Our Georgia wrongful death attorney represents clients who have lost a loved one as a result of another’s negligence or misconduct. There are many circumstances in which a wrongful death can occur, but the most common incidents happen as a result of an automobile crash, drunk driving, unsafe prescriptions, medical malpractice or product liability. When someone you love is fatally injured, the law allows you to sue the person or entity responsible for causing the death of your family member. When they find that the alleged wrongdoer is responsible, you are entitled to collect monetary compensation for the damages you incurred. However, this is a very complicated process in which you will have to prove your legal claim. Sometimes, it will require the use of expert testimony to support your allegations against the tortfeasor, which is why it is important to hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
What are Georgia Wrongful Death Statues?
At common law, once the victim died so did the right to sue the responsible party which caused the victim’s death. In other words, if your family was killed in an automobile accident in which the driver of the vehicle was drunk, you could not sue this individual court, however, the person would face criminal punishment. However, in 1846 this situation was resolved with the passage of the Fatal Accidents Act, most commonly known as Lord Campbell’s Act. Under this Act, surviving family members could sue the responsible party to recover damages. Borrowing from this English law, today, every state has some type of statutory wrongful death statue, including the state of Georgia.
Furthermore, Georgia law limits who may bring an action for a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, under O.C.G.A Section 51-4-2(a), a surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, a child or children may bring a wrongful death claim against the wrongdoer when his or her conduct caused the deceased spouse or parent to be killed during a homicide. Similarly, those with parental powers as defined in O.C.G.A. Section 19-7-1 are entitled to recovery for the homicide of a child. Since each case is different with unique issues involved, it is best to discuss your potential claim with a Georgia wrongful death lawyer to learn how the law applies to your circumstances.
What are the possible damages recoverable in a Wrongful death lawsuit?
Under O.C.G.A. Section 51-4-1, spouses and children are allowed to recover, “full value of the life of the decendant, as shown by the evidence” means the full value of the life of the decendant without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decendant had he lived. The types of damages, however, will be determined by the fact finder, which is usually a jury and can include pecuniary, noneconomic and punitive damages. The most frequent types of damages awarded are lost wages or income the decendant would have earned if not killed, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are classified as those damages which the fact finder imposes upon the liable party due to their tortious behavior and to prevent him or her from committing future similar wrongful acts.
It is extremely important to consult with a Georgia wrongful death attorney immediately after the death of your loved one who was killed because of negligence. There is a Statue of Limitations deadline and if your case is not filed by the expiration of this time then you will lose your right to sue. Further, not all wrongful death lawsuits go to trial and the opposing party may offer a settlement. Whether or not it is in your best interest to enter into a settlement agreement will be discussed with your attorney. Although under many circumstances a settlement agreement will work best for all parties involved, our attorneys are skilled in negotiating offers which best suits the interest of our clients.
If you have recently lost a loved one and are considering filing a wrongful death suit, contact our office to speak with one of our Georgia wrongful death lawyers today, or visit us at our website today.