Knowing that death is inevitable doesn't make the loss of a loved one any easier. Though losing people we love to old age or illness is heartbreaking, there's some comfort in knowing it's part of the natural order.
The same can't be said when a loved one is killed in an “accident” caused by negligent or intentionally harmful actions. Because these deaths are almost always preventable, they're particularly devastating for the victim's surviving family members.
If you lost a loved one as a result of someone else's carelessness or maliciousness, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses related to their untimely death.
Why Consider Legal Action After a Loved One's Wrongful Death
A profound injustice occurs whenever someone is killed by another person's negligence. Though filing a wrongful death lawsuit can never fill the hole left by your loved one's absence, it still serves a powerful purpose by holding the at-fault party financially accountable for their actions. This helps ensure your family is taken care of the way your loved one would have wanted.
Georgia allows for two types of wrongful death claims: one to determine “the full value of the life of the deceased” and another to compensate for financial losses incurred as a result of the death. The first type of claim lets you seek damages such as the lost wages and benefits your loved one would have earned, as well as the loss of care, love, guidance, and companionship they would have provided; while the second type lets you pursue compensation for their final medical expenses, funeral and burial (or cremation) costs, and the physical pain and suffering they endured prior to death.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Cases
Any type of personal injury accident can be fatal under the right—or, rather, wrong—circumstances. Common types of personal injury incidents include:
- Car accidents
- Truck crashes
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Food poisoning incidents
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Defective products
- Premises liability accidents, such as slips and falls
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Boating and recreation accidents
If someone you love was killed in an accident caused by someone else, it's important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
The option to file a wrongful death lawsuit isn't available to just anyone. In Georgia, filing eligibility is limited to only a handful of individuals:
- The victim's surviving spouse, who must also represent the interests of the couple's children under the age of 18
- Adult children
- The deceased's parents or a personal representative
In most cases, you have just two years from the date of your loved one's passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you fail to take legal action within this time frame, you lose the ability to seek a legal and financial remedy for your wrongful death claim. However, when a loved one is killed in a personal injury accident, it's important to take action sooner, rather than later—even if you're not in danger of missing the two-year deadline. The longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the more you run the risk of crucial evidence being lost or contaminated. Don't let this happen to you and your family.
If You Think You Have a Wrongful Death Case, We Can Help
A wrongful death settlement or financial award can never replace your lost loved one, but it can soften the financial blow to your family and help balance the scales of justice. At Van Sant Law, our skilled wrongful death attorneys have extensive experience helping victim's recover much-needed compensation. Contact us online today or call our office directly at 404.991.5950 to schedule a free initial consultation to find out how we can help with your case.