Losing a loved one is always painful, but it’s especially difficult when the loss was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or malicious intent. Not only are you suffering emotionally, but you may also be struggling with medical and funeral expenses or unable to pay bills due to a loss of income your family relied upon. When you need a wrongful death attorney in Atlanta to hold responsible parties accountable and fight for fair compensation, The Fitzpatrick Firm has the knowledge, experience, and passion for the justice you deserve.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death refers to untimely death caused by careless action, negligence, or even malicious intent. Often, a personal injury case that results in death will be considered a wrongful death case. A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the surviving spouse, surviving family members, or the heirs of the deceased, or the representative of the estate against the individual, organization, or corporation deemed responsible. However, proving this claim is challenging as it requires proof that the defendant acted in such a way to cause the fatal injury and that it could have been prevented or avoided had they exhibited proper behavior in the situation.
Wrongful death claims can also result from criminal misconduct resulting in a fatal injury. Because civil court cases are considered separate from criminal court, a suit can be brought against the offender even if they were already acquitted of wrongdoing by a jury.
If your wrongful death lawsuit has been acquitted by a jury and you wish to pursue punitive damages in a criminal court, contact an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer. The surviving family members deserve justice and restitution – a wrongful death attorney can help deliver it.
Common Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Under Georgia law, a wrongful death occurs in cases in which the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from a product that has been defectively manufactured. In other words, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a result of the legal fault of another person or entity.
A wrongful death lawyer can help you decide whether or not you have grounds to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. You may have a wrongful death claim if your circumstances surrounding the fatal accident involve:
- Car accidents involving drunk drivers
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Assault or other crime resulting in death
- Work-related accidents
- Premises liability
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Georgia?
Georgia law dictates that immediate family members including the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. Also, a representative of the estate acting on behalf of the family, such as an executor, or a wrongful death lawyer, can bring a claim forward.
Timeline to File a Wrongful Death Claim
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one and you wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, you must adhere to Georgia law statute of limitations. In most cases, Georgia law states that wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of the victim’s death.
It’s important to note that the two-year timeline can be suspended in certain circumstances, including if the death was a result of a crime, or when the deceased person’s estate had not been probated. It may be best to seek a free legal consultation from a wrongful death lawyer to see if you can still file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
Types of Wrongful Death Compensation
Georgia’s wrongful death law has been referred to as the “noblest statute in Georgia.” It places a high value on life. In Georgia, where a person or entity takes a person’s life, the party at fault must pay “the full value of the life.”
Economic Damages Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim
When establishing economic damages, plaintiffs should work with an experienced wrongful death attorney that can present the family’s financial loss on verifiable data with the support of expert witnesses. Wrongful death compensation includes many different types of financial losses the family suffered due to the victim’s death. A wrongful death lawyer can help you and your family qualify for the maximum amount of economic recompense.
There are a variety of factors that can affect the damages awarded or settlement offered in your wrongful death case, including:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits, such as a pension, social security income, or health insurance
- Medical bills and expenses
Non-Economic Damages Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim
Establishing a monetary amount for a loved one’s death is impossible. However, a wrongful death lawyer can present to a judge and jury the extent of desolation, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and inconvenience the family must endure due to their loss. A wrongful death attorney will help you through this traumatic time and ensure that you’re taken care of in court.
Additionally, the jury may award the plaintiff punitive damages. These are designed to punish the defendant for particularly egregious or heinous behavior and serve as a deterrent for future actions. An Atlanta wrongful death lawyer can help you and your family get the justice you deserve by helping to file a wrongful death claim and by representing you in court.
Why You Need an Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney
Fighting against insurance companies and corporations to get justice is challenging – especially so when you’re experiencing the pain of a loved one’s death. These institutions will do whatever it takes to avoid paying out a fair settlement. Having an experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyer who can investigate the case, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and fight for justice is necessary to secure a more favorable outcome.
Proving Negligence or Malice in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit can be particularly challenging because there are three criteria that must be met for a jury to award damages:
- Duty of Care refers to the behavior that should have been followed. For example, a driver has the duty of care to be sober and drive in accordance with the law or a doctor has the duty to provide reasonable action to care for a patient.
- Failure to Attend Duty of Care means that there must be clear proof that the defendant failed to act in a way to prevent or avoid injury. For example, a doctor who failed to read a patient’s history and missed an allergy, then exposed the patient to the allergen would be committing a breach of duty.
- Death Caused By Failure to Attend Duty of Care means that the individual died specifically because the defendant failed to attend the duty of care.
The evidence presented to the jury should prove that the wrongful death claim falls within all three categories of negligent actions. An Atlanta wrongful death lawyer will work with you to find evidence and support your wrongful death claim so you get the maximum amount of recovered damages that you’re entitled to.
Choose the Trusted Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyers at the Fitzpatrick Firm, LLC
When it comes to wrongful death cases, it’s important to have an experienced, passionate attorney on your side who can help you navigate the complexities of your case. While we strive to settle cases out of court in order to get compensation to our clients quickly, we won’t back down and aren’t afraid to litigate the case in front of a jury. Just as important as fighting for you, we’re also here to serve you. We are dedicated to being there for you during this traumatizing time and will advise you and guide you through the process of recovery.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death claims can be complicated, and an experienced wrongful death or personal injury lawyer can explain how the state's laws apply to your case. Call us or fill out the form below for a free case evaluation, a free consultation, or to get started.