Winder Wrongful Death Lawyer

Every year, there are hundreds of families in Georgia forced to deal with the senseless and preventable death of a loved one. Whether it was caused by a vehicle accident, a faulty product, or a fall, the pain and devastation are always the same. Our experienced Winder wrongful death lawyers are here to provide some semblance of justice during these dark times.

If you have recently lost a family member in a preventable accident, then you may have a legal path toward compensation. We know that these are difficult times and you would rather spend it with the people you love, but setting aside some time to speak with a lawyer can be beneficial. We will do our best to honor your loss and your needs while finding a way to move forward.

Our Winder personal injury attorneys at H Groves Law understand the pain of losing someone. Our top priority has always been to help our clients take the next steps forward in life after a terrible loss. To get started, all that you need to do is call our office and speak with one of our experienced lawyers.

Call us today at (770) 329-9981 for a completely free initial consultation.

Table of Contents

How Is Wrongful Death Defined in Georgia?

The foundations of a wrongful death claim are outlined in Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act. This piece of legislation states that the family can seek compensation when someone is killed because of another party’s negligence or criminal actions or because of “defectively manufactured property.”

There are a handful of examples of when you can sue for wrongful death:

Who Is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

The Wrongful Death Act also clearly outlines who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. You cannot file a claim because a close friend or a distant relative died. The right to file a claim rests with those family members who are closest to the deceased.

Spouse

In a large majority of cases, it is the spouse who has the legal right to file a wrongful death claim. They are considered the “first in line” on the short list of people eligible to file a claim. The spouse is also able to file a claim on behalf of any of their children who are under the age of 18.

The spouse is always entitled to at least 1/3rd of the awarded compensation.

Children

If there is no spouse alive to file a claim, then any surviving children are considered next in line. If there is no spouse and the children are older than 18, then they can begin the claims process themselves.

Parents

If there is no spouse and no surviving children, then the parents of the deceased can file a claim. This most often happens when the deceased is a child with no other family of their own.

Estate Representative

If the deceased left no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the administrator of their estate may bring a claim. In this situation, the damages recovered will go to the next of kin.

yellow and white roses on a casket, Winder wrongful death lawyer concept

What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?

Georiga’s wrongful death law gives the family the right to seek compensation for the full value of the deceased’s life. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Sometimes also referred to as “special damages,” these damages can be easily calculated. They represent the tangible value of the deceased’s life. They include their current and projected income, the value of household chores, and the loss of inheritance the family would have received.

Non-Economic Damages

These are sometimes referred to as “general damages.” They include damages that do not have receipts or a clear monetary value. Examples include loss of companionship, loss of guidance, loss of sexual relations, and more.

Estate Claim Damages

An estate claim is a separate lawsuit from a wrongful death claim. It is brought by the administrator of the deceased person’s estate to recover compensation for financial losses suffered by the estate related to the death.

These damages typically include all the medical expenses related to the accident that led to the death. It also includes any funeral or burial expenses.

The estate may also seek damages for the pain and suffering suffered by the deceased before their death. This compensation may be obtained if the death was not immediate and the deceased was alive for even a few seconds after the accident.

Can Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?

Surviving family members cannot file for punitive damages in a wrongful death claim.

Punitive damages can sometimes be recovered through an estate claim if the deceased did not die right away, even if he/she only survived a few seconds. The estate claim is filed by the estate administrator and the compensation goes to the surviving family members.

If all this sounds confusing, our Winder wrongful death lawyers at H Groves Law are here to help you. We can evaluate your case, and if you qualify, pursue an estate claim alongside your wrongful death lawsuit.

Give us a call at (770) 329-9981 to schedule a free consultation and to discuss the details of your case.

How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?

Proving negligence in the state of Georgia requires 4 individual elements.

Duty of Care

It must be shown that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of due care. This means that defendant had an obligation not to cause harm or even to keep the deceased safe from harm.

The duty of care varies according to the situation. For example, every automobile driver has a duty of due care to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Breach of Duty

After proving that the defendant owed a duty of due care to the deceased, then it must be shown that they breached that duty. There must be evidence that shows the defendant did not perform in the expected way to prevent harm.

Family walking to a funeral who need a Winder wrongful death lawyer

Causation

Duty and breach alone are not enough to prove negligence. The third stage is proving that the breach of duty is what led to the deceased losing their life. It may be that the defendant did breach their duty of care, but that it was something entirely different that led to the loss of life.

Damages

The final stage is proving the damages that occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. In a wrongful death case, the death itself and the economic and intangible losses are the damages. Your attorney will generally use evidence like your loved one’s pay stubs to support the claim for economic damages.

How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

If you want to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia, then your first step should be to contact an experienced Winder wrongful death attorney at H Groves Law.

With the help of our professional attorneys, you can focus on what’s important, such as mourning and spending time with your loved ones. We’ll handle the tedious paperwork, lengthy negotiations, and everything else the insurance companies will use to try and avoid payment.

If the at-fault party or their insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement, we are prepared to fight for you in court.

Is There a Time Limit?

You do not have unlimited time to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. The statute of limitations states that family members have up to 2 years to file a wrongful death claim. The court may not allow you to file a lawsuit if more than 2 years have passed since your loved one died.

There are exceptions to this rule. The time limit may be lower in case a government entity is involved. In wrongful death claims involving a criminal case, the time begins from the date the criminal case is resolved.

Is a Wrongful Death Claim the Same as an Estate Claim?

These two types of cases are often filed in a similar time frame but have slightly different objectives. A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the value of the life of the deceased. This relates to their income, the duties they performed, and their projected economic growth.

An estate claim seeks compensation for monetary loss related to the death, such as medical bills and funeral expenses. It’s possible to file for punitive damages in an estate claim if the deceased survived for at least a short time before dying, even if only for a few seconds.

Call Our Experienced Winder Wrongful Death Lawyers!

If you have recently lost a family member in a preventable accident, then you may have a legal path toward compensation. We know that these are difficult times. Our attorneys H Grove Law will fight for the compensation your family deserves.

The laws related to wrongful death claims in Georgia are complicated. The party at fault will do everything in their power to pay as little as possible or not pay anything at all. That is why you need to work with a top wrongful death attorney in Winder, Georgia.

Call us as soon as possible at (770) 329-9981 for a free consultation.

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