Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience, and we are here to provide you with the most important information you need to know about pursuing a wrongful death case in Georgia. In this guide, our wrongful death lawyer near you will cover various aspects of wrongful death cases, including legal requirements, time limitations, damages, and the steps involved in filing a claim. Our goal at SHElaw firm® is to equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to help you navigate the legal process and understand why you likely will need an attorney to obtain justice for your loved one.
Legal Requirements for Wrongful Death Cases in Georgia
To pursue a wrongful death case in Georgia, certain legal requirements must be met. The Georgia Wrongful Death Act (Ga. Code 51-4-1) defines wrongful death as all cases that have resulted in the death of a human being due to criminal activities, negligence, defective property, or manufacturing. Understanding these requirements is crucial for building a strong case. Here are the key elements:
Negligence or Wrongful Act
In a wrongful death claim, you must establish that the death was caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another party. This could include actions such as reckless driving, medical malpractice, product defects, or premises liability.
Duty of Care
You need to demonstrate that the responsible party had a duty of care towards the deceased. For example, a driver has a duty to operate their vehicle responsibly and obey traffic laws.
Breach of Duty
Next, you must show that the responsible party breached their duty of care. This means they failed to meet the expected standards of behavior, such as driving under the influence or providing substandard medical care.
You must establish a direct link between the breach of duty and the resulting death. This requires demonstrating that the negligent act directly caused or substantially contributed to the fatal injuries.
Surviving Family Members
In Georgia, only certain individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Typically, this includes the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. If there are no immediate family members, the right to file may pass to the estate.
Time Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
It is crucial to be aware of the time limitations associated with filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in the forfeiture of your right to seek compensation. The general statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Georgia is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death.
However, exceptions may apply depending on the circumstances of the case. It is highly recommended to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney to ensure compliance with the specific deadlines relevant to your situation.
Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
In a successful wrongful death claim, various types of damages may be recoverable. These damages aim to compensate the surviving family members for their losses and provide financial support during the difficult period following the loss of a loved one. Here are some of the potential damages:
- Medical Expenses: If the deceased received medical treatment prior to their passing, reasonable medical expenses can be included in the claim.
- Funeral and Burial Costs: Funeral and burial expenses can be significant. Compensation can be sought to cover these costs, ensuring that the family is not burdened financially.
- Loss of Financial Support: The court may consider the financial contributions the deceased would have made to the family over their expected lifetime. Factors such as the deceased’s income, benefits, and future earning potential will be taken into account.
- Loss of Consortium and Companionship: The emotional impact of losing a loved one cannot be understated. Compensation may be available for the loss of the deceased’s companionship, guidance, and support.
- Pain and Suffering: In cases where the deceased experienced conscious pain and suffering prior to their death, damages may be awarded to compensate for the physical and emotional distress endured.
- Punitive Damages: In rare cases involving extreme negligence or intentional misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages are intended to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future.
Steps to Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
Bringing a wrongful death claim in Georgia involves several important steps. While the process can be complex, having a knowledgeable injury attorney by your side can greatly facilitate the proceedings. Here is an overview of the typical steps involved:
Consultation with an Attorney
The first step is to schedule a consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney. They will assess the details of your case, answer your questions, and guide you through the legal process.
Investigation and Gathering Evidence
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence supporting your claim. This may include reviewing medical records, auto accident reports, witness statements, and any available surveillance footage.
Preparing and Filing the Lawsuit
Once sufficient evidence has been collected, your attorney will prepare the necessary legal documents and file a lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit will outline the details of the case, the damages sought, and the parties being held accountable.
Negotiation and Settlement
In many cases, the opposing party may seek a settlement to avoid a lengthy court battle. Your attorney will negotiate with the responsible party and their insurance company to pursue a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your losses.
Litigation and Trial (If Necessary)
If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to litigation. Your attorney will represent you in court, presenting the evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, aiming to secure a favorable verdict.
Distribution of Compensation
If your case is successful, the compensation awarded will be distributed to the eligible family members according to Georgia’s wrongful death laws. The distribution will consider factors such as the relationship with the deceased and the extent of each individual’s financial dependence.
If Your Loved One Was Killed in an Accident, call SHElaw firm today for a Wrongful Death Lawyer that Fights for Your Loved One!
Losing a loved one in a wrongful death incident is a tragic event that can leave families devastated both emotionally and financially. By understanding the legal requirements, time limitations, recoverable damages, and steps involved in pursuing a wrongful death case in Georgia, you are better prepared to navigate the legal system and seek justice for your loved one. Remember, consulting with a skilled wrongful death attorney is crucial to ensure your rights are protected and to maximize your chances of obtaining a fair outcome.
For more information and personalized guidance, feel free to reach out to our dedicated team of wrongful death attorneys at SHElaw firm®. We are here to support you during this difficult time and help you achieve the justice you deserve. Call us today at 470-378-1162 or fill out our contact form here.