Accidents happen all too often, ranging from minor fender-bender car accidents to instances of slipping and tripping and more. It is rare that an accident is so severe that it results in death, but it does–tragically–happen.
When an accident occurs that takes the life of an individual, surviving loved ones are left dealing with emotions of shock and grief, anger and misunderstanding – How could this happen? – they may ask.
While nothing can undo the tragedy that has occurred, filing a wrongful death claim can, at the very least, offer some financial compensation to surviving loved ones and beneficiaries who have suffered both economically and non-economically as a result of the death.
If your loved one has been killed in an accident caused by another’s fault in Georgia, wrongful death lawyers at the Pritchard Injury Firm want to meet with you. Schedule your free consultation today to learn how we can help.
What Is Considered Wrongful Death?
While all deaths that are caused by unexpected accidents can be shocking and tragic, not all accident-related deaths warrant a wrongful death claim.
To be sure, in Georgia, a party has a civil action for wrongful death when the death of an individual is caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal acts of another party.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Whenever the death of a party is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, a wrongful death action may be appropriate. This means that a variety of different accident types may end up resulting in a wrongful death claim. At the office of Prichard Injury Law, our wrongful death practice areas include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Truck and commercial vehicle accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Dangerous premises accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Defective product accidents; and
If your loved one has been killed in an accident type that you don’t see listed above, please call our Georgia wrongful death lawyer directly to learn more about whether or not you have a case.
How to Go About a Wrongful Death Claim
If you think that you have a wrongful death claim, there are a number of things that you need to do as early on in the process as possible. Some steps to take when going about a wrongful death claim include:
- Get the decedent’s affairs and legal documents,
such as a will, in order. This is necessary for a couple of reasons, including:
- The deceased person cannot bring the suit themselves – the personal representative (typically named in a will) will need to file the action;
- Compensation will be recovered on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and then distributed to beneficiaries.
- Start putting together evidence of wrongful death, including medical reports, photos of the accident, eyewitnesses’ statements, and any other evidence you have. You should also document losses that have resulted from the death, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, etc. You may consider asking for an autopsy to help prove wrongful death in some cases as well.
- Hire a lawyer – your lawyer can provide more insight regarding the specifics of your case and what you need to do to improve your chances of a successful suit. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible.
What Needs to Be Proven?
There are four elements of a wrongful death suit that must be proven in order for the action to be successful. These include:
- Duty of care. The first thing that you must prove is that the party against whom you are filing a suit owed your loved one a duty of care. In many cases, the duty of care is implied.
- Breach of duty of care. You must that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to you via a negligent act, criminal act, intentional act, or reckless action.
- Causation. Perhaps most importantly, you must prove that the death would not have occurred but for the negligence of the defendant.
- Damages. Finally, you must prove that the deceased person’s estate and beneficiaries suffered actual losses as a result of the death.
The state of Georgia recognizes two separate types of wrongful death claims: one to compensate surviving family members, and one to compensate the decedent’s estate. Through both types of claims, the following damage types are recoverable:
- Economic losses, such as the value of lost wages, benefits, and earning capacity; any medical expenses accumulated prior to death; and funeral and burial expenses.
- Noneconomic losses, such as the value of lost services, care, companionship, parental guidance, the pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death, and other intangible, noneconomic losses suffered by loved ones of the deceased.
How a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult thing to suffer. As you grieve and think about your future, working with a lawyer can take a load off of your plate.
When you hire an attorney, your attorney will be responsible for managing all of the elements of your wrongful death claim, including investigating your case, proving fault and causation, calculating damages, filing all wrongful death paperwork, negotiating your claim with an insurer, identifying beneficiaries and the representative of the estate, and filing a lawsuit in court if necessary.
Your attorney will also be available to answer any questions you have throughout the process and help you recover the maximum compensation amount possible.
Call Our Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
To learn more about filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia and when such a claim is possible, please contact a wrongful death attorney, Georgia, from Pritchard Injury Firm today.
Pritchard Injury Firm also helps families of victims with wrongful death claims in Bartow County, Cobb County, Cherokee County and throughout the great state of Georgia.
We know how devastated that you may feel and want to help you recover the compensation award that you and your family deserve. Reach us today online or by phone to get started – we offer consultations free of charge.