The sudden death of a family member is not easy for loved ones, and it is a traumatic experience with a lasting implication emotionally, financially, and even physically. Wrongful death is when a person loses their life due to the negligence or carelessness of another person, manufacturer, or company. As such, wrongful death may arise from medical malpractice, defective product, workplace accident, car accident, and more.
If a person loses their life due to the negligence of another person or entity, a loved one has the legal right to seek compensation. Our Marietta wrongful death lawyers are here and ready to help you find justice. Contact us today at (800) 693-7833 to speak to our experienced personal injury lawyers about your case. at Ted A. Greve and Associates, we will not only guide you through the whole process but also protect your right and offer you the support you need.
How is Wrongful Death Defined in Georgia?
Under Georgia law (Ga. Code 51-4-1), wrongful death is when a human being dies as a result of a criminal action, negligence, or a defective product (whether or not the manufacturer acted with negligence). Under this law, it includes five code sections of the Wrongful Death Act, which outlines the possible legal grounds for filing a wrongful death claim. They include:
- Intentional Acts – This includes criminal actions, intentional homicides, and other forms of intentional acts
- Medical Malpractice – This covers anything related to medical procedures such as medical injuries, misdiagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, and others.
- Defective Products – This covers any wrongful death caused by defective or dangerous consumer products like electronic devices, medical devices, appliances, vehicle parts, and others.
- Negligence Based Accidents – This covers anything related to carelessness like nursing home neglect or abuse, pedestrian accident fatalities, improper alcohol service (like when a bartender keeps on serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person), sanitation issues in commercial establishments, contaminated foods, and many more.
- Construction and Engineering Malpractice – This covers anything related to engineering or construction malpractice like errors in the blueprints, assignment of unqualified personnel, improper personnel supervision, lack of proper checking procedures, poorly constructed part or product, and much more.
Who’s Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, the wrongful death statute sets out strict rules regarding the people who can file a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s surviving spouse holds the power to file a claim. If the diseased left surviving children, then the spouse can act as the representative of the children and must share any reward with them. This regulation can be found in Ga. Code 51-4-2 (d).
If there is no surviving spouse, surviving children can file a claim. If there is no surviving spouse or children, parents can file a claim. The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate can file a claim if there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
A loved one or the representative of a deceased estate can recover two types of compensation. They are:
- Economic Compensation – This type of compensation covers any form of financial loss that can be calculated. It covers losses like medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost income, lost benefits, and the value of household chores done by the deceased.
- Non-economic Compensation – This type of compensation covers any loss that is intangible like, loss of training, loss of guidance, loss of companionship, mental anguish, sorrow, and others.
It is important to note that according to Georgia’s Wrongful death statute, you may not be the only beneficiary of the compensated amount. In the case where there are multiple beneficiaries, the division of damage may get complicated. This is one of many reasons why it is highly important to speak to our Marietta wrongful death lawyers.
Can a Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?
Some states in America allow punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. However, in Georgia’s wrongful death laws, there is no mention of punitive damages. For this reason, the Georgia courts have strictly interpreted that the statute does not allow punitive damages to be awarded in a wrongful death claim.
However, punitive damages can be recovered through an estate claim. This is a separate legal action filed by the estate representative. Because of the complexity of the law regarding punitive damages in the event of wrongful death, the estate representative or the surviving spouse needs to speak to a lawyer to get a better understanding of this law. Furthermore, you will get legal advice based on your case.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
For a wrongful death lawyer to prove negligence in a wrongful death case, they must provide satisfactory evidence on four elements. These are:
• Duty of Care – The lawyer or accuser must show that the offender or defendant had a duty of care in that given situation that led to the death of the diseased.
• Breach of Duty of Care – The lawyer must show that the defendant fails to uphold the duty of care. In other words, they breached or violated the duty of care. This is achieved by showing the specific actions or inactions any reasonable person in the same situation would have acted.
• Damages – In a wrongful death lawsuit, it is very easy to prove damage, because it is clear that death occurred. Nevertheless, it must be proven that the breach of duty caused the death of the deceased.
• Causation – The lawyer must show the death came about as a result of the action of the defendant and not through other forms or cause.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
Our legal team and support staff are here to assist you with all of the necessary paperwork and filing procedures. All that you need to do is reach out to our attorneys by contacting us at (800) 693-7833.
You must file a wrongful death case within two years of the deceased’s passing.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?
After a wrongful death, two types of claims can be filed in court. These are:
- Wrongful death claim
- Estate claim
These are two different forms of claims. What is the difference between the two? Well:
Wrongful Death Claim
The surviving family, or an estate representative if there are no family members qualified to make the claim, files the lawsuit. The compensation is for the full value of the life of the decedent from the perspective of the deceased. What does this mean? It simply means that the court will consider the loss of life from the perspective of the person who died and what the person’s life meant. This is defined in Georgia statute Ga. Code 51-4-1.
This type of claim allows the estate representative to recover damages on behalf of the deceased such as the pain the deceased suffered before death, medical bills incurred before death, funeral expenses, and any other damage or expenses. Under an estate claim, punitive damage may apply and must be filed by the estate.
Contact Our Marietta Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Consultation
A good wrongful death lawyer will not only fight on your behalf or help you get the compensation you deserve, but also help you through the whole process. Because we offer personalized service, this is an advantage you get with Ted A. Greve and Associates.
Our Marietta, Georgia wrongful death lawyers are dedicated, experienced, and have the legal knowledge to fight for your rights. We are compassionate and dedicated to our clients. Get in touch with us today by calling (800) 693-7833 and speak to an experienced lawyer.