Losing a loved one is tragic and painful. If someone loses their loved one due to the negligent conduct of another party, the tragedy becomes even more painful. It is true that you cannot place a price on the death of someone you love. However, it is important for you to seek justice and get the compensation you are lawfully entitled to by retaining the services of an experienced Peachtree City wrongful death lawyer at Bethune Law Firm.
In the state of Georgia, wrongful death claims can be brought by the estate of the decedent or by the surviving family members. Wrongful death claims are often complex and it is challenging to prove liability and arrive at the right value of the claim. This is why you should give a call to 1-800-INJURED for a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers to know more about your legal rights and how we can help you with your wrongful death claim.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined In The State of Georgia?
The Georgia Wrongful Death Act was passed more than 100 years ago and a number of amendments have been made since then. There are 5 code sections in the Wrongful Death Act. This act defines various legal grounds to bring a wrongful death claim in Georgia. Some of the causes that can create legal grounds for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Medical malpractice including misdiagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, medical errors, and unsafe prescription drugs
- Dangerous medical devices
- Improper or illegal service of alcohol
- Defective or dangerous products
- Drunk driving
- Faulty construction
- Unlawful or criminal acts
- Abuse or neglect at a nursing home
- Engineering malpractice and faulty construction
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Pedestrian accidents
Who Is Qualified To File A Wrongful Death Claim In Georgia?
In Peachtree City, Georgia, there are two ways to bring a wrongful death claim. You need to be the parent, adult child or spouse of the deceased person in order to be eligible to file a claim. In short, you cannot file such a claim for your best friend. If the decedent has no living parents, children or spouse, the administrator of the decedent’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim.
What Type Of Damages Can Be Recovered?
The calculation of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Georgia is done on the basis of what the victim lost and not on the basis of losses of surviving family members. In short, the damages are to be calculated from the perspective of the victim and not the family of the victim.
The law authorizes calculation of compensation for the full value of the victim’s life in a wrongful death claim. The full value of the life of the victim is measured from the perspective of the victim who lost his/her life. There are two components that comprise full value of life including economic and non-economic components.
This category comprises facts that can be measurably calculated. In general, it consists of the additional income that might have been earned by the victim if they had an average lifespan. Calculation of these typically includes wages, benefits and investment income, among other things. Experienced lawyers work with vocational experts and economists in order to arrive at the present value of future lost income. It also includes the value of the services that might have been performed by the victim such as painting the house, landscaping and other such things.
This is the category that is more subjective in nature and is challenging to quantify. Since the victim lost their life, they were not able to live a full life and their loved ones suffered the loss of companionship, care and various other intangible benefits. The experienced wrongful death attorney at Bethune Law Firm will work hard to collect the required information in order to competently demonstrate the full impact of such loss.
Can Surviving Family Members File For Punitive Damages In Georgia?
Georgia’s wrongful death act does not mention anything about punitive damages. However, there have been cases where punitive damages have been awarded by the jury due to the grossly negligent or reckless behavior of the defendant. The plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim are not able to pursue punitive damages but it can be brought about by the decedent’s estate. However, punitive damages are awarded rarely and only apply in cases where it is proven that the defendant acted either intentionally or with malice.
How Is Negligence Proven In A Wrongful Death Case In Georgia?
Proving negligence in a wrongful death claim is a challenging exercise. In essence, it’s akin to a personal injury lawsuit where the victim did not survive the actions of the negligent party. There are 4 main elements that need to be proven in a wrongful death claim. These are:
- Duty of Care: It needs to be proven by the plaintiff that the defendant had a duty of care towards the decedent
- Breach of Duty: It needs to be demonstrated that the duty of care was violated or breached by the defendant through a specific action or inaction
- Damage: It needs to be proven that the action or inaction of the defendant led to the death of the victim
- Causation: It also needs to be proven that the victim lost their life due to the actions of the defendant and not of some other cause
How Do You Start A Wrongful Death Claim In Georgia?
Filing a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia is a complex exercise as there are a number of things that need to be done before starting a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important that you get in touch with an experienced wrongful death attorney at Bethune Law Firm.
Our attorneys will work hard to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of your loved one. We will help determine whether there is merit in your case under the wrongful death act in Georgia. We will also help in identifying the likely defendant(s). In case you wish to proceed with the lawsuit, we will make the necessary preparation and file the required documents to start the lawsuit. Keep in mind that legal processes in a wrongful death lawsuit is going to take time. This is why you should get in touch with the experienced wrongful death attorney at Bethune Law without any unnecessary delay.
We work on contingency fee arrangements which means you do not need to worry about any upfront payment. We will recover our legal costs from the settlement we win for you.
Give us a call at 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free consultation for discussing the details of your wrongful death claim.
What Is the Difference Between A Wrongful Death Claim And An Estate Claim In Georgia?
As explained above, the surviving family members as well as the estate of the deceased has the right to file a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia. The surviving family members of the deceased can file a claim to get compensation for the full value of the life of the decedent. It typically includes lost wages, loss of consortium, loss of work-related benefits and other intangible benefits.
An estate claim is made by the decedent’s estate who is the plaintiff in these claims. The purpose of an estate claim is to recover the financial losses suffered by the family of the decedent due to his/her death. It typically includes medical expenses related to the last injury/illness of the decedent, funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering the decedent underwent before their death.
The law allows filing both types of claims simultaneously in the state of Georgia.
File Your Claim With Our Peachtree City Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have experienced the tragic death of a loved one, you should give a call to an experienced Peachtree City wrongful death attorney at the Bethune Law Firm. If there is one thing that is true about wrongful death cases, it is that these cases are extremely difficult, challenging and complex in nature. These involve gathering extensive evidence to prove the wrongful death claim.
Give our personal injury firm a call at 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free consultation. We worked on a contingent fee basis which means you don’t need to pay anything upfront. We will recover our costs from the settlement we win for you. We will help you deal with insurance companies and help you win the compensation you deserve for your losses. Everything you say is strictly confidential.