Steps in a Georgia Wrongful Death Case

Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most devastating experiences anyone can go through. And when that loss is a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, the pain and anger can be overwhelming. In such heartbreaking situations, seeking justice for your loved one becomes paramount.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate position, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be the right path to not only hold those responsible accountable but also provide some form of closure for you and your family. Here, an experienced South Fulton wrongful death lawyer will guide you through each step involved in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Step 1 – Identifying the 4 Elements of Negligence

When pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is essential to establish negligence on the part of the responsible party. This requires identifying and proving four key elements:

  • Duty of care: Your lawyer must show what duty the defendant owed the deceased. For example, a doctor has a responsibility to provide quality care to patients.
  • Breach of duty: To prove this element, your lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant failed to fulfill their duty of care by acting negligently or recklessly
  • Causation: Your lawyer must prove the defendant’s negligence caused your loved one’s death.
  • Damages: In a wrongful death case, this includes the emotional suffering and economic damages that result from the death.

Step 2 – Filing a Claim Including the Letter of Demand

After identifying the elements of negligence in your wrongful death case, the next step is to file a claim. This involves preparing and submitting a letter of demand to the responsible party or their insurance company.

The demand letter encapsulates your case, encompassing particulars such as the causal relationship between negligence and the fatality, any economic hardships suffered by the deceased’s loved ones, and a precise monetary sum sought as redress. Maintaining clarity and brevity is crucial in composing this letter, while also substantiating your claims with relevant evidence where applicable.

Once your South Fulton wrongful death attorney has drafted your letter of demand, it should be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This ensures that there is proof of delivery and gives you documentation for future reference.

Step 3 – Collecting Evidence and Building the Case

Gathering evidence and constructing a robust case represents a pivotal phase in every wrongful death legal action. This process demands meticulous inquiry, a keen focus on particulars, and the guidance of a proficient attorney with relevant expertise.

The first step in this process is gathering all relevant documentation related to the incident. This may include medical records, police reports, witness statements, photographs, and any other supporting evidence that can help establish negligence or wrongdoing.

a lawyer can help you sue the person responsible for a loved one's death

Next, your attorney will work closely with you to interview witnesses who can provide valuable information about the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. These interviews may be conducted in person or through written statements depending on the availability of witnesses.

Beyond relying on witness accounts, the inclusion of expert opinions can really enhance the strength of your case. Medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, or forensic analysts can be engaged to offer their expert perspectives on matters related to causation and liability, further bolstering your legal position.

Step 4 – Negotiating a Settlement 

During the negotiation phase, your South Fulton wrongful death attorney will work closely with the opposing party and their insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement. They will present evidence and arguments on your behalf, highlighting the negligence and liability of the responsible party.

Negotiations may involve back-and-forth discussions, offers, counteroffers, and compromises. It is crucial for both parties to be open-minded and willing to find common ground in order to achieve a resolution that provides just compensation for your loss.

Your attorney’s experience in handling wrongful death cases can greatly impact the success of these negotiations. They will use their knowledge of previous settlements and court decisions as leverage during discussions.

The goal of negotiating a settlement is to avoid going through a lengthy trial process while still ensuring that you receive adequate compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.

Step 5 – Filing Suit If Negotiations Fail

When negotiations fail to yield a fair settlement for the wrongful death of your loved one, it may be necessary to take the next step and file a lawsuit. To initiate the lawsuit, your South Fulton wrongful death lawyer will draft and file a complaint in court. This document outlines the details of your case, including who is being sued and what damages you are seeking. It is crucial to ensure that all necessary parties are named in the lawsuit.

Once the complaint has been filed, there will be a period of discovery where both parties gather evidence and information related to the case. This may involve depositions, interrogatories, or requests for documents.

As the trial date approaches, your attorney will engage in pre-trial preparations such as drafting legal briefs and motions. These documents outline legal arguments and address any potential issues that may arise during the trial.

Call an Experienced South Fulton Wrongful Death Lawyer!

Losing a loved one due to negligence or wrongdoing is devastating, but taking legal action can help hold responsible parties accountable and provide some form of closure. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you are not only seeking justice for your loved one but also ensuring that others do not suffer similar tragedies in the future.

While no amount of money can bring back your loved one or ease the pain caused by their loss; obtaining financial compensation can alleviate various burdens associated with funeral expenses medical bills, loss of income, and emotional distress. An experienced South Fulton wrongful death attorney will fight to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

At Hartley, Rowe & Fowler, we offer each new client a free case review, so you do not have to worry about legal fees. Do not hesitate to reach out to us at 678-825-6004!

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