Ask a Wrongful Death Lawyer Who’s Qualified to File a Claim

As any wrongful death lawyer is well aware, death is a painful experience. Knowing that a loved one died due to someone’s negligence could make the pain worse. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to bring them back.

Thankfully, the law enables the victim’s surviving relatives to receive justice. The civil claims brought against the defendant are known as wrongful death claims. A Smyrna wrongful death lawyer can help you throughout the process of documenting your claim.

Continue reading to learn more about who may file a wrongful death claim.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Georgia law, death is wrongful when another person or entity causes it. A person has committed wrongful death if they kill another person. The majority of wrongful deaths are the result of careless behavior. A personal representative or the surviving members of the decedent’s family may bring civil lawsuits against the defendant.

The goal of the civil justice system is to make up for the unfortunate death of a loved one by compensating the remaining family members. Therefore, the claimant may ask for money to cover various damages, such as mental distress, medical expenses, and lost wages.

Who Is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Smryna, Georgia?

Only a few people are permitted by Georgia law to file a wrongful death action.

  • Spouse of the Deceased at Time of Death

If the victim was married, their spouse is the first to be able to file a wrongful death claim. The spouse may also represent any children of the deceased who are under the age of 18 in the lawsuit. The spouse is entitled to at least a third of the total cash award from the wrongful death claim, regardless of the outcome.

  • The Deceased’s Parents

Any living parents may file the claim if the deceased person was not married, did not have a surviving spouse, and had no children.

  • Estate Representative

A chosen executor of the decedent’s estate may also initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Any monetary awards will be given to the dead person’s estate and their surviving next of kin.

Some people are not eligible to file a wrongful death claim. They are:

  • Siblings are only allowed permitted to sue through estate representatives
  • Grandparents or grandchildren
  • Aunties and uncles

What Damages Can Eligible Surviving Family Members Receive?

If you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, you may be able to seek damages for the victim’s injuries and suffering before their death and the losses you suffered. A Smyrna wrongful death lawyer can assist you in determining the kind of damages you may be able to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The available compensation includes:

  • Funeral Costs

It covers burial and funeral expenses.

  • Medical Expenses

If your loved one received emergency or hospital care before their death, you would receive money to pay for their medical bills or recover what you spent.

  • Loss of Financial Support

If the victim made financial contributions to the family’s income, you may be entitled to compensation for the money lost due to their death and any future income you would have received from them.

  • Loss of Emotional Support

If you lost a loved one, whether you were the decedent’s spouse, child, or parent, you may be entitled to financial compensation. These damages include loss of companionship, parental direction, and love and affection.

  • Pain and Suffering

You might be able to get compensated for your loved one’s suffering if they were in a lot of physical or emotional pain before they passed away. You may also claim pain and suffering if their death brought you severe grief, mental distress, and trauma.

What Should a Family Do After the Loss of a Loved One?

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be difficult when you’re grieving. However, if you want to recover compensation, there are actions you must take immediately.

  • Gather Evidence

It’s important to have proof showing the at-fault party was negligent. Therefore, you must compile evidence showing how the other part’s carelessness. This proof includes the police report, medical records, witness statements, etc.

  • Negotiations

Usually, the accused party may make you an out-of-court settlement offer. If you turn down the offer, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. However, you can accept the payment if you believe it is fair.

  • Hire a Smryna Wrongful Death Lawyer 

Also, hire a Smryna wrongful death attorney. Usually, it is best to do this before commencing the claims process. The lawyer can help you gather the required evidence and negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party.

What Must Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?

These elements must be present for a wrongful death case to proceed and have a strong chance of success:

  • Duty of Care

This indicates that the defendant owed the deceased the duty to exercise reasonable care. An example is a driver’s duty to obey traffic rules or avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doctors also owe patients a duty of care.

  • Breach of Duty of Care

It would help if you ascertained that the defendant breached the duty of care they owed to the deceased through specific actions. For instance, a driver who operates a vehicle while impaired breached their duty of care.

  • Causation

You must demonstrate that the defendant’s action directly caused the deceased person’s death.

  • Damages 

Finally, you must show how the defendant’s action affected you and the losses you suffered.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Georgia

A wrongful death claim must be submitted within two years of the decedent’s passing. The law regulating when to file a wrongful death claim is called the Statute of Limitations.

It starts counting from the day the person died, not the accident date. Also, in some cases, the Statute of Limitations may not start counting until you realize that a negligent action caused the victim’s death.

Contact a Smyrna Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

Don’t suffer in silence if a loved one dies due to another person’s carelessness. Ensure you seek compensation from the at-fault party. Start by consulting a wrongful death lawyer in Smyrna, Georgia, to discuss the viability of your wrongful death claim.

At Jamie Ballard Law, we have assisted surviving family members in bringing wrongful death lawsuits for years. We are skilled, experienced, and prepared to assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve.

Money cannot replace a life lost. However, we believe it can aid surviving family members in paying bills and moving on with their lives. So call us right away to schedule a free consultation with our injury lawyer in Smyrna, Georgia.