The loss of a loved one can turn your entire world upside down. Motor vehicle accidents are known for producing fatal injuries, and they continue to be a significant cause for concern across Brookhaven and the entire state of Georgia. Fortunately, your family may be able to hold the liable party accountable for your loved one’s fatal car accident injuries.
Whether you are filing a claim with the insurance company or bringing your case to court, you can seek justice and compensation from the individual or entity responsible for causing your family member’s death.
A reputable Brookhaven fatal car accident lawyer can help you through these difficult times. Working with an attorney could be your best opportunity to recover maximum restitution for your family’s suffering. Contact our team for a free consultation today to learn more about how the claims process works and who could be sued for your loved one’s death.
Reasons Why Fatal Car Accidents Happen
Your fatal car accident lawyer in Brookhaven, GA, will need to figure out how the accident happened so we can identify the liable parties. Causes of fatal car accidents often include the following:
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Lost cargo loads
- Distracted driving
- Hazardous road conditions
- Unsecured road construction zones
- Driving while fatigued
- Failure to stop at a traffic light or stop sign
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Aggressive driving
- Malfunctioning vehicle parts
- Reckless driving
Liability for Brookhaven Fatal Car Accidents
Once your fatal car accident attorney in Brookhaven, GA, figures out how the accident occurred, we will better understand who could be at fault. For example, in instances where negligent driving was the cause of your loved one’s death, we will know to examine the driver of the vehicle that hit your family member. We will search for evidence and damage that could establish liability.
In cases where dangerous roads caused the collision, government agencies, municipalities, road construction workers, and other third parties could share fault. If your loved one’s death was caused by malfunctioning or defective motor vehicle parts, manufacturers, distributors, designers, and safety inspectors could be responsible. Only a thorough investigation will uncover the truth.
How Fatal Car Accident Claims Work in Brookhaven
According to Georgia Code OCGA §51-4-1, you can pursue a wrongful death action for your loved one’s car accident when someone else is responsible for causing your family member’s fatal injuries. Another option is to file a survival action.
Survival actions are similar to wrongful death claims, with several exceptions. According to OCGA 9-2-41, survival actions are brought forward by the decedent’s personal representative. The action seeks compensation for the economic and non-economic damages the decedent experienced due to the liable party’s wrongful actions.
In other words, the survival action is filed on behalf of the deceased to pay for the damages they suffered before their death. In contrast, the remaining family can file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for the losses they experienced due to their loved one’s death.
Who Has the Right to File a Fatal Car Accident Lawsuit
According to Georgia wrongful death laws, only specific parties have the authority to pursue wrongful death actions. These parties include, in the following order:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving parent or parents
- The administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate
Nieces, nephews, grandparents, siblings, and other family members do not have the authority to file wrongful death claims. However, no matter who pursues the case, damages will be paid to the decedent’s next of kin if the wrongful death claim is successful.
You Have Limited Time to File Your Brookhaven Fatal Car Accident Claim
According to OCGA 9– 3–33, there is limited time to file your fatal car accident claim. The law allows a maximum of two years from the date of the decedent’s death before. Your fatal car accident lawyer will need to determine whether your case’s statute of limitations should be tolled (delayed).
For example, drunk driving could be considered a criminal offense if your loved one passes away. Therefore, the statute of limitations could be tolled for six years under OCGA 9 – 3–99. Then, once the criminal matter has been resolved, the two-year statute of limitations will commence.
The statute of limitations could be tolled for up to five years if the decedent’s estate was not probated. Once the decedent’s estate has been through probate, the statute of limitations will begin again. Your Brookhaven fatal car accident attorney can explain each of these situations in detail.
Compensation for Surviving Family Members
Surviving family members have the right to be compensated for the losses they experienced due to their loved one’s passing. These damages can be separated into categories known as economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages include monetary losses, such as lost income, household services, and employee benefits. You can also receive compensation for the decedent’s medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and could include the surviving family member’s loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, society, advice, protection, and support.
Punitive damages may be paid out at the court’s discretion in a fatal car accident claim. This is typically done only in cases where they find the defendant’s conduct grossly negligent or reprehensible.
Get Help from a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in Brookhaven Today
The claims process following a fatal car accident can be overwhelming. Having an experienced legal advocate fighting for your family’s rights could be your greatest opportunity to make the liable party pay. When you are ready to fight for justice but unsure how to get started with your claim, do not hesitate to contact a Brookhaven fatal car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options further.
A dedicated lawyer could help you through some of the most challenging times of your life. Learn more about the value of your claim and the steps you need to take to bring the liable party to justice when you contact our office for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. You can reach us through our quick contact form or phone to start working on your wrongful death claim as soon as today.