Wrongful death claims may help cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and the lost financial and emotional contribution of your loved one.
These claims can only be filed by certain persons and must be filed within a specific amount of time. The best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve is by working with an attorney.
An experienced Albany personal injury attorney from The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. is standing by to provide a risk-free, cost-free assessment of your case.
Read on to learn more about wrongful death in Georgia, and how your Albany wrongful death attorney can help you recover what you and your family deserve. Call (229) 349-6291 now for more information.
Difference Between an Estate Claim and a Full Value of Life Claim
Through Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act, the family or authorized party of the person who has passed can bring a claim for the “full value of the life of the decedent.”
This is also known as a “full value of life” claim, and it’s what many people think of when they refer to a “wrongful death” claim. In some cases, the administrator or executor of the deceased person’s estate can pursue the wrongful death claim.
In Georgia, the “wrongful death” (“full value of life”) claim is different from the “estate claim.” In an estate claim, the executor of the deceased person’s estate can recover compensation for expenses that the deceased could have sued for in a personal injury lawsuit had they not passed away.
The estate claim includes things like medical bills and lost wages. It includes all the damages that the deceased person incurred between the time of the accident that caused their injury and their time of death.
4 Things to Know About Georgia Wrongful Death Suits
1. What Qualifies
To be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, the deceased person must have been a victim of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. That person’s actions must have been the direct cause of the accident that led to the deceased person’s death.
2. Who Can File
The following parties are permitted to bring a wrongful death claim in Georgia:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- If there are no surviving spouses, then any surviving children may bring the claim
- When there are no surviving children, such as when the deceased was a child, the parents or guardians of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim
- (In some circumstances) The administrator/executor of the deceased person’s estate.
Connecting with an Albany wrongful death lawyer to discuss the unique facts and circumstances that led to the loss of your loved one will help determine your options.
3. Deadline to File
The amount of time you have to file your wrongful death claim is governed by the “statute of limitations,” which is essentially the expiration date for your lawsuit.
In Georgia, you generally have two years from the time of the accident to file your wrongful death claim. If the claim is not filed within this time, you may lose your ability to ever file and pursue compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one.
In some instances, the statute of limitations may be different. This includes situations where it might not be discovered that the loss of your loved one was due to a particular accident or incident.
For example, exposure to chemicals that lead to the development of a fatal illness may not be discovered as the cause of death for some time after illness or loss. The statute of limitations in some cases begins when the cause of death is discovered. In such cases, a wrongful death attorney can best advise you of your options.
4. How the Settlement/Verdict is Divided
Georgia law dictates that the settlement from your wrongful death claim will be paid out in equal shares among the surviving spouse and children.
However, the surviving spouse under the Georgia statute will receive at minimum one-third of the settlement, no matter how many children there are. If the child of the decedent is a minor, then the child’s guardian will be responsible for handling their share.
Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
The loss of a loved one in an accident that was someone else’s fault may entitle you to compensation in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
The economic damages associated with the loss of your loved one, sometimes called “tangible damages,” will generally include:
- Medical costs
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages and financial contribution
The economic damages in your wrongful death claim are those that are measured generally with bills and calculations. You’ll be entitled to coverage for any medical bills that resulted from the accident as well as related funeral expenses.
The most significant element of your wrongful death claim will generally be the money that the deceased person would have earned throughout the remainder of their working life. This amount is calculated without deductions for taxes and expenses.
Additionally, there’s the economic value of the services that your lost loved one provided to your household. This includes the value of domestic services like household chores and other contributions.
Your Albany wrongful death attorney will calculate the full amount of the economic damages associated with your wrongful death claim and present them to the insurance company in your claim, or to a judge and/or jury if it comes to that.
The non-economic damages associated with the loss of your loved one are also known as “intangible” losses. These damages recognize the value of the emotional contribution of your loved one to your household.
Non-economic damages include the value of the time that the decedent spent with you and your family and friends.
When a person dies prior to being able to experience such important life milestones, the value of their lost experiences is included in the “full value of life” recognized under Georgia law. These include establishing friendships and romances, completing school, starting a career, being married and having children, or watching one’s own children grow up.
Why You Should Hire Us as Your Albany Wrongful Death Attorneys
Attorneys at The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. have decades of combined experience in helping clients like yourself who have lost a loved one to a tragic accident.
One of the key benefits of working with an Albany wrongful death attorney is that we collect all evidence that is necessary to achieve victory on your claim or case and to prove your full damages.
We pursue maximum compensation.
Your experienced Albany wrongful death attorney will negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. This begins with collecting evidence to prove the full extent of your damages, which will generally include those forms of compensation that we explored above.
Measuring the future contribution of your loved one to your household through their working life and converting it into present value can be a complex and involved process.
It’s important to understand that insurance companies do not work for you; they work for profit. They increase profits by decreasing costs, with payments to injured persons being one of the primary costs to insurance companies.
The insurance company will deny your claim if they can and will pay as little as possible if they determine you deserve some amount in payment.
Your experienced wrongful death attorney from The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. knows how to accurately measure the complete damages to which you are entitled.
We’ll take your case to court.
If the insurance company does not arrive at a fair settlement that covers your complete damages, it’s necessary to file a lawsuit against them. While you might be concerned that filing a lawsuit is a difficult process that requires knowledge of your local court’s procedures and requirements, your attorney handles everything for you.
When you have been working with an experienced Albany wrongful death lawyer on your claim, you’ll have all the evidence necessary to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer ensures that evidence collected is from verified sources that can be used in court if necessary.
We’ll handle the entire process of your lawsuit, from the drafting and filing of your claim to negotiating with the insurance company to come to an out-of-court settlement before trial.
Sometimes, working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer is all it takes to get the insurance company to make a fair offer.
We provide support for you and your family.
With the Shrable Law Firm, P.C. on your side, you’ll have support and advocacy throughout every step of the process. If we take your case after your initial consultation, we’ll take over all the paperwork and evidence collection. We’ll help you schedule any follow-up appointments that might be necessary to collect evidence so you don’t have to worry about the logistics.
You’ll have only as much involvement as is absolutely necessary in the case, so that you can focus on managing your loss after the accident.
Also, you won’t have to worry about any phone calls and communications with the insurance company, as we handle all communications and negotiations.
If you have questions along the way, we are available to provide whatever answers we can.
Did you lose a loved one in an accident? The Shrable Law Firm, PC can help.
The sooner you have an Albany wrongful death attorney from The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. on your claim, the sooner you can rest assured that you will receive the full compensation you are entitled to.
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