When someone close to you dies because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, you might have a claim for financial damages. Since you are already struggling with your loss, you might not know how to get the right attorney who can go after the guilty party for your loved one’s wrongful death.
The Traits of a Good Wrongful Death Attorney
Find a lawyer who treats you with dignity and compassion. Your wrongful death attorney needs to care about you and your family. You are already grieving, so you do not need to hire a lawyer who makes you feel worse than you already do.
Make sure that the lawyer has handled many personal injury claims, including wrongful death cases. Wrongful death claims often involve high dollar amounts, which means that any insurance companies involved will have the motivation to defend aggressively.
This is not the time to go with someone who has little, if any, experience handling personal injury cases. The person who handled your divorce, wrote your will, or took care of your traffic ticket is unlikely to have the expertise in wrongful death claims that you and your family deserve. You need to find a wrongful death attorney.
Who Can Benefit from a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
When an adult dies due to another person’s negligence, his or her surviving spouse and children can be the legal beneficiaries for any wrongful death claim. When a child dies because of someone’s wrongful act, the deceased child’s surviving spouse, child, or parents (if there are no such survivors) can recover financial damages for their losses.
If there are no individuals with the legal right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file the action. The estate can file a claim or a lawsuit seeking damages for the final medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and other reasonable expenses that arose from the injury and death. You can find a wrongful death attorney to assist you in these matters.
How Much a Wrongful Death Settlement Is Worth
The amount that you can recover in the settlement of your wrongful death claim will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation. For example, if your spouse was a high wage-earner, you will have a greater loss of financial support than if your spouse did not have a job. In addition, if your close loved one suffered or the defendant’s conduct was outrageous, facts like those can increase the amount of the financial recovery.
Georgia allows the legal beneficiaries to recover damages for the full value of the life of the decedent. These damages can include both economic and noneconomic losses.
One type of economic loss is the total amount of money that the deceased person was likely to have earned but for his untimely death. The value of the employment benefits that the decedent would have earned on the job is also part of the wrongful death claim.
The value of a human being is much more than merely the paycheck that person brings home. Examples of intangible losses that can be added to the wrongful death claim, depending on the facts of your case, include the loss of:
- Advice and counsel
- Services, like taking care of the household
You might have additional damages that a wrongful death attorney can pursue for you and your family.
What We Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case
We must show that the defendant is responsible for the death of your loved one. Most wrongful death claims are for negligence. We have to prove all four of these elements to hold someone accountable for the loss of your close relative.
- Duty of care. The defendant must have owed your deceased loved one a duty of care. Let’s say that the fatal injury came from a car crash. All drivers have a responsibility to obey the traffic laws.
- Breach of that duty. It is negligence when someone fails to live up to the standard of a legal duty of care. If the defendant was, for example, driving while under the influence of drugs, he violated the duty of care to obey the traffic laws.
- Causation. The careless behavior must be the thing that caused the injury. If the defendant’s negligence of operating a motor vehicle while on drugs caused the crash, the facts satisfy the causation element of a negligence case.
- Measurable harm. There must be quantifiable damages as a result of the careless behavior. Physical injuries are an example of measurable harm.
With all four factors proven, the defendant is liable for the wrongful death of the decedent.
At S. Burke Law, we treat our clients like family. We provide compassionate legal services while working tirelessly to get you all the compensation you deserve. If you’re wondering how to find a wrongful death attorney attorney, call us at (404) 842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.