There is no doubt that the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest life experiences you must endure, especially when that loss comes due to the negligence of another. You and your loved one deserve justice in this matter, so it’s important to seek the right Atlanta wrongful death attorney to handle your claim. I’ve represented clients since 1986 in a variety of personal injury matters, and in that time handled more than 6,000 personal injury cases for more than 10,000 clients. You can read more about me here.
Every state has certain restrictions on who is entitled to recover for the loss of a loved one. In Georgia, those entitled are the spouse and children of a deceased adult, when that adult has passed away from a negligent act by another party. Although the proceeds are shared among the surviving family, spouses of the deceased are guaranteed a third of the full recovery amount. In cases where the departed individual is not survived by any immediate family, that person’s estate then becomes eligible to recover. According to Georgia law, loved ones have the right to recover “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.”
Another recovery that surviving loved ones are entitled to seek in a Georgia wrongful death claim is for medical bills, funeral expenses, and any pain and suffering the negligent party has caused. If the circumstances are extreme, a claim for punitive damages might also be brought.
Deciding a fitting value in a wrongful death case can be difficult, since it entails close examination of economic losses, injuries the deceased underwent, as well as liability issues involved in the case.
Insurance companies know all of the tricks of the trade when evaluating wrongful death claims, and will seek to obtain the lowest possible settlement. That’s why you need an experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorney working on your behalf and protecting your interests. I am the “People’s Lawyer” for a reason – I stand up against these bullies and get my clients the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death
Q: What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case against someone who caused a death?
A: A criminal case can only be brought by the government. The prosecutor makes a case against the person accused of a crime, seeking prison time or another punishment. The prosecutor must meet a higher standard of proof than in a civil case. A civil case can be filed by anyone whose private rights or civil rights have allegedly been violated by another party. When a private party files a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, the party is seeking monetary damages, compensation for the loss suffered. A civil trial for wrongful death, therefore, is very different from a criminal trial for murder or manslaughter.
Q: What if an unborn child dies?
A: In many states, the baby must be born alive for its death to be the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit. This is not always the case, however. In some states, the fetus must have been viable (able to live outside the mother’s womb) even though it was not born; in other states, viability is not an issue. Because the law varies so much from state to state, it is wise to consult a wrongful death lawyer who knows the laws in your area.
There is no way for another person to fully understand how you feel when you lose a loved one in an accident. However, I’ve handled cases like yours before, and when you retain my legal services, you can rest assured that your interests will be advocated vigorously.