If you are going through the pain of losing a loved one due to the negligence of another person or organization, then our Smyrna wrongful death lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates are here to help. We are personal injury lawyers who specialize in wrongful death claims in Smyrna. Our firm has been assisting the local area for more than 25 years and we have helped hundreds of clients receive the settlement they deserve.
Working with a wrongful death attorney is always a smart decision when negligence was a clear factor in the victim’s death. Yet, a surprising number of people never pick up the phone and make contact. There’s no fee required to discuss your potential case. So pick up your phone and call us today at (844) 387-8677 for your no-risk case evaluation.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined In The State Of Georgia?
Georgia relies on the Wrongful Death Law & Statute to define what is considered a wrongful death, who can file a claim, and what types of damages may be compensated. It defines wrongful death as the death of an individual that is caused by a person or company acting in negligence or with criminal intent. The family of the deceased may file a claim seeking compensation for the full value of the deceased’s life.
Common causes of a wrongful death suit include:
- Faulty building design or construction
- Defective product define
- Criminal action
- Surgical errors and other forms of medical malpractice
- Abuse or neglect at a nursing home
- Contaminated food served at a restaurant
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Who Is Qualified To File A Wrongful Death Claim In Georgia?
The Georgia Wrongful Death Law is very clear in regards to who is allowed to file a claim. The law is designed to provide compensation to the spouse or direct heirs of the deceased. In most cases, this will not include siblings, grandchildren, or parents; though there are some specific instances where these individuals can file a claim.
The surviving spouse has priority when it comes to filing a claim. If the deceased had children, then the spouse may also file on behalf of the children as a representative. In those cases, the spouse is entitled to no less than one-third of the compensation provided. This minimum cannot be reduced regardless of the number of children.
The children may file on their own behalf when there is no surviving spouse. If the deceased has no surviving spouse or children, then the right is passed to the parents and ultimately to the representative of the victim’s estate. This is most common when the deceased was a child themselves and thus had no spouse or children of their own.
What Types Of Damages Are Recoverable?
The law specifically states that compensation will cover “the full value of the deceased’s life.” Furthermore, that value is determined from the perspective of the deceased rather than the individual filing the claim. This means that bills and expenses the plaintiff pays because of the death are not included in this value.
The value of a person’s life is a difficult element to quantify. That’s where having an experienced legal team really helps. We have decades of experience handling cases like this and can help properly calculate a value that will be accepted in court.
While every case is unique, there are two key elements that we visit in every case when calculating damages.
1. The Tangible Elements: These are generally economic damages that can be clearly proven with receipts and other financial records. They include loss of wages and loss of services rendered.
2. The Intangible Elements: These are more difficult to quantify, but with the proper evidence can be proven in court. They are related to the emotional, non-economic damages suffered, such as the loss of the relationship.
Can Surviving Family File For Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are not included in a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia. However, that does not mean no punitive damages can be pursued. They are instead a part of the estate claim, which is a separate legal process that may or may not involve the same plaintiff.
How Is Negligence Proved In A Wrongful Death Claim?
The steps to proving negligence are straightforward and repeated with nearly all civil claims in Georgia. They go as follows:
1. Determining that the defendant owed the deceased a certain duty of care.
2. Proving that the defendant violated that duty, thus committing the act of negligence.
3. Demonstrating how that negligence is what resulted in the death of the victim.
4. Demonstrating that damages occurred as a result of that death.
The second step is the most important and difficult. It requires the assistance of experienced attorneys who can gather evidence and testimonies relevant to the case. You should only put your trust in the best possible wrongful death attorneys in Smyrna.
How Do You Start A Georgia Wrongful Death Claim?
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 (844) 387-8677.
You must file a wrongful death case within two years of the deceased’s passing.
What Is The Difference Between An Estate Claim And Wrongful Death Claim In Georgia?
The difference between these two claims lies in the types of damages involved. Remember, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the “full value of the deceased’s life” and operates from the perspective of the deceased. That means it does not include financial losses that the plaintiff has experienced due to the death, such as funeral bills, medical expenses, and mental suffering caused by the death.
The estate claim is filed by the estate of the deceased. This may be the same individual who files the wrongful death claim, but that is not always the case. Our lawyers will discuss this possibility with you during your case evaluation.
Call Our Smyrna Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Georgia law can certainly be confusing when it comes to wrongful death claims. Surviving family members need to understand the types of damages they may be compensated for and how a judge will view these damages. It makes sense to navigate this confusing landscape with the help of an experienced and trusted law firm near Smyrna, GA. Let our Smyrna wrongful death lawyers be your guide during these difficult times. Call us as soon as possible at (844) 387-8677 for a free, virtual case review.