Wrongful death claims arise in response to losing a loved one to someone else’s wrongdoing, making them an expression of not only financial loss but also immense grief. While financial compensation cannot bring your loved one back or right the wrong that’s occurred, it can provide you and your family with the resources you’ll need on the journey toward recovery.
If this is the difficult situation you find yourself in, consulting with an experienced Georgia wrongful death lawyer at The Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys is crucial. Contact our wrongful death attorney, Brady M. Larrison, at 770-626-7895 or with a message online to request a consultation.
Georgia Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims, because they are predicated on negligence and resulting damages, are very similar to personal injury claims. The injured party in a wrongful death claim, however, succumbs to their injuries, and surviving family members are authorized to seek compensation on the victim’s behalf.
Wrongful death claims and the laws that guide them come with additional nuances.
Survivors in Line to File
In the state of Georgia, only specific survivors of the decedent (the person who lost their life) have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim, including – in the following order:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving parents
If there are no such survivors, the executor of the decedent’s estate can file the claim on behalf of the next of kin – in accordance with Georgia’s laws of intestacy – or the laws that guide inheritance.
Legal Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
The legal damages or losses that you can seek compensation for in your wrongful death claim are intended to address the full value of your loved one’s life, and they are generally divided into the following two categories:
- Tangibles refer to your readily identifiable losses, such as the decedent’s lost income over the course of their expected career and the overall value of their contributions to the household that has been lost.
- Intangibles refer to the decedent’s lost relationships and to losses related to the meaningfulness they found in life. Additionally, damages such as loss of companionship and care qualify as intangibles.
Finally, survivors can file a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate in pursuit of compensation for losses, such as the following:
- The medical bills the decedent incurred from the time of the injury-causing accident until the time of their death
- The pain and suffering the decedent endured in the interim
- The cost of the decedent’s funeral and burial
The Other Party’s Negligence
To bring a successful wrongful death claim, you’ll need to demonstrate the other party’s fault in the matter, which can take any of the following forms:
- A criminal act
- An intentional act
In other words, the at-fault party failed to employ the reasonable care necessary – in relation to the involved circumstances. If this negligence is criminal in nature, the at-fault party can face simultaneous criminal charges.
The Elements of Your Claim
Wrongful death claims must prove that all the following elements apply:
- The at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care. For example, everyone who drives has a responsibility for the safety of everyone else on the road, and this is what is meant by a duty of care.
- The at-fault party neglected this responsibility.
- The at-fault party’s wrongdoing was the direct cause of the accident that ultimately proved fatal.
- The survivors suffered covered losses as a result of their loved one’s death.
When each of these elements apply, you can move forward with a wrongful death claim, and a dedicated wrongful death lawyer can help.
Common Categories of Wrongful Death Claims
While wrongful death claims come in many different forms, common examples include the following:
- Traffic accidents, such as car, truck, bicycle and motorcycle accidents
- Incidents of nursing home neglect or abuse
- Medical malpractice
Georgia’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
The state of Georgia imposes what is known as a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, and this amounts to a time limit for when you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. The time frame available to you in Georgia is two years from the date of your loved one’s death – rather than from the date of the accident that ultimately proved fatal.
The fact is that the emotional pain and suffering you endure as a result of your immense loss can cloud your thinking and hinder your ability to act, which means that these two years can be far shorter than you realize. Reaching out to an accomplished wrongful death lawyer from the outset is well advised.
How a Seasoned Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
Wrongful death claims are potentially challenging, but your capable wrongful death lawyer can help in all the following primary ways:
- Helping you better understand the wrongful death process and helping you make the right choices for you along the way
- Carefully accounting for the losses you experience and ensuring they are precisely represented in your claim
- Ably negotiating with the involved insurance company to help ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled
- Being prepared to head to trial in the event the insurance company refuses to engage in reasonable negotiations
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Brady M. Larrison is a Georgia wrongful death lawyer with the Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys whose team takes immense pride in their impressive track record of helping clients like you prevail. We can seek just compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional damages after the tragic loss associated with wrongful death claims. Your legal rights and your rightful recovery are paramount.