Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is one of the worst tragedies anyone can experience. Your grief is compounded by the sense of unfairness and helpless anger against the person who caused your loved one’s death. For a long time, you are unable to consider any practical aspect of life. However, an Atlanta wrongful death attorney knows that a sudden death leaves a family in financial distress. And they have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party in a wrongful death case.
We know that the last thing on your mind is filing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you must consider the significant funeral and burial expenses you had to pay. Maybe you maxed out your credit card or took a loan. You should not be left to shoulder this debt. Instead, let an experienced and compassionate Atlanta wrongful death attorney handle your case and win the compensation you deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?
First of all, it is important to know who has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In our state, the following persons of groups of persons can take this type of legal action:
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving children
- The parents
- The estate representative.
Grandparents are not permitted to file a lawsuit. As for siblings of the deceased person, the representative of the decedent’s estate can sue on their behalf.
Georgia Law Allows Two Types of Legal Actions for Recovery for Wrongful Death
Secondly, an Atlanta wrongful death attorney will instruct a bereaved family to open two different types of legal actions. The first one – discussed so far – is the wrongful death lawsuit. The other is the survival action.
Let us discuss the difference between them, and why they matter for families left with emotional suffering and in significant financial debt.
What Exactly Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought by a bereaved family against the negligent person who caused their loved one’s death. It is important to understand that the death does not have to be the result of an intentional tort – murder. Even if there are no criminal charges brought against the at-fault person, the victim’s family still has the right to seek financial recovery. It is worth noting that any money awarded at the end of the lawsuit will be received by the person who filed the lawsuit. They may or may not be the legal heirs of the deceased person.
The issue is what type of damages can be recovered through this type of legal action. These are:
1. Economic Damages Related to the Loved One’s Death
This type of damages in a wrongful death case is easily quantifiable. Your Atlanta wrongful death attorney will calculate the total expenses for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical costs prior to the victim’s death
- Property damage and other expenses arising from the fatal accident.
To make sure that you win the maximum compensation you deserve, your lawyer will ask you to bring all the bills and receipts related to the unfortunate event, including:
- Bills from the car towing company, if your loved one suffered a fatal car crash
- Estimate from a car repair shop for the repair of the damaged car
- Hospital bills, costs with treatments and prescriptions
- Bills from the funeral home for all the costs related to the funeral service and burial of your loved one.
2. The Full Value of the Life of the Decedent
It feels callous to put a dollar value on someone’s life. This is an extremely sensitive aspect, and an Atlanta wrongful death attorney will treat it with adequate compassion and professionalism. Actually, this type of damages is stipulated by the Official Code of Georgia 51-4-1 and it includes:
- The loss of future wages the deceased person would have contributed to the family
- The loss of future benefits
- The loss of companionship
- The loss of care.
For this specific type of damages, the lawyer will ask to see pay slips indicating the loved one’s wages, as well as any other benefits their employer offered them, such as:
- Contributions to a pension plan
- Contributions to health insurance plans
- Contributions to life insurance plans.
What Is a Survival Action?
The survival action is based on the following principles:
- The deceased person suffered an accident due to someone’s negligence
- The accident caused them economic damages, pain and suffering
- If they had survived, the respective person would have filed a personal injury claim.
Thus, the survival action is a form of personal injury lawsuit filed by the estate for the damages suffered by the deceased person as a result of the accident that caused their death. Just like in any similar action taken by a living person, the estate can include the usual damages awarded in a personal injury claim: economic and non-economic damages.
The difference from a wrongful death lawsuit is that the awarded amount is collected by the estate and will be distributed to the legal heirs of the deceased person.
Do Not Let the Statute of Limitations Expire
No matter which type of legal action you choose to take as a result of a loved one’s death, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is the same: 2 years after the person’s death.
Preparing this type of legal action takes time, because an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer will combine professionalism with the compassion you need when it comes to discussing delicate issues, such as loss of companionship and loss of care.
For this reason, you should find the strength to get in touch with an Atlanta wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after your loved one’s death. Once we have the necessary document to start the legal action, you will be given the necessary time to grieve.
Remember that You Have a Right to Recover Financially after a Loved One’s Death
At H Groves Law, each case benefits from our full attention. However, we put even more dedication and compassion in helping bereaved families recover all the damages allowed by law when a loved one died through someone else’s negligent actions.
Once an experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorney is in charge, we will fight to win the maximum compensation you deserve to recover financially and have the assurance that you will not sink into debt. Schedule a free case review and let us handle the most sensitive parts of your wrongful death case: 770-329-1868!