| Read Time: 4 minutes | Wrongful Death
Wrongful Death As a Result of Negligence

Negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care that results in harm to another person. Under Georgia law, negligence can take many forms and result in severe injuries or even death. When someone dies as a result of negligence, certain surviving family members have the legal right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, wrongful death as a result of negligence is common in Georgia. Read on to learn more about Georgia negligence law and common causes of wrongful death. 

Georgia Negligence Laws 

To prove general negligence against another party, you must provide evidence of four things: 

  • The other party owed the deceased a duty of care;
  • The other party breached this duty of care;
  • The breach resulted in your victim’s death; and
  • Your family suffered financial losses because of the victim’s death. 

Georgia follows the legal theory of modified comparative negligence. That means the decedent (deceased victim) could be partially at fault for the accident or event that led to their death, and your family could still recover some of your losses. However, if the decedent was more than 49% at fault, your family would not receive compensation. For example, suppose the decedent was 25% at fault for a car crash. In that case, your family could receive up to 75% of your total damages. If the decedent were 50% at fault, you would receive nothing. 

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Any number of accidents can involve negligence. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include the following. 

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Auto crashes can involve two or more vehicles, motorcycles, commercial trucks, bicyclists, and even pedestrians. Determining liability in an auto collision can be challenging, especially when more than two parties are involved. For example, a large truck accident might include four or more cars. 

Someone is usually to blame for auto accidents. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of negligence resulting in wrongful death from a car accident. Other common causes include the following: 

In the case of large commercial trucks, common causes include: 

  • Driving while fatigued,
  • Unbalanced or overloaded cargo,
  • Driving too fast for the conditions, and
  • Defective or poorly maintained truck or truck part. 

Truck drivers often get paid by the load. Some unscrupulous employers push drivers to exceed federally mandated rules regarding the number of allotted driving hours. That can lead to severe fatigue. In other cases, trucking companies cut corners and fail to conduct complete safety inspections before the driver departs. Accidents involving these 18-wheeler trucks can result in multiple fatalities. 

Workplace Accidents

Negligence in the workplace can occur when employers fail to provide a safe work environment by failing to train employees properly or provide necessary safety equipment and protocols. However, workers’ compensation laws impact whether someone has a right to fault-based compensation. Typically, if you get injured at work, you can collect damages through workers’ comp. If you do so, you do not have to prove your employer was negligent before getting compensation. However, if there was a negligent third party, you might be able to sue that party to collect additional damages. 

Medical Malpractice 

Wrongful death as a result of negligence involving medical care is known as medical malpractice. It can take many forms, including:

  • Failure to diagnose,
  • Misdiagnosis,
  • Delayed diagnosis,
  • Prescription mistakes,
  • Birth injuries,
  • Mistakes during surgery, 
  • Anesthesia errors, and
  • Leaving a foreign object in the body during surgery. 

Medical mistakes are some of the most challenging when pursuing a claim for damages as it often necessitates expert testimony to establish the medical standard of treatment. 

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect 

Negligence can happen in nursing homes when your loved one suffers abuse or neglect. An example of unintentional neglect includes understaffed nursing homes that fail to move patients as often as they should, resulting in painful bedsores. In other situations, nursing home staff might intentionally commit physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. 

Product Liability 

Dangerous products cause severe injury and death to consumers across Georgia. When you use a product as intended and suffer harm, it’s a defective product. These claims fall under product liability laws. 

Premises Liability 

Premises liability refers to accidents occurring on someone else’s property or public property. Common examples include the following: 

  • Slips and falls
  • Dog bites, 
  • Amusement park accidents,
  • Swimming pool accidents, and
  • Negligent security. 

Property owners must provide a safe environment for visitors. Victims can suffer fatal injuries when property owners fail to repair hazards or warn visitors of dangers. Proving negligence in a premises liability case differs from other wrongful death lawsuits. You must show the property owner is liable because there was a hazard they knew or should’ve known about—and they didn’t take proper steps to repair it or warn visitors. 

One of the most common examples of premises liability cases involves slip-and-fall accidents in grocery stores. Is the store liable if someone spills something and no one cleans up the spill? If the spill happened a minute before you fell, the store would likely not be liable because they didn’t have time to clean it up. However, if store employees did not clean up the spill for hours after it happened, the store could be liable. 

How a Lawyer Can Assist with a Negligence Case Resulting in Wrongful Death 

Georgia wrongful death law firms, such as MG Law, know what it takes to build a successful wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. You need a lawyer with wrongful death experience who is a strong negotiator to help with such a claim. Fortunately, MG Law can help. When you, as a surviving family member, retain us to handle your wrongful death claim, you can relax knowing your case is in good hands. 

We’ll gather evidence, interview witnesses, and negotiate with insurance companies. Should the insurance company fail to negotiate reasonably, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Our firm’s priority is to help surviving family members hold all responsible parties accountable for their loved one’s death. 

If you need assistance pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia, we invite you to get in touch with MG Law. All you need to do is schedule an initial consultation so we can review your case and let you know the best course of legal action.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury. He stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.