If a loved one dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is your right to claim compensation. Sure, that will not bring them back, but holding the guilty person accountable is one way to start the healing process. Getting the evidence that the liable party is responsible could be a long and tricky process, which is why hiring a wrongful death lawyer is one of the best steps to take.
A Douglasville wrongful death lawyer will take you through the legal process and make sure that you understand what it entails. You will save yourself the turmoil that comes from gathering evidence and proving that the liable party is responsible for the death. Your lawyer will be of great help during this time because they will offer support when you are going through tough emotional times. They will ensure the proceedings go as they are supposed to.
Are you a resident of Georgia looking to file a wrongful death claim? Call Bethune Law Firm today and get an experienced lawyer for your case. Our personal injury lawyers can handle your case with expertise.
How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Georgia?
According to Georgia State Law, wrongful death refers to death that has occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, criminal, reckless, and intentional acts. The liable party can either be an individual or an entity.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, the spouse of the deceased person may bring the wrongful death claim to court. They are also allowed to represent the rights of any children that they have if they are minors.
If the spouse is not available and the children are minors, the parents of the deceased may bring the claim to court.
If the deceased does not have any surviving parents, the representative of their estate may bring the wrongful death claim to court. Note that the representative will not be awarded the compensation should the claim be won. The compensation is held by the estate on behalf of the deceased persons’ next of kin.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
There are two types of claims when one is filing a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia. The first is to determine the value of the deceased’s life in full. The spouse or surviving family that brings forth the claim can be compensated for economic damages both tangible and intangible.
This includes lost wages and benefits. This includes the wages the deceased would have received if they were alive. Loss of companionship and care and any other intangible benefits that the deceased provided the family with.
The second claim is meant to rectify the financial losses brought about by the untimely death of the deceased. It is brought to court by the representative of the deceased person’s estate. The claim should establish the losses that the estate has suffered due to the untimely death.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical costs and any other expenses relating to the death.
- Conscious pain and suffering faced by the deceased before their untimely death (as a result of the injury that ultimately caused the death)
Can You File For Punitive Damages in a Georgia Wrongful Death Claim?
The State Of Georgia considers the wrongful death statute as being punitive, so the surviving family members cannot file for punitive damages after filing for the ‘full value of the life of the deceased’.
However, if the estate administrator is the one filing the claim, the jury may award punitive damages if the death resulted in losses for the deceased’s estate.
How is Negligence Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?
In Douglasville, Georgia, you need to prove the following four elements when filing a wrongful death claim:
The plaintiff must show the court that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care in the situation that led to the untimely death. If the death was a result of a car accident, the plaintiff must show that the defendant was driving recklessly.
The plaintiff must show the court how the defendant violated this duty of care. This could be through a specific action or inaction when another reasonable person in the same situation would have acted in a different manner that would have prevented the death from occurring.
The defendant must show a breach of duty directly resulted in the untimely death. This is the point at which the lawyer will show evidence of the damages the surviving family has suffered due to the untimely death.
The plaintiff must be able to show evidence that the death was caused by the defendant’s direct actions and not some other cause. For instance, if the case is an automobile accident, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant was the person driving the vehicle and had full control of whether to stop or take other actions that could have prevented the untimely death.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
The state has a two year limit for filing a wrongful death claim. In most cases, if the claim is not filed within this period, the right to bring it to court has a higher chance of being lost.
To start a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia, it is advisable to first contact an experienced lawyer who will take you through the legal process and tell you how to proceed. Keep in mind that the two-year limit may be affected by any criminal case that is being handled in court that has resulted from the same events that led to the wrongful death. In this case, the wrongful death case is suspended until the criminal case is completed. The time the criminal case is being handled is not counted as part of the two-year statute of limitations.
Review Your Claim With Our Douglasville Wrongful Death Lawyers
It is always advisable to get an experienced lawyer because of the complicated nature of a wrongful death claim and proving that the defendant is indeed guilty. Call us at Bethune Law Firm to speak to our experienced wrongful death lawyers and get the best representation during this trying time.