An accident can occur anytime at any place, be it on the road, workplace or while having fun in a swimming pool. In most situations, however, accidents happen due to the negligence or carelessness of another party. In such cases, the negligent party is directly at fault for any damages or injuries sustained. This is referred to as personal injury, and the victim has the right to file a claim seeking compensation. However, personal injury can turn into a wrongful death if the victim losses their life due to the accident. Their loved ones can make a wrongful death claim, but the process is not straightforward and almost always requires the assistance of a wrongful death lawyer to get the compensation deserved.
Losing a loved one can be tough, and the intricacies that come with filing a claim are rarely reassuring. This is where an attorney with experience in personal injury and wrongful death law comes into the picture. A seasoned representative can help protect your rights, fight for justice and seek the settlement you deserve. To learn about your legal options, call SHElaw firm® Decatur offices at 470-378-1162!
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim falls under the umbrella of personal injury claims, but it specifically focuses on the family members of the deceased seeking financial compensation for the consequences of their loss. This compensation is intended to cover both economic and non-economic damages resulting from the death of the affected individual.
Georgia has stringent laws that ensure the responsible individual or entity does not escape liability when the victim is pronounced dead. These laws aim to provide monetary compensation to help the grieving loved ones heal without having to worry about the financial repercussions. You can find more information about the specific definitions and conditions required for a wrongful death case in Georgia here.
Elements Considered in Wrongful Death Cases
In order to file a wrongful death claim, there are some essential elements that must be established. In the state of Georgia, these include:
This is the first and the most obvious element. For the claim to stand, the victim has to be pronounced dead by medical experts. A wrongful death claim can’t be made for an injured individual, regardless of the severity of the injury.
Proof the Death Was Directly Caused by the Defendant’s Negligence
This is usually the most vital aspect of filing a wrongful death claim, as it shows that the defendant was directly responsible for the victim’s death. This implies that they owed the deceased a duty of care, which was breached, leading to death. For example, if the deceased was a victim of a car accident and the defendant was drunk driving or speeding, the proof verifies that their negligence was linked to the death.
The Plaintiff’s Suffering Because of the Death
This element requires establishing that the plaintiff actually suffered due to the victim’s death. It’s often determined by showing the plaintiff depended on the deceased for financial support. However, elements like emotional distress are also considered.
Determining the amount to serve as damages is usually the most complex part of dealing with a wrongful death claim. It’s especially challenging as there’s no price placed on human life. As such, juries consider an array of numeric factors when figuring out the suitable amounts of damages to award. They usually look into the victim’s past income history, lost wages, potential for future promotions and estimated future income if the tragedy had not occurred.
They may also look into the individual’s life expectancy had the death not happened. This allows them to estimate the number of years of income they would have had. In addition, they may assess the deceased contributions to the household budget. If they played a monetary support role at home, this figure is considered in the settlement amount. Other damages include medical bills, loss of future inheritance, pain, suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment in life, etc.
Who is Eligible for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, only specific parties are allowed to file a wrongful death claim. These include:
- The surviving spouse
- The domestic partner
- The children
If none of these parties exist, then the claim can be made by anyone who would be entitled to the decedent’s property through intestate succession. This can be the deceased party’s siblings, parents, or any other surviving family member.
Hire the Right Wrongful Death Lawyer for Your Claim!
Losing a loved one due to a personal injury is an unimaginable tragedy. While no amount of compensation can bring them back, pursuing a wrongful death case can provide some financial security for the surviving family members and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. Since wrongful death falls under personal injury, a lawyer with extensive experience in this area can be of great help. By working with a seasoned wrongful death attorney, you can navigate the legal process and seek justice for your loved one’s untimely death. Call SHElaw firm® today at 470-378-1162 or complete our contact form to learn more about your legal options!