Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney
It’s bad enough when a car or truck accident or medical negligence causes severe injury to a loved one, but when another’s negligence takes the life of a family member, the pain and loss are truly hard to bear. Georgia law allows certain family members to bring legal action against any party responsible for taking a life through negligence, recklessness, or an intentional or criminal act. Pursuant to this “wrongful death” law, family members can hold the responsible party liable for the full value of the deceased person’s life. Although it may be emotionally difficult to pursue, a wrongful death claim can help grieving family members obtain a measure of justice for their loved one, a sense of closure, and much-needed financial help to deal with the loss of a wage earner, homemaker or beloved family member.
That Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Durham Law Group are here to help you with your wrongful death claim. We’ll see your case through to its conclusion at settlement or trial while you concentrate on your family and putting your life back in order after another’s wrongful act has torn it apart. Call our Atlanta office at 404-845-3434 for a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss your claim, and we’ll take it from there.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action in Georgia?
Georgia’s wrongful death statute is specific about who can file a claim for wrongful death. If the death occurred to a child, the parent or parents are the appropriate party or parties to file suit. If the deceased was an adult, then the surviving spouse has the right to file a claim. If minor or adult children were left behind, the spouse and children will share equally in any damages award recovered, except that the spouse must by law receive at least one-third. A minor child’s share would be held for the child’s benefit by a parent or guardian until the child grows up.
If the deceased did not leave a surviving spouse or children, then the surviving parents of the deceased can bring a claim. If there is no surviving spouse, child or parent, then the executor or administrator of the estate can file a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate.
In addition to the above, the estate’s personal representative can also bring a claim to recover funeral and burial expenses, final medical costs that were incurred, and a damages award for the deceased’s conscious pain and suffering before death. These damages are paid to the estate and distributed according to the deceased’s will or Georgia state law.
Who Decides the Full Value of a Life?
It can seem strange to try and put a dollar value on the life of a loved one, but that is what Georgia’s wrongful death law commands us to do. There are ways to get at what this value might be by considering items such as the deceased’s earning capacity and what they would have earned over their lifetime had their life not been cut short. A value can also be attached to the loss of care, companionship and consortium of a beloved family member. By requiring compensation for the “full value” of the deceased’s life, Georgia law is saying that no deductions are to be made for personal expenses the deceased might have incurred.
Ultimately, it will be up to a jury to decide what amount is fair, unless the parties settle on an amount prior to going to trial. Whether handling your case in or out of court, our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys craft a strong case with sensible arguments for a fair amount of compensation.
Legal Help With Wrongful Death Claims in Atlanta
Filing a wrongful death claim means you will be suing the negligent party in court or negotiating a settlement with their insurance company. As in a personal injury case, the burden is on you to prove the other party’s negligence, fault, and the extent of your damages. The defendant, meanwhile, might raise defenses such as comparative negligence to lessen the amount of liability or eliminate it entirely. It’s essential to be represented in your wrongful death matter by a skilled and experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney who understands the value of your claim and knows how to achieve a favorable settlement or jury verdict.
For help with a wrongful death claim in Atlanta, call Durham Law Group at 404-845-3434 for a no-cost, confidential consultation with a team of compassionate and experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorneys.