Losing someone you love due to the carelessness or negligence of another person can be one of the most devastating things you could ever face in life. Such losses come unexpectedly and are generally financially, psychologically, and emotionally draining. If you’ve lost someone through an accident caused by another person, you have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim. With such a case, you need a professional Mableton wrongful death lawyer for legal counsel and representation.
At Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler P.C., our wrongful death attorneys understand that it can be hard to take legal action against those responsible for your loved one’s death while you’re grieving. Seeking the legal representation and counsel of an attorney takes the weight of pursuing a lawsuit on your own off your shoulders. Our Mableton personal injury attorneys are devoted to helping people like you recover the compensation they deserve by guiding and representing through the legal process.
As such, if you lost someone dear to you due to another person’s carelessness or negligence, make sure you reach us at Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler P.C. to speak to a professional Mableton wrongful death lawyer for guidance and advice. Call 678-825-6004 today to schedule a free-of-charge, no-obligation initial meeting with our attorneys for a chance to have your case evaluated at no cost.
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How’s Wrongful Death Defined in Georgia?
Title 51, Chapter 4 of Georgia’s Code defines wrongful death as a death caused by the deliberate, negligent, or careless actions of an entity or person. Good examples of this include when someone loses their life due to being given the wrong medication by a doctor or nurse or being involved in a fatal accident caused by a drunk driver, or after using a defective product.
Claims involving wrongful death are generally centered on similar grounds as those involving personal injury with the only difference being that the person involved did not survive the injuries. According to Georgia law, some of the things/causes that provide legal grounds for filing a wrongful death claim include:
- Defective or dangerous products
- Criminal acts, including deliberate homicide
- Medical malpractice
- Engineering malpractice and faulty construction
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Illegal or improper service of alcohol
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Who’s Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
According to Georgia law, the first person who qualifies to file a claim for wrongful death is the deceased’s spouse. If the deceased had no spouse, then then the right to recover compensation for their demise falls to his or her children. If the deceased had no spouse or children, then his or her parents reserve the right to recover compensation for the demise of their child. If the deceased had no spouse, children, or parents, then the duty of recovering compensation falls on the administrator of his or her estate.
In instances where the deceased left no will and his or her spouse decides to pursue a claim, state laws dictate that the deceased’s spouse must share a portion of what they receive through a wrongful death claim with the children. However, it’s worth noting that this law assures that the deceased’s partner keeps one-thirds of the awarded settlement. Where minors are involved, the right to recover compensation is bestowed on the legal guardian or parent until the child is old enough, i.e., until they turn 18 years of age.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover Through a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, individuals entitled to file a wrongful death claim reserve the right to recover the full value of their loved one’s life without deducting any of their necessary or personal expenses had they continued to live. What that means is that the deceased’s family reserves the right to compensation for:
- Emotional distress
- Future and present lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and medical expenses
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
- Loss of consortium and companionship for the spouse
- Loss of protection and love for the deceased’s spouse and children
- Loss of benefits such as retirement benefits
- Loss of inheritance for the deceased’s children
Can the Deceased’s Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?
Yes and no. While punitive damages are recoverable in cases involving extreme or egregious behavior or willful negligence to punish the responsible party, these damages cannot be recovered through a typical wrongful death claim.
Punitive damages can only be recovered through an estate claim. An estate claim is filed by the decedent’s estate Executor or Administrator on behalf of the decedent’s next of kin.
Contact a Mableton wrongful death attorney to learn more about the difference between a wrongful death claim and an estate claim. Georgia’s wrongful death laws can be quite complex, and recovering maximum compensation requires a thorough understanding of the nuances of Georgia’s wrongful death laws.
How’s Negligence Proved in Wrongful Death Cases?
In Georgia, the plaintiffs in wrongful death claims have the burden of proving the other party was careless and that their actions are what led to the demise of their loved one. Normally, there are four elements that you, as the plaintiff, have to prove to establish liability. They include:
- Duty of Care: As the accuser, you will have to prove to the courts that the offender owed your deceased one a duty of care in the situation or at the time.
- Breach of Duty of Care: Next, you must prove how the offender breached or violated this duty of care. That is if they breached their duty of care through either the commission or omission of an act, where any reasonable individual in the same situation would’ve acted differently or appropriately.
- Damage: The offender’s breach of duty directly led to the death of your loved one.
- Causation: You must also prove that your loved one’s demise resulted from the negligent actions of the offender and not any other cause.
How Do I Start a Wrongful Death Compensation Claim in Georgia?
The death of a loved one could leave you distraught and wondering what to do next. And while we understand that you are going through a tough time, you need to make time to find out if you have a case to pursue and if you recover compensation for the demise of your loved one. If you’d like to learn more about how to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia, then reach out to us at Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler P.C. to speak to a professional Mableton wrongful death lawyer.
The lawyers at Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler P.C. can help you determine if you have a case to pursue and advise you on what legal action to take. We also can help you establish an estate by reviewing the contents of your loved one’s will to establish who should become your loved one’s estate’s representative. Our attorneys can also guide you through the process of filing a claim even if your loved one left no representative.
Once we’ve established who’s best suited to file a claim on behalf of your family, we then start investigations to find out what exactly took place before your loved one lost their life. By doing this, it becomes easier for us to establish if you have a case to pursue. The process also allows you to identify and name the person who led to the demise of your loved one. If you are ready to pursue a wrongful death claim in Mableton, Georgia, then reach out to us for help filing your claim.
What’s the Difference Between an Estate Claim and a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are tort law claims in which the deceased’s surviving family files a suit against the person or entity responsible for the injuries that led to the demise of their loved one. Effectually, the deceased’ family members take up their role and seek recovery for the full value of the life the party responsible cut short.
Estate claims, on the other hand, are easier to understand. With these claims, the estate itself tries to recover expenses like the deceased’s burial and funeral costs and the medical bills associated with the incident that resulted in your loved one’s death. Through estate claims, estates can also pursue damages for the suffering and pain the deceased experienced if they’d survived the incident for a few days or weeks before dying.
Have Your Case Reviewed for Free by a Mableton Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you lost a loved one due to the criminal or negligent acts of another person or entity, you need to make sure that you get in touch with a skilled Mableton wrongful death lawyer for legal counsel and representation. Remember, you have limited time to file your claim otherwise you’ll end being barred from seeking compensation.
Get in touch with Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler P.C. today to schedule a no-obligation initial meeting and have your case reviewed for free. Dial 678-825-6004 now to speak to a professional wrongful death attorney.