The unexpected loss of a family member is even more tragic when their death is caused by someone else’s reckless or deliberately malicious behavior.
The understanding attorneys at The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. work to help survivors in Georgia cope with their new circumstances. In settlement negotiations and at trial, we advocate for our clients to receive compensation that allows them to settle their loved one’s affairs and find a measure of justice for their wrongful death.
Respected Georgia Attorney Pursues Justice for Victims of Negligence or Violence
A representative of a decedent’s estate may have a valid claim for a wrongful death lawsuit if the death was a direct result of another person’s or organization’s negligent or intentional actions.
Our law firm may represent you and your family if you lost a loved one due to any of the following causes:
A fatal car accident may qualify for a wrongful death claim if it can be proven that the death was caused by an accident that occurred as a result of the other driver breaking a law or participating in another negligent act.
Examples of this include:
- Distracted driving such as phone use while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving over the speed limit
- Failing to yield, running a red light, failing to stop at a stop sign
- Driving without a valid driver’s license
A driver whose negligence is determined to be the cause of an accident can be held accountable for wrongful death if that accident directly caused the death of a person.
All of the negligent actions mentioned above may also cause a commercial truck driver to be held liable for wrongful death. However, there are more ways that a truck driver could be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit due to the strict rules and regulations that govern truck driving.
Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles because trucks are much larger and pose more danger to other vehicles on the road.
If your loved one died in a truck accident, you may have a wrongful death claim if you can prove that the driver:
- Was not attentive while driving
- Was driving while fatigued
- Was not up to date on all truck maintenance
- Did not properly and safely secure the cargo in their truck
Motorcyclists are at a much higher risk of death in accidents due to their lack of protection, and as a result, motorcycle accidents often result in fatalities. Although motorcyclists may be fatally injured in an accident that they might have survived had they been in car, the at-fault driver can still be held accountable for their negligent actions if they caused the death of the motorcyclist.
If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may have an eligible wrongful death claim if you can prove that the driver of the other vehicle:
- Was breaking traffic laws such as running a red light or stop sign
- Was changing lanes illegally
- Failed to yield
- Was side-swiping
- Was distracted while driving
- Was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol drunk
Aviation accidents are not usually random accidents – they are generally caused due to human negligence similar to other heavy machinery accidents. Most aviation accidents can be traced to:
- Inadequate pilot training
- Negligent actions by the pilot
- Error from the air traffic controller
- Defects in the airplane design or in the manufacturing of the parts
- Improper mechanic work
- Overdue or flawed maintenance
If you can prove one of these things, you may have a wrongful death claim. The hard part here is obtaining the proof in the first place. These cases are not simple, especially when you’re trying to sue a major airline.
You’ll need an experienced Americus personal injury lawyer to help you gather and make sense of the evidence.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may be fatal in some cases. In order for a TBI-related death to qualify for a wrongful death claim, you will first need to consider the situation in which the traumatic brain injury occurred. It may be an auto accident, a fall down the stairs, an assault, or something else.
In all cases, you will need to prove that another person or entity acted with negligence or malice and that their actions directly led to the fatal brain injury.
Defective or Dangerous Product
When a product is dangerous or defective, its use can cause the unexpected death of a consumer. These cases, like aviation accident deaths, are very involved and require an experienced attorney on your side. To prove wrongful death at the hands of a dangerous or defective product, you will likely need to get evidence from and go to bat against a major company–this is no small task.
A manufacturing defect may have caused the death, or there may be an unsafe product design, or the item may not have been checked by quality control. In other cases, the product may be designed and made correctly, but may not have accurate or safe instructions or safety warnings, making the product dangerous.
If you can prove that the company’s negligence caused a deadly product which caused the death of your loved one, you will have a wrongful death claim.
Lack of Proper Security
Without proper security, preventable crime can result in the heartbreaking death of an innocent victim. Private property such as bars, stores, restaurants, train stations, apartment complexes, and other common areas that people frequent could be the site of a deadly attack, and if you can prove that those sites didn’t have adequate security, you may be able to bring forth a wrongful death claim.
This is another type of case that you’ll need quality representation for. An Americus wrongful death lawyer can help you gather evidence and prove that your loved one’s death was preventable by a negligent party who failed to provide proper security that could have saved a life.
Mesothelioma is a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. If your loved one died of mesothelioma due to exposure to the undisclosed presence of asbestos, you may have a wrongful death claim.
Some old buildings in and around Americus still have original asbestos from when it was legal and commonplace to use it in construction, but businesses have a responsibility to make its presence known to guests. If your loved one was not warned that they would be exposed to asbestos and they then died of mesothelioma, that could be wrongful death.
