Dealing with the loss of a loved one is emotionally devastating for the family members left behind. Managing a death makes it especially harder when the cause is due to the negligence and carelessness of another person.
Our expert Wrongful Death Attorneys in Decatur, Georgia can help you seek the compensation and damages your deserve after losing a family member.
With over 30 years of dedicated experience, The Brown Firm can help your family find closure and gain financial compensation to which your family rightfully deserves.
Our Decatur personal injury attorneys represent those who have fallen victim to another person's negligent or intentional actions; we offer free consultations, Click Below to start.
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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT
The right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death is a relatively new concept. Georgia State Law defines a "wrongful death" as the death of one person caused by the "negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal" acts of another person or entity.
Wrongful Death only occurs when the loss of life is due to the negligent actions of another person, which could have been prevented. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit with your attorney in Decatur, you are trying to obtain compensation from the party at fault.
We hope you never have to experience the death of a loved one due to the negligence of another.
Wrongful Death cases can be very intricate and are substantially different from other personal injury cases. In a typical personal injury case, the victim files the claim against the responsible party. In a wrongful death case, the family or estate must file the claim for the recovery of damages.
There are complications with filing a wrongful death claim and the process can be quite confusing for loved ones.
There are even unique challenges and areas for error for seasoned trial lawyers. That is why it's important to seek professional legal help that has the experience and knowledge of your state's laws and regulations about your wrongful death suit.
If you have lost a loved in a wrongful death accident, one of our expert lawyers can help you navigate the many steps involved in filing a claim and seeking compensation for loss of future income, pain and suffering, and expenses.
Our lawyers can help if you are seeking compensation for a death caused by:
You need an experienced attorney who will help preserve critical evidence, conduct your investigation, and gather all evidence and testimony available to increase your chances of a favorable case outcome.
FILING A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM IN DECATUR, GEORGIA
If you intend to take legal action after losing a family member in an accident, it is important that you act quickly. Keep in mind; it isn't until the time of death, not the time of injury when it will be determined who has the claim and the right to file a lawsuit.
The Statute of Limitations limits the time survivors or personal representative have to bring a wrongful death suit to court. In almost all cases, the claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. If the wrongful death claim is not filed within the two-year statute, the right to bring it is almost always lost.
When you lose a loved one due to the negligence of another, Georgia recognizes two separate and unique types of wrongful death claims:
- The Wrongful Death Claim- In Georgia, this traditional claim is to establish the "full value of the life of the deceased" taken by the negligence of another. This claim is brought on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased person, it includes monetary damages, such as lost wages and benefits or loss of care, companionship, and other intangible benefits.
- The Estate Claim- This claim can only be brought forth by the estate, and it is not for the value of the life of the deceased but instead any expenses the Estate has incurred resulting from the injury and death, as well as pain and suffering. Damages that may be recovered in this claim include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death.
The Court and Legal Processes Involved in Bringing Forth a Claim
Wrongful death is a civil lawsuit (instituted by survivors or estates against individuals or corporations responsible for the death and which cannot directly lead to incarceration, meaning the judgment will not involve incarceration), while murder is a criminal lawsuit (instituted by criminal prosecutors and which can lead to imprisonment).
The first step to filing a suit is to hire an experienced attorney who can investigate the facts and details of your wrongful death and determine if you have a valid suit.
Once the attorney has decided that there is a valid case, the next step is to have a personal representative appointed by the probate court to file the lawsuit on behalf of the estate or survivor of the deceased.
The lawsuit is a legal document, called the Complaint, that is filed at the courthouse and sets forth the legal basis for the claim. This includes allegations of negligence or intentional acts that caused the death.
The lawsuit also implores the various types of compensation allowed under the state's statutes and ordinance.
What Survivors are Entitled to in Wrongful Death Settlements?
Wrongful Death Settlements include compensation paid for both non-economic and economic losses. Some of those losses are financial while other losses are emotional, such as the loss of the deceased’s love and companionship.
There are no written guidelines for determining the compensation amount for non-economic wrongful death claims. In the situation that the case would go to trial, a jury would be responsible for deciding the monetary value of the claim. Non-economic losses include:
- The loss of emotional support
- Moral support
- Pain and Suffering from the time of the injury through the date of death
Compensation is also owed to the family for economic losses caused by the passing of a loved one.
- Loss of earnings( past, present, and future)
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of work benefits (health insurance, pension)
- Funeral expenses
It's not uncommon for an economist to place a financial value on the loss of household services that the descendant would have provided to the family if not for the death. This type of claim would be added into the settlement amount.
Which Relatives May Sue for Economic and Non-Economic Losses?
Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents from simple car accidents to complicated medical malpractice or product liability cases. Persons, companies, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently and for acting intentionally.
Georgia wrongful death law sets up a hierarchy of relatives who have standing to sue for the death of a loved one. The hierarchy as follows:
- Spouse of the Deceased, If your loved one is survived by a spouse, then the spouse has a right to file a wrongful death suit. However, if your loved one is survived by spouse and children, then the spouse must file on behalf of himself or herself and then the children. The spouse and the children then split the compensation and awarded damages, 1/3 to the spouse and the rest divided amongst the children
- Children of the Deceased, If your loved one was not survived by a spouse, then the children of the deceased have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
- Parents of the Deceased, if your loved one was not survived by a spouse your children, then the surviving parent has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- The Executor of the Deceased's Estate, if none of the above has survived, then the estate has the wrongful death claim.
If the executor or personal representative brings the claim, any damages recovered are held by the estate for the benefit of the deceased person's next of kin.
In order to file a lawsuit, a family member or heir must first be appointed the personal representative of the estate or descendant. This process is done through the probate court in the county where the descendant last resided or had property. Alternatively, the estate can be opened in the county the death occurred, or the lawsuit will be filed.
We know better than anyone that it can be difficult to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, so do not attempt to file your claim alone.
The Brown Firm handles the probate process from start to finish when you choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Hiring experienced representation is crucial to the outcome of your case because we have successfully handled many similar cases before.
Contact Our Decatur Wrongful Death Attorney's
If you have lost someone you love due to the negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to receive compensation for their wrongful death.
Our Decatur personal injury lawyers are committed to helping you with your personal injury case.
We understand that every client has specific goals and needs which is why we take a personal approach, so each case is receiving the right amount of time and attention.
Our superior customer service is backed by a staff that genuinely cares about you, and a team of attorneys who have the gratitude, understanding and compassion for your specific circumstances.
At The Brown Firm, we offer a Free Consultation to see how we can best assist with your specific needs.
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