One of the worst things anyone could ever go through is losing a loved one in an accident. Surviving family members are left to deal with their grief, and the financial cost of the death. Sometimes, loved ones have also lost a household income to pay for the mounting expenses. It is for this reason surviving family members often wonder if they can file a wrongful death claim after losing someone they love. If you have lost someone in an accident, a lawyer can advise on whether you have a valid claim.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims are similar to other types of personal injury claims. They are brought when someone’s negligent actions result in another person suffering harm. The difference between wrongful death claims and other personal injury cases is that the injured person does not file the claim themselves. Instead, their family members file a claim to recover their own losses.
Not all deaths are considered wrongful deaths. For a wrongful death to occur, the intentional or negligent acts of another person must have caused the death. Most car accidents are the result of someone’s negligence, so any death caused by a crash is likely a wrongful death case. Bicycle accidents, child injuries, nursing home abuse and neglect, and medication errors can also result in wrongful death.
Even intentional acts, such as murder, will result in a wrongful death. In these cases, a civil wrongful death claim can be filed against the negligent party along with criminal charges. It is important to note that when a civil and criminal case pertains to the same event, the outcome of one has no bearing on the other.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In Atlanta?
In Georgia, only certain people are allowed by law to file a wrongful death claim. These individuals are as follows:
- Spouse of the deceased: The spouse of the deceased is given first priority to file a wrongful death claim. Spouses can also file on behalf of any minor children of the deceased. Spouses are entitled to a minimum of one-third of damages awarded in wrongful death claims.
- Parent of the deceased: If the deceased did not have a surviving spouse and did not have any children, one of the surviving parents can file a wrongful death claim.
- Personal representative of the estate: Lastly, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. If they are successful with the claim, damages are then distributed to the estate and the deceased’s next of kin.
Proving Wrongful Death
Like all personal injury cases, including slip and falls, car accidents, and truck wrecks in Atlanta, you will have to prove your case when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. To do this, you must show:
- The negligent party owed your loved one a duty of care
- The negligent party breached their duty of care
- The direct link between the negligent act and the wrongful death
- The death resulted in losses for surviving family members
While proving wrongful death sounds straightforward, it is not. Proving any personal injury claim is extremely complex, and that holds true for wrongful death claims, as well. This is one reason it is so important to work with a lawyer. A lawyer will take the necessary steps based on the evidence in your case to prove your claim and help you recover the maximum damages available.
Recoverable Damages In Wrongful Death Claims
When filing a wrongful death claim, loved ones pursue damages for the losses they incurred as a result of the death. Damages are a form of monetary compensation and while they can never bring back a loved one, they can help offset the financial burden the death caused. Some of the most common damages pursued in wrongful death claims are as follows:
- Pain and suffering incurred by the deceased before their death
- Medical expenses incurred by the deceased as a result of the accident that caused their death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the deceased’s income
- Loss of the value of life, to that person, as difficult as that is to calculate.
- Loss of services the deceased provided, such as housekeeping or raising children
- Loss of guidance, care, and nurturing provided by the deceased
- Loss of love and companionship, what is considered loss of consortium
A lawyer can advise on the full damages available after reviewing your claim.
Call Our Lawyers Today
If you have lost someone due to the careless actions of another person, in a car accident, slip and fall, negligent security accident, or truck wreck in Atlanta, our lawyers at MG Law can advise on your case. Our seasoned attorneys know the complex laws that surround wrongful death claims, will explain how they apply to your case, and work aggressively to help you secure the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 404-982-4219 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case.