Losing a loved one due to an injury or accident that was the result of another party’s negligence is devastating. While it is impossible to ever replace your loved one or be truly compensated for the grief and loss that you have suffered, a wrongful death claim can help you and your family secure compensation for the monetary and non-monetary losses associated with the death.
At Bethune Law Firm we will dedicate our resources to your case. Our Smyrna wrongful death lawyers will compassionately and aggressively seek justice for your loved one. We are extremely knowledgeable in all personal injury matters. Schedule your free initial consultation today to discuss your wrongful death case/claim with one of our capable personal injury attorneys.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Georgia?
Under Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act, wrongful death is defined as the unnatural and untimely death caused by another party’s unlawful, negligent, or otherwise tortious conduct. A wrongful death action (claim or case) under this statute involves seeking monetary damages against the individual, business, or government agency responsible for either causing or contributing to the fatal injuries suffered by the deceased.
Who Is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
Wrongful death claims in Georgia cannot be pursued by every individual that is related to or knows the deceased. Instead, the right to file a wrongful death claim is generally limited to certain family members under the Wrongful Death Act:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children if there’s no spouse
- The living parent(s) of the deceased if there are no surviving spouse and/or children
- The administrator of the deceased’s estate if there’s no surviving spouse, children, or parent
Other relatives such as siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, or grandparents have no right to pursue wrongful death claims in Georgia. If there’s no surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, then the wrongful death claim is filed by whoever is appointed Administrator of the deceased’s estate.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
To understand the different types of damages that are recoverable in Georgia wrongful death claims, it is first important to know that the law allows claimants to file two types of claims for wrongful death: Estate Claims and Full Value of Life Claims.
Estate claims generally cover all the economic damages. Economic damages are those things that have a concrete monetary value. They include things such as medical bills, funeral, and burial costs, along with other tangible losses resulting from the death.
Full value claims tend to be more complex since they cover all the non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are those that cannot be easily quantified as is the case with economic damages. They include mental and emotional damages, loss of consortium, future wage and support, relationship loss, etc. Full value claims can only be filed by immediate family members.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
Wrongful death claims are in many ways personal injury claims filed on behalf of those that didn’t survive their injury or accident. The elements of negligence in wrongful death claims function very similarly to those of personal injury cases. To succeed in a Georgia wrongful death claim, the plaintiff is required to prove:
The plaintiff is required to show the court that he/she was owed a duty of care in the given situation.
The plaintiff is then required to demonstrate how the defendant violated or breached their duty of care. It could be through a specific action or inaction when another reasonable person facing similar circumstances would have acted appropriately.
The plaintiff is also required to show that the death in question was the direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty.
Finally, the plaintiff must be capable of proving that the death resulted directly from the actions or inaction of the defendant and not any other cause.
Wrongful death claims tend to be complex legal pursuits and will almost always require the expertise of a personal injury law firm such as Bethune Law. Families might not understand the processes, systems, and paperwork required to file a claim of this type in Smyrna, GA.
Our team of expert lawyers can make the claim considerably easier for surviving members of the family. Let the competent legal team at Bethune Law lift this burden off your shoulders so that you can better focus on healing and grieving as opposed to handling legal matters.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
You should consider talking to a lawyer after the traumatic death of a loved one. When you first approach the law firm with a possible valid wrongful death claim, we will first help you in setting up an estate.
Your loved one may or may not have a will naming someone to be representative of the estate. If not, you may require somebody to step forward to fill this job. Still, it is possible to file a claim without having a representative.
The next step is investigating what happened to your loved one. Your legal team will determine whether your case has merit under the Wrongful Death Statute. Your lawyers may also likely name a possible defendant in your case.
If you choose to work with our legal team at Bethune Law, we will help you file the proper legal documents to get the ball rolling without delay. The legal process takes time, but we can help you pursue compensation without unnecessary delays.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Smyrna Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligent action, get in touch with our legal team today. We will meet with you on your first, initial consultation. Once we have spoken, we will give our professional opinion regarding the best legal options available.
Don’t settle for less after a devastating event such as the death of a loved one. Call us today in Smyrna, GA to schedule your free initial consultation and case evaluation with our competent legal team here at Bethune Law.