The unexpected loss of a loved one can be devastating. However, things become even more overwhelming if the sudden loss was due to the negligent, careless, malicious, or intentional actions of another party. The sadness, pain, and frustration that come with such an experience can be hard to handle. The mere thought that the person could still be around had things gone differently is can be unbearable for anyone. Fortunately, there’s an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer that allows victims to seek justice including monetary compensation.
The loss of a loved one can leave the surviving members in emotional and financial turmoil, particularly if the deceased was the primary source of support. With the Wrongful Death Act in place, you can file for compensation. The downside is that these types of claims are not always straightforward and the legal process can be complex. That’s why it is best to use an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you have recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, do not hesitate to seek justice by hiring a lawyer. The team at H Groves Law Atlanta, GA is ready to provide the legal services required to protect your rights. Call us today at [PHONE] to learn more about your legal options!
How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Georgia?
According to the Official Code of Georgia, Title 51 Chapter 4 defines Wrongful Death as death arising from acts of negligence, crime, or a product that was defectively manufactured.
This act was passed during the Civil War era and has undergone an array of changes ever since. It contains sections that lay out the legal grounds for making a wrongful death claim. These include
- Careless or negligent conduct
- Intentional acts like crime
- Unsafe drugs or medical devices
- Product liability faults
- Contaminated food and other hygienic issues on commercial premises
- Engineering malpractice
- Faulty construction
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Pedestrian accidents
- Car accidents
- Illegal alcohol service like when a bartender continues to serve alcohol to an already intoxicated individual.
Who Qualifies to Make a Wrongful Death Claim in GA?
In the state of Georgia, not everyone is eligible for filing a wrongful death claim. Our lawyers will guide you on the specific individuals for your claim, but generally, the following qualify:
The first party allowed to make a wrongful death claim is the spouse. In some cases, the spouse may decide to file the claim on behalf of the children. This is allowed if the young ones are under 18 years of age. When the spouse files a lawsuit on behalf of their kids, the dictates that they are entitled to at least one-third of the compensation amount.
The second party allowed to file a claim is the parents of the deceased. However, this only applies when:
- There’s no surviving spouse present
- The deceased did not have any existing kids
The Estate Representative
A nominated estate representative can also file a lawsuit if they served the estate of the deceased. Compensation priority goes to the existing spouse. If they had no children with the deceased, the spouse receives full compensation. However, if they had kids with the deceased, the spouse receives half of the amount, which is then divided among the children. If they had grandchildren, they also get a share.
If the deceased didn’t have an existing spouse but had children and grandchildren, the compensation is divided among them. If the deceased was a minor, the amount goes to the parents. If parents are not alive, the compensation is divided among the brothers and sisters.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover?
As you avail the services of a wrongful death lawyer, it is important to note that no amount of money will ever bring back or replace your family member. However, the attorney can help you seek compensation that will help cover the monetary and non-monetary losses sustained. Our team will help you determine the types of damages made and whether or not they are recoverable.
According to the Wrongful Death Act, compensation is provided in the form of damages, which are categorized into three. These are:
In wrongful death claims, economic damages are divided into two. The first involves damages caused between the time of the negligent action to the point of death. The second involves damages sustained after the loved one has already died. Both these damages refer to damages that can be assigned a monetary value. Examples include:
- Medical expenses during treating the loved one between the negligent act and death.
- Lost wages. These are the earnings that the individual would have earned if they were still alive
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost inheritance.
These entail the non-monetary damages incurred due to the loss of a loved one. They are subjective in nature and examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety, stress, and depression
- Lost companionship
- Loss of a source of support
- Loss of a father/mother figure
Punitive damages are non-compensatory in nature. They are designed to punish the party at fault for their extreme negligence, carelessness, or malicious acts. They are also awarded to discourage other parties from engaging in such acts in the future and enhance safety in the community.
The team at H Groves Law in Atlanta GA will help you better understand the damages you are eligible for by first comprehending the fault. If you feel that the compensation offer is not equivalent to the extent of damage, our lawyers will be there to advise you accordingly and ensure your get a fair settlement.
Can a Surviving Loved One File for Punitive Damages?
