Losing a loved one due to another person’s negligence is a tragic occurrence that demands fair compensation. If you have recently lost a loved one in an accident, please consider contacting an Atlanta, Georgia wrongful death lawyer at the respected firm of Butler Law.
When someone you love and care about has been taken from you because of another person’s negligence, you will want to do everything possible to ease the grief. When thinking about what happened, you might feel intense emotional pain which causes you to avoid speaking to anyone about it. This is normal. But please understand that speaking with an attorney may help you and your family in the long run. Scheduling a consultation with an Atlanta, GA wrongful death attorney does not commit you to take any legal action. But it will help to ensure that your decisions are informed.
If you lost a loved one because of an accident caused by a drunk or impaired driver in Atlanta or another place in Georgia, please be wary of accepting quick settlement offers from insurance companies and/or the impaired driver without first seeking the guidance of an Atlanta, GA wrongful death lawyer. While a settlement might seem like a good idea in your time of need, a lawyer may be able to properly protect your rights and obtain a greater amount of compensation based upon the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Unfortunately, accepting an uninformed settlement offer is what insurance adjusters and the liable party likely want you to do. Defending parties are traditionally known for taking advantage of grieving victims. Fast settlements may be offered in addition to carefully worded statements that are very convincing. The truth is that by speeding up the process without reviewing your case with an Atlanta, GA wrongful death lawyer, you could lose out on fair compensation.
Meet the Wrongful Death Lawyers from Butler Law Firm
For years we have been handling personal injury and wrongful death claims. We know how difficult this is for you, and understand that you don’t want to relive the situation. We want to make the claims process as easy as possible. By selecting us to represent you and your family, please know that we will work with you to execute the strongest legal strategy possible under the circumstances. This strategy may include:
- Maintaining communication with the liable party and their insurance company
- Taking care of the complicated matters so you can focus on your healing
- Letting you know what is going on with your case
- Investigating the accident so we know exactly what happened
- Using our resources to your advantage
- Building your case as if it were going to trial
- Settling for maximum compensation
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a person dies because of another person’s or entity’s negligent, reckless or intentional actions. An individual, group, company, or government entity may potentially be held liable as long as there is evidence of the party intentionally or negligently causing injury or harm.
A wrongful death attorney might file a claim against a liable party who unintentionally or intentionally harmed the deceased (i.e. accident). Depending on the circumstances of the deceased’s death, criminal charges could be filed separately. If the person who caused the death of your loved one has been charged or convicted of a DWI or DUI or for other criminal acts, you may still be able to seek compensation with the help of a wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta, GA.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a family member dies, it is never easy, but when their death was caused because of a person’s negligence or recklessness, the grief can be even more devastating, and dealing with funeral arrangements and legal issues can be overwhelming. There are often financial hardships placed on the victim’s family, especially if they were the primary breadwinner.
Under Georgia law, survivors of victims killed in accidents may be able to pursue damages for the losses their loved one’s death has caused against the person or entity who was liable for the accident. This is done through a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have lost a loved one because of another party’s actions, contact Butler Law to speak with an Atlanta, GA wrongful death lawyer.
Under the law, when a person or entity acts in a way that contributed to the victim’s death can be found liable for the victim’s death, whether those acts were intentional or unintentional.
Whatever damages are recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit (or claim) are for the benefit of the victim’s spouse, children, parents, siblings, or next of kin. The lawsuit can be brought forward by either a family member of the victim (state law determines which family members qualify), the executor of the victim’s estate, or someone appointed by the court. A personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA can determine if you have legal standing to file a lawsuit.
It is important to note that there is a statute of limitations to how long survivors have to file a wrongful death claim. An Atlanta, GA wrongful death lawyer can explain what the time limit is in your case. Typically, it is a two-year deadline for the day the victim died, however, there may be exceptions under certain circumstances.
Some of the more common losses survivors can pursue a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Compensation for any expenses the family has incurred because of the death of the victim. This includes any medical and life-saving treatment the victim received before they died, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
- Compensation for the grief, emotional anguish, and sorrow the victim’s death has caused the family.
- Compensation for the personal losses the family will suffer because they no longer have the victim’s love, support, and companionship.
- Compensation for the loss of income, benefits, and services the victim provided for the family and what they would have provided in the future.
Contact an Atlanta, GA Wrongful Death Lawyer
When a family has lost a loved one because of the negligent actions of another party, they should contact a wrongful death lawyer to find out what legal options they may have. At Butler Law, we understand that no amount of money will ever make up for the death of your loved one, but we also understand that your family deserves financial justice for the many losses your loved one’s death has caused. Even if there have been criminal charges filed against the at-fault party, such as in a drunk driving accident, a wrongful death claim is a completely separate action, filed in civil court.
Call our office today for a free case evaluation with a compassionate and dedicated wrongful death lawyer Atlanta, GA clients recommend.
Understanding Punitive Damages and Award Caps
When you have lost a loved one to negligence, an Atlanta, GA wrongful death lawyer might seek punitive damages for you on your behalf. Punitive damages are also referred to as exemplary damages. These are often financial rewards granted to the plaintiff in a civil case to punish the defendant and deter them from committing such a gross act of negligence in the future. While these damages are reserved for the worst types of offenses in civil proceedings, they are not as common as some Hollywood productions would have you believe, and there are limitations on just how much a victim can expect to receive.
When Are Such Damages Justified?
In most civil or personal injury cases, compensatory damages are the norm. These losses can be proven and even actionable. They are easy for juries to understand, and they are fair compensation for most accidents, a way to make the plaintiff financially whole.
Punitive damages, alternatively, while still provable, present more of a challenge because a wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta, GA, or the victim must prove intent. A punitive reward is only offered when a defendant has intentionally injured the victim, either by willful act or gross and often criminal negligence.
What Are Judgment Caps?
As an Atlanta, Georgia wrongful death lawyer might explain to you, many states place a cap on punitive damages. A judgment cap is a restriction put on financial awards to ensure constitutionality and prevent excessive punishment. While not every state agrees on these capped amounts or what their value should be, the supreme court has commented that awards that offer the plaintiff a higher ratio than single digits, like 10:1 or more, are likely to be unconstitutional and excessive.
Can You Seek Punitive Damages?
Filing for punitive damages is not uncommon, but receiving such an award is. What evidence do you have that the accused purposely or knowingly injured and killed your loved one? Was your loved one threatened before the event? Did witnesses acknowledge that there was a purposeful action? If going after a company, what evidence do you have that top executives knew a product, service or employee was going to cause your loved one harm?
In general, the problem isn’t seeking or asking for punitive damages; the issue stems from proving willful negligence. While compensatory damages are often easy to prove through receipts and other documentation, it is more challenging to prove intent, especially if the event is singular, meaning uncharacteristic of the defendant.
Punitive damages exist for a reason. There are instances of wrong-doing that result in the injury of an individual or a group. In these instances, regardless of criminal action, victims deserve compensation. If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of gross negligence, and he or she lost their life because of it, a wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta, GA may try to recover punitive damages for you. Call a wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta, GA at Butler Law Firm.