No lawsuit can bring a loved one back to life, but with the help of a good wrongful death lawyer Atlanta GA residents trust, you can hold the responsible party accountable. Although money is never a replacement for a spouse, child, or parent, it tries to ease the burden. Wrongful death cases are not easy for surviving relatives, and they’re not easy for attorneys to handle. It takes a skilled and compassionate attorney to correctly handle, and if necessary litigate, a wrongful death case.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action when someone dies because of the misconduct or negligence of another party. For example, if someone passes away as the result of a car accident, a surviving family member can hire a lawyer to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash. Talking with your neighbors and doing your own research to find a good lawyer is important. As a wrongful death lawyer Atlanta GA residents hire in times of serious need, we take ourselves and our work seriously.
Some wrongful death cases are the result of violent criminal attacks. For example, if an attacker stabs an innocent victim, and the victim dies as a result of the stabbing, surviving family members may sue the attacker in civil court. Surviving family members may also be able to go after the property owner who knew, or should have known that criminal activity was happening on his property but he did not take the proper measures to stop that criminal activity. As an experienced wrongful death lawyer Atlanta GA community members turn to with questions, we know what to investigate to make sure we get all of the right answers.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
O.C.G.A. § 51-4- 2 identifies who has the right to file a wrongful death claim.
- The surviving spouse of the person who dies has the right to file a wrongful death case, and must share in the recovery with any surviving children.
- If there is no surviving spouse, then children of the person who dies have the right to file a wrongful death case.
- If the person who died had no spouse or children, that person’s parent may properly file a wrongful death case.
Claims in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Helping community members is important to us. As a good wrongful death lawyer Atlanta GA residents trust, we explain during the first consultation that there are two types of damages a family can bring.
First, the surviving family members or wrongful death beneficiaries may collect the full value of the life of the deceased person.
Second, the estate administrator may file a claim for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering that the person suffered before death.
What Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Cover?
The purpose of a wrongful death case is to recover “the full value of the life” of the person who died. O.C.G.A. § 51-4- 2. The “full value” of a life has two parts. First, there is an economic part. Basically, that means that the jury can evaluate how much money the person would have earned throughout his or her life. Second—and more importantly—there is an intangible part.
This is for the important parts of life that the person missed. As a top wrongful death lawyer Atlanta GA residents hire we believe that we don’t just represent the person who hires us; we believe we represent the person whose life has been taken. If a person was killed while young, for instance, that person may have missed falling in love, graduating from school, earning his or her first paycheck, getting married, having children, and watching those children grow into adults. Those are all parts of the intangible value of life. The jury’s verdict in a wrongful death case should reflect the “full value of the life” that was lost, and that “full value” should be measured from the point of view of the person who died. O.C.G.A. § 51-4- 2(a); Brock v. Wedincamp, 235 Ga. App. 275, 280 (2002).
Finally, a wrongful death lawsuit is intended to keep the wrongful conduct from happening again because, as Georgia’s courts have determined, the statute “is itself punitive.” Ford Motor Co. v. Stubblefield, 171 Ga. App. 331, 340 (1984). In that sense, a civil lawsuit can give purpose to tragedy—it can deter the defendant from hurting someone else.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Georgia
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death case in Georgia is usually two years, although there are exceptions. If the death occurred as the result of criminal behavior, the clock may not start running until the criminal case ends. If the estate is not probated, the clock may not start running for up to five years. The rules are complex, so it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney review your case and let you know when you need to file.
While many lawyers claim to handle wrongful death cases, few really know the law. Our injury attorneys have spoken about wrongful death cases at legal seminars, educated other Georgia lawyers, and written about the topic in legal publications. If you have questions for a wrongful death lawyer Atlanta GA has to offer, contact us for a no-obligation consultation.
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