Medical malpractice may be the cause of wrongful death if your loved one died because of a mistake or negligent act done by a healthcare professional. Healthcare providers have a responsibility to do no harm to patients, so if they made a medical error, or failed to take proper action while treating a patient and the patient dies, they could be held liable.
These cases require an experienced attorney as they involve gathering complicated evidence, the use of experts, and the resources to go up against big healthcare corporations.
In Georgia, the death of an unborn or stillborn child can, in some cases, qualify for a wrongful death claim. These cases are extremely complex and require an experienced wrongful death attorney. If the situation involved the wrongful death of the mother and unborn child or an accident or attack involving the mother that led to the loss of the unborn child due to the negligence or malice of another’s actions, there may be a case.
The death of a stillborn or newborn child may have occurred due to a birth injury that was caused by or could have been prevented by a healthcare professional, which could also qualify for a wrongful death claim in some cases. Reach out to us to get more case-specific information about this type of wrongful death claim.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If your loved one was killed or passed away as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you will be eligible to file a wrongful death claim if you can prove that malice or negligence by the nursing home staff occurred, and that the death resulted from those actions.
If your loved one was assaulted and passed away from their injuries, you may have a wrongful death claim if you can prove that the assault occurred, and that the injuries from the assault caused their death.
While it’s well-known that you can press charges and have a criminal case for murder, some aren’t aware that you can also file a wrongful death claim for murder. You will need to prove that the murderer is guilty of killing your loved one, and can recover compensation from them for the life they took from your loved one.
Our thorough understanding of Georgia wrongful death laws enables us to skillfully handle all legal aspects of your case and to seek the remedy you deserve. Those laws set a time limit to pursue a wrongful death claim, so it is essential you seek the legal help you need as early as possible.
Difference Between an Estate Claim and a Full Value of Life Claim
There are two types of claims that can be filed following the wrongful death of a person. The first is a full value of life claim (which is a traditional wrongful death claim) and the second is an estate claim.
A full value of life claim is brought by the surviving family members of the deceased to gain compensation for the life taken from their loved one.
An estate claim, which is a different claim under Georgia law, is a claim brought by the executor of the deceased’s estate, and essentially functions like a posthumous personal injury claim. An estate claim sues for similar things that a personal injury case would – lost wages, medical bills, etc.
The compensation from a full value of life (wrongful death) claim goes to the family of the deceased, while the compensation from an estate claim goes to the estate of the deceased. If you aren’t sure which claim you should file, reach out to our Americus wrongful death lawyers to get more information and legal advice.
Important Things to Know About Georgia Wrongful Death Claims
Let’s go over the most important things to know about filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
1. What Qualifies as Wrongful Death
First, you need to know what qualifies as wrongful death in Georgia. The person whose death is in question must have died as a direct result of the negligent, reckless, or malicious actions of another person or entity.
2. Who May File the Claim
Second, you need to know who can file the claim. In Georgia, the surviving family members of the deceased person may file a wrongful death claim to gain compensation for the loss of life of the deceased.
Family members who are eligible to file the claim include the surviving spouse, then surviving children, then the parents or guardians of the deceased, in that order. If none of those people exist, then an executor of the estate may be eligible to file in some situations.
3. Deadline to File
Third, you need to know the deadline to file the claim. The statute of limitations on wrongful death cases requires that you file a claim within two years of the accident that caused the death of the person. You must file within this window or you may lose your chance to file.
The exception to this deadline is in cases like a death due to mesothelioma, where the exposure to asbestos was unknown at the time, but later caused an illness that resulted in the person’s death. In cases like this, contact us as soon as you are aware of a need to file a wrongful death case and we will try to help you file.
4. Division of Verdict/Settlement
Lastly, you need to understand how the settlement will be divided. Under Georgia law, the compensation from a wrongful death case will be evenly distributed between the spouse and the children of the deceased.
This comes with a caveat: if there are multiple children, the spouse must receive at least one-third of the settlement, and then the remaining amount will be divided among the children.
Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
There are several types of damages you could potentially recover in a wrongful death case.
Economic damages are reimbursements for financial outcomes associated with the death. This could include medical bills associated with the accident or assault that caused the death, lost income from the deceased that usually supported the family, and funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages seek to compensate the family of the deceased for the intangible losses associated with the death of their loved one. This could include the loss of the value they brought to their loved ones’ lives, and the full value of their life, which seeks to compensate for the life they could have lived but did not get the chance to.
Caring Counselor Seeks Compensation for Grieving Families
The dedicated attorney at The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. pursues justice for wrongful death victims.
We understand the profound impacts of the loss of a loved one, which is why we devote substantial resources to every wrongful death case we take.
If you have lost a family member due to someone’s negligent or reckless actions, call us at (229) 349-6291 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Americus wrongful death lawyer.