A wrongful death is any death that results from a preventable accident. Like with a personal injury claim, through which a victim can seek compensation for his or her damages related to an accidental injury, a wrongful death victim’s survivors can pursue compensation for their death-related damages through a wrongful death claim.
For a death to be deemed wrongful, it must have occurred because a party other than the victim was negligent. What counts as negligence depends on the nature of the case – in a car accident, negligence can mean speeding or driving drunk. In a medical malpractice claim, it could mean leaving surgical equipment in the victim after surgery, failing to sterilize the equipment used to perform surgery, or giving the patient the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the correct medication.
Accidents that can Result in a Wrongful Death
When an individual suffers severe injuries in an any accident, he or she can die at the scene or from complications of the injuries in the days, weeks, or even months that follow it. Any time a victim’s death is caused directly by an accident that could have been prevented through greater care on the part of another party, the victim’s loved ones may pursue compensation for any damages they suffered through a wrongful death claim.
Common accidents that can result in a victim’s death include:
- Acts of medical malpractice. This is the third leading cause of death for Americans;
- Car accidents;
- Slip and falls;
- Truck accidents;
- Dog bites;
- Exposure to toxic substances;
- Accidents involving fire or electricity; and
- Accidents where victims are crushed between two objects.
Who Can Pursue Compensation through a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, the victim’s spouse may file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for his or her damages. If the victim had minor children, his or her spouse may file a claim on behalf of the children as well and recover compensation for the damages they suffered, like their loss of the victim’s financial support and companionship.
If the victim did not have a spouse, his or her adult children may pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. If there is no spouse or children, the victim’s parents may pursue compensation for wrongful death damages. When this is the case, a personal representative of the victim’s estate may also file a wrongful death claim.
Recovering Compensation for Wrongful Death Damages
Through a wrongful death claim, a victim’s loved one can recover compensation for the following damages:
- The victim’s funeral and burial expenses;
- The loss of the victim’s companionship, guidance, and love;
- The loss of the victim’s income, employment benefits, and any other tangible support he or she provided to his or her family;
- If the victim received medical care in the moments following his or her accident or leading up to his or her death, compensation for these medical bills; and
- Compensation for any trauma the victim personally experienced between the accident and his or her death.
Compensation for the victim’s medical expenses, funeral expenses, and personal trauma is awarded to his or her estate. The other damages are awarded directly to the claimant.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the victim’s death. Once two years pass, a victim’s loved one or estate representative cannot bring a wrongful death claim to court or recover compensation for his or her damages.
In a wrongful death claim, the victim must demonstrate that the death occurred because of another party’s negligence. He or she can do this by providing sufficient evidence to illustrate the nature of the accident and how the negligent party breached their duty of care to the victim. Evidence to support a wrongful death claim can include:
- An official accident report;
- Testimonies from witnesses to the accident;
- Expert testimony about the victim’s injury from a doctor; and
- Photographs of the accident scene.
Work with an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Covington, GA
When you lose a loved one in an accident, no amount of money can make the pain go away. But monetary compensation for your damages can alleviate some of the physical burden you and your family feel because of the death. To learn more about your right to pursue a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in an accident, contact our team of Covington wrongful death lawyers at MG Law today to set up your free consultation with us.