In the state of Georgia, similar to most states, wrongful death compensation is calculated as if the deceased is still alive. This means the law doesn’t consider the loved ones as victims, but as representatives of the deceased. This allows them to file for wrongful death, but not award them punitive damages.
The estate representative, however, may be allowed to file for punitive damages and the claim has to be related to egregious acts. While the surviving loved ones can seek other forms of damages, only the representative can file for punitive damages. It is paramount that you hire the right wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta, one who will help you know if you are eligible for filing punitive damages.
How is Negligence Proven in an Atlanta Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, claims regarding wrongful death need to be proved beyond doubt and show negligence. You will need the skills of an experienced wrongful death attorney to gather the necessary evidence to show that the other party was negligent. Failure to do so will mean you have no legal grounds to seek compensation. Here are the elements that need to be proved in order to show negligence:
Duty of Care
Duty of care means a party acting in a way that shows there are careful and reasonable under particular situations. You will need to show that the defendant had the chance to act in a reasonable manner, but they did not and thus leading to the death of your loved one. Duty of care mandates that the defendant was obliged to observe the safety of a deceased family member.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second element means that the defendant failed to handle something they are legally required to in their line of duty. Here, you are required to show that the defendant didn’t carry out their duty in a safe and reasonable manner, and thus the death of your family member.
Next, you are expected to show that the defendant’s breach of duty of care was the direct cause of the death of your loved one. It is important for the court to know that the deceased did not have any preexisting condition that may have led to their death. This can be done in two ways. First, you could show that the defendant’s actions were negligent, reckless, or malicious. Second, you could show that their lack of actions resulted in the death of your loved one. Regardless, their acts must be directly related to death.
Last but not least, you should be able to show that you incurred damages, death being the primary damage. The wrongful death act requires these damages to be quantifiable. They include but are not limited to unpaid medical bills and funeral and burial expenses.
All these elements can be hard to prove on your own and that’s why it is important to have a lawyer by your side. They know what is required in proving negligence and this will take away most of the burden.
How to Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Atlanta, GA
If you are not familiar with the wrongful death claims process, do not fret. You are not alone and that’s why our lawyers are readily available. If you lose a family member due to the careless or negligent acts of another party, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way to seek justice.
Here are the steps to file a wrongful death claim in Atlanta:
First and foremost, you will need to determine the party responsible and how their acts contributed to wrongful death. Negligence can be proven in a few ways.
Next, you will need solid proof of what occurred and the party responsible for the negligent acts. In addition, you’ll need to garner evidence of all the damages incurred. This will help you determine the party responsible for wrongful death.
Get a Lawyer
The right attorney plays a major role in helping you collect the necessary evidence and determine liability. A lawyer will also help you deal with the party at fault including their lawyers and insurance company, who can be quite overwhelming.
Make a Petition
Keep in mind that a wrongful death claim compensation can’t occur until you’ve called a petition. Ensure you clearly state that a wrongful death happened to your loved one.
Collecting evidence enables you to show that a particular party was involved in a negligent act that resulted in wrongful death. It is important that you engage your attorney at this stage as they have a better comprehension of the law and what qualifies or does not qualify as wrongful death evidence.
File a Summon
Next, you will need to file a summon, meant to inform the other party that you have filed a wrongful death claim against them.
Service of Process
This is the document that notifies the other party about the summon.
What’s the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and Estate Claim in Atlanta, GA?
Wrongful death claims and estate claims in the state of Georgia are similar in that they both arise from the death of an individual due to the fault of another party. The difference lies in the kind of damages awarded and the parties who can file a claim.
In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members are allowed to seek compensation for their loved one’s life or value. Here, the spouse and children are the priority in settlement and the estate representative comes last.
In an estate claim, however, the estate of the deceased aims to recover the expenses incurred during the funeral and burial. If the victim was in pain and suffered prior to death, the estate representative can also file for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.
Hire an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer Today!
Wrongful death claims can be overwhelming, especially if the party at fault has a solid defense. Losing a loved one unexpectedly is never easy and going about the process on your own will only make things even more stressful. That’s why it is wise to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
At H Groves Law, we are committed to helping our clients seek justice and the compensation they deserve when they lose their loved ones due to negligent and careless actions of other parties. Do not hesitate to seek our services by calling [PHONE] today!