product, you could hold a manufacturer to account and receive compensation for your damages. Defective product cases can arise in a variety of different circumstances, including faulty car parts, defective medications, defective electric appliances, faulty toys, and many other consumer products.
Wrongful death claims can also arise in a number of different situations, including boating and aviation accidents, nursing home neglect, dog bites and attacks, and many others. The one thing all wrongful death claims have in common is that the deceased died due to negligence. Hence, the negligent party or their insurance typically pays for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Don’t Miss Your Opportunity for Justice
Every state gives victims a limited amount of time to file a civil suit. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 provides a two-year window. After that, you may lose your opportunity to pursue compensation for losses incurred due to the reckless actions of another.
Two years may appear to be plenty of time but it’s less than you think. After the loss of a loved one, you may find yourself under a great deal of stress, unable to deal with the legal system. You may also be recovering from your own injuries or trying to recover from the mental and financial trauma that has impacted you and your family.
A wrongful death attorney can help make sure your legal action is kept on track. They can ensure all of the required deadlines are met so you can focus on rebuilding your life.
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Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Today for Help
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers understands the difficulties and heartbreak you face when a loved one dies unexpectedly, and we can be here for you during this difficult time.
Contact us today to speak with a member of our team and review your legal rights when filing a claim against a negligent party.