If your loved one has passed away due to the negligent actions of someone else, it is important to seek justice in the state of Georgia. It is not the time to feel helpless because the Bethune Law Firm is ready to provide legal assistance. Our Fort Valley wrongful death lawyers have years of experience and know how to take the right steps for your situation.
We will go through each detail and analyze what needs to happen next. Our legal team realizes this is a difficult time for you but it is also an opportunity to fight for your legal rights. A wrongful death case is difficult for everyone involved, which is why the Bethune Law Firm is the right option for you.
We are qualified to help with these types of cases and will always put our best foot forward. To learn more about what we can do, call 1-800-INJURED for a free consultation with a Fort Valley personal injury lawyer.
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How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Georgia?
Wrongful death is defined in the state of Georgia as the death of one person caused by the criminal, intentional, reckless, or negligent acts of another person or business.
In essence, there are several ways this type of case can be proven. The goal is to show the other party was negligent in their actions and had a clear duty of care towards the victim. This can involve a long list of situations.
- Medical Malpractice
- Driving Under the Influence
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Improper Alcohol Service
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Defective Products
These are just some of the examples where wrongful death claims can be filed. It is important to go through your specific case, look at the evidence, and determine whether or not the other party was negligent. If you want more information on this part of the legal process, feel free to call the Bethune Law Firm at 1-800-INJURED.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
The Georgia Wrongful Death Act allows only certain family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The decedent’s spouse;
- Any surviving children;
- Parents of the decedent; or
- The administrator of the estate on behalf of next of kin.
Each of these family members retains the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in succession, contingent upon there being no live person with priority. In other words, the decedent’s surviving spouse has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only if there is no surviving spouse, the decedent’s children have the right to file suit, and only if there are no children, parents of the decedent have the right to file.
The statute of limitations on wrongful death claims in Georgia is two years.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
In a wrongful death case in Georgia, the surviving family can recover compensation for “the full value” of the life of the deceased. This usually means recovering economic damages for lifetime wages as well as non-economic damages intended to compensate for the fact the deceased was robbed of their ability to enjoy their life. Economic damages take into account how much time was left in the workforce, pension, benefits, and salary of the victim.
Through an estate claim, the family can also receive compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses related to the death.
Can Surviving Family File For Punitive Damages?
The surviving family can file for punitive damages if the defendant was guilty of gross negligence or if the defendant intentionally took the life of their loved one, such as in manslaughter, homicide, or murder case. In these cases, the judge may award the surviving family a compensatory award and punitive damages.
Any claim for punitive damages must be brought by the estate. Our experienced Fort Valley wrongful death lawyers can evaluate whether you may be able to claim punitive damages.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
Negligence has to be proven in detail before the claim goes through. This includes showing the defendant that has been cited had a duty of care. This can be something as simple as a company that doesn’t take care of its employees by having multiple hazards on-site that are overlooked. If this leads directly to the employee’s death, it would become grounds for a breach of duty of care.
It is also important to show the negligent act led to the death. This has to be proven through evidence by showing what the issue was and how it ended up in the individual passing away.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?
When it comes to understanding the nuances of different types of legal claims, you will come across two specific options – wrongful death claims and estate claims. Each one has a distinct purpose when it comes to filing a proper claim in Georgia.
With an estate claim, the family can recover compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering their loved one experienced. If the deceased had a will, the administrator named in the will brings the estate claim.
On the other hand, a wrongful death claim is meant to recover compensation for the value of the deceased’s life, including lifetime wages and the intangible value of their life considered from the deceased’s perspective.
In a wrongful death case, the court looks at the actual incident that led to the individual losing their life. It asses whether or not someone was negligent with their actions and that is what led to the death. To go through this information, we recommend taking the time to reach out to our law firm at 1-800-INJURED.
Contact Our Perry Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
A wrongful death claim has to be handled with patience and attention to detail. With our experience and ability to offer ample legal resources to each client, you will feel at ease knowing we are going to go through each detail thoroughly.
Our goal is to make sure you have the chance to file a comprehensive legal claim. At the Bethune Law Firm, we are all about setting high standards and it all starts with a simple phone call to 1-800-INJURED. Just reach out to us and learn more about your legal options moving forward. Your initial consultation is free, and we charge nothing unless we win your case.