North Decatur Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one is always tragic, life-changing, and paralyzing. If the person’s death was caused by certain factors, the state of Georgia defines it as a “wrongful death.” It means that the person died due to the intentional, reckless, or negligent actions of another person or entity.

If you lose your loved one due to the negligence of another person or entity, you should file a wrongful death claim. The experienced, knowledgeable lawyers North Decatur wrongful death lawyers at the SHElaw firm can help you with this. We are committed to seeking compensation from the responsible party.

Call us today at 470-378-1162 for a free case evaluation if you have lost a loved one in North Decatur, GA.

Table of Contents

How Is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Georgia?

In Georgia, wrongful death is defined as the death of an individual caused by an intentional, negligent, criminal, or reckless act of another person or entity. Negligence means that the person or entity didn’t use reasonable care when they had a duty to do so, which resulted in harm to another individual.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act has been in existence for over a century, with the addition of a few addendums over the years. The 5 code sections of the Act outline the various possible legal grounds for filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia, which include:

  • Medical malpractice, such as misdiagnosis, medication errors, medical injury, or surgical errors.
  • Engineering malpractice and faulty construction.
  • Illegal or improper alcohol service, such as a bartender that continues to serve alcohol to a patron that’s visibly intoxicated.
  • Contaminated food or other issues with sanitation in commercial establishments.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse.
  • Criminal actions, including intentional homicide.
  • Pedestrian accident fatalities.
  • Defective products.

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

Wrongful death claims and lawsuits in Georgia cannot be pursued by every person that knows or is related to the decedent. Instead, the right to file a claim for wrongful death is generally restricted by statute to certain members of the family.

The Georgia Wrongful Death Act lists the people qualified to file a wrongful death claim:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse
  • The decedent’s surviving children if there’s no spouse
  • The decedent’s living parent(s) if there’s no spouse or children
  • The administrator of the decedent’s estate if there’s no surviving spouse, children, or parent.

What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered?

The financial compensation that can be recovered in a Georgia wrongful death claim typically includes the following economic and non-economic damages:

  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Property damage the decedent suffered in the accident
  • Attorney’s fees and court filing costs
  • Value of the decedent’s household assistance and services
  • Lost inheritance that surviving family would have received
  • Surviving family members’ grief, mental anguish, and loss of consortium
  • Loss of the decedent’s love, guidance, companionship, care, and knowledge
  • Lost future employment, retirement, and medical benefits
  • The value of the decedent’s lost income based on how long he/she was expected to live
  • The decedent’s medical care, hospitalization, and treatment for his/her final illness or injury.

Can Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?

No. In Georgia, the surviving family cannot file for punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. However, punitive damages can be awarded to the deceased’s estate if an estate claim is filed by the estate’s administrator.

It may be possible to seek punitive damages in an estate claim if the deceased did not die immediately, even if they only lived for a few moments.

Concept of North Decatur Wrongful Death Lawyer, Old and Young Woman Grieving

How Is Negligence Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?

To determine liability in a wrongful death case, you must establish that the defendant’s negligence caused the death.

To prove negligence, you must prove these 4 elements:

  • Duty of Care: You must show the court that the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care in this particular situation. For example, drivers must follow traffic laws.
  • Breach of Duty of Care: You must then demonstrate how the defendant violated or breached this duty of care through a certain action or inaction, for instance by distracted driving.
  • Causation: You also have to prove that the decedent died due to the defendant’s breach of duty of care and not any other cause.
  • Damages: Finally, you must prove that the decedent and their surviving family suffered damages in the form of loss of life, property damage, etc.

If your case meets the requirements, contact the reputable wrongful death lawyers in North Decatur, GA today about your case. If you aren’t sure whether you have a valid wrongful death case, we encourage you to call us at 470-378-1162 to schedule a free consultation and find out whether or not you have a case.

How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

You probably don’t like the idea of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, you find yourself in this difficult position. You know that you should pursue a wrongful death claim but may not know how to do it. So, here’s how you can get started:

Determine if You Have a Valid 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.

Preserve Evidence

To protect your wrongful death claim from motions to dismiss, you will be required to provide some evidence showing that the intentional or negligent acts of another entity or person led to the death of your loved one.

An attorney will investigate the accident and preserve evidence for your case. But you should also take action yourself. Keep copies of your loved one’s medical records and other documentation like police reports that could be used as evidence.

Prepare and File the Complaint

The complaint needs to include the defendant’s identity, the elements of your wrongful death case, along with the compensation that you are seeking from the courts. All complaints have to be filed in accordance with court rules.

You must file a wrongful death case within two years of your loved one’s death. If you miss this deadline, you cannot recover compensation.

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 North Decatur wrongful death 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.

Our experienced lawyers can help you understand how a wrongful death lawsuit works and how to protect your rights. We can also investigate whether you have a valid case, ensure that relevant evidence is gathered, file your complaint in court, and represent you during settlement negotiations, and fight for you in court if needed.

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

Losing a loved one due to the negligent actions of another person or entity is always heartbreaking. In Georgia, two types of civil lawsuits can be filed following a death: wrongful death claims and estate claims.

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.

It may be possible to seek punitive damages in an estate claim if the deceased did not die immediately, even if they only lived for a few moments.

Call Our North Decatur Wrongful Death Lawyers Today!

No pain can ever match that of losing a loved one to the willfully criminal or negligent acts of another person or entity. If you have experienced the pain and tragedy of losing a loved one in a potential wrongful death claim, you deserve full and fair compensation for your losses as well as pain and suffering.

We at the SHElaw firm in North Decatur, GA want you to know that you can reach out to us to discuss a potential claim. We understand that compensation for a wrongful death won’t ease your grief, but we hope that it can at least help ease the financial burden so that you can focus on healing following your loss.

Call us today at 470-378-1162 for your free consultation and case evaluation.

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