Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer

The financial and emotional impact of suddenly and unexpectedly losing a loved one is devastating. The situation is even worse when the death is caused by another party’s negligent, reckless, or malicious actions. Georgia law gives families the right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death case.

Wrongful death cases are complex and you need a top Atlanta wrongful death lawyer to guide you through the process. With the SHElaw firm, you are going to have a law firm by your side that is the real deal.

Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have been doing this for years and know how to manage a case such as this with a commitment to excellence. To learn more about how we can help you and arrange a free consultation, take the time to reach out to us at 470-378-1162.

Table of Contents

How Is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Georgia?

The Ga. Code § 51-4-1 to 5 of the Wrongful Death Act outlines the possible legal grounds for a wrongful death claim, with the first section defining what wrongful death is.

Georgia law defines wrongful death as the death of a human being due to criminal activities, negligence, defective products, and faulty construction.

Legal grounds for a wrongful death case include:

  • Car accidents caused by negligence (for example drunk driving)
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse/neglect
  • Defective products
  • Criminal acts, including intentional homicide
  • Contaminated food
  • Engineering errors and shoddy construction
  • Improper or illegal alcohol service – a bartender serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person

If you have lost a loved one and are wondering if you have a wrongful death, reach out to our attorneys at the SHElaw firm for a free case evaluation.

Who Is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

While many friends and relatives are left grieving, Georgia law only allows a few people to file a wrongful death case. One of the most important details to know is whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death case.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act outlines who has the right to file a claim:

  • The deceased’s surviving spouse
  • The deceased’s children (if there is no surviving spouse)
  • The deceased’s parents (if there is no surviving spouse or children)
  • The estate administrator (if the deceased left no spouse, children, or parents)

In Georgia, the compensation is typically divided equally among the surviving spouse and the surviving children. However, the spouse is always entitled to at least one-third of the total amount.

What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?

Financial compensation cannot take away your grief, but it can ease the burden on your family. Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers will fight to help you recover the highest compensation possible.

Economic Damages

The family can recover compensation for the “full value of the deceased’s life.” We consider what your loved one would have earned over their career as well as retirement benefits, etc. Our attorneys can also help you recover compensation for medical bills, funeral/burial expenses, and other losses with a definitive monetary value.

Non-Economic Damages

These cover non-financial losses and the compensation amount is usually determined by a jury. Non-economic damages typically focus on the loss of companionship, loss of emotional support, etc.

Estate Claim

An estate claim can only be filed by the deceased’s estate, and it is often filed separately. It is designed to cover specific financial losses related to the demise of the departed. It may cover losses like funeral and burial costs and medical expenses.

Can the Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?

Under Georgia laws, the surviving family is not allowed to file for punitive damages in a wrongful death suit.

However, punitive damages may be included in an estate claim filed by the estate administrator. Punitive damages may be on the table if the deceased survived, even if only for a few seconds, after the accident.

If this sounds complicated and confusing, do not worry. Our team at the SHElaw firm can review your case and advise you on your legal options and what damages you can claim for. Call 470-378-1162 today to speak with our wrongful death lawyers in Atlanta.

Concept of Atlanta wrongful death lawyer, young woman holding roses at funeral

How Is Negligence Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?

In order to win a wrongful death case in Georgia, your attorney must prove that the defendant was reckless, negligent, or malicious and caused your loved one’s untimely demise.

Your wrongful death lawyer must prove to the court the following crucial facts in order to win the case:

Duty of Care

Your lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant owed the departed a duty of care. Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to provide a certain standard of care for patients. For most people, the legal term duty means following the law and acting as a reasonable person would in a similar situation.

For instance, if your loved one died in a car accident, the at-fault party had a duty to follow traffic laws and drive carefully.

Breach of Duty of Care

Your attorney must prove that the accused failed to uphold the duty of care. And using the example of a car accident, speeding, distracted driving, and driving drunk all violate a driver’s duty of care.

Causation

Your attorney must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused your loved one’s death. In a fatal crash, this means proving the defendant’s negligent actions caused the accident and that the accident was the cause of death.

Damage

Finally, your attorney must prove that the deceased and the surviving family suffered harm and losses. The damages and losses can be physical, monetary, or psychological.

How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

The first thing you need to understand is that the statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is why you should immediately get in touch with an experienced wrongful death attorney at SHE Law to know more about your legal options.

Here is a general outline of how wrongful death claims generally work in Georgia:

Building a Case

If the intentional or negligent actions of another person or entity caused the death of your loved one, then the family may have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim. At SHElaw firm, we offer a free case evaluation so that we can determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit.

If there is sufficient cause, we will gather evidence against the at-fault party and file a case in the civil court.

Negotiations

After collecting evidence and filing the case, negotiations will take place. It is important to note that not all civil cases get to court because many are solved through negotiations. During negotiations, your lawyer’s job will be to ensure you get a fair settlement.

Trial

If the negotiations failed to secure a fair settlement offer, your attorney will start preparing to take the case to trial. It’s critical to have a lawyer with trial experience on your side if your case ends up in court.

What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?

A wrongful death claim is brought by the surviving family members of the deceased to seek compensation for the full value of their loved one’s life. This includes the value of income and household cores as well as loss of companionship, time spent with family, and other such parts of life.

The estate claim is filed by the estate of the deceased to recover expenses such as burial and funeral costs as well as medical expenses related to the event that led to the decedent’s death. If the deceased lived for even a few seconds after the accident, the estate may also seek damages for pain and suffering.

If the deceased left a will, the administrator or executor brings the estate claim. If the decedent did not leave a will, Georgia’s laws of inheritance will come into play to determine the eligible party for bringing the lawsuit.

Contact Our Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyers Today!

The financial and emotional impact of suddenly and unexpectedly losing a loved one is devastating. The situation is even worse when the death is caused by another party’s negligent, reckless, or malicious actions. Georgia law gives families the right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death case.

It’s essential to look for a wrongful death lawyer that is professional, committed, and is going to take the time to better understand what your options are moving forward. It takes experience and knowledge of the law to handle a wrongful death case, and it’s very difficult to win the compensation you deserve without a skilled attorney on your side.

It is best to reach out to a trusted law firm with years of experience such as the SHElaw firm. We are going to be focused on looking at what will work for you and how to make sure the right strategy is put together for a wrongful death case.

To find out more about what we can do for you, give us a call at 470-378-1162 for a free initial consultation. We work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so there are no upfront costs.

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