If you have recently lost a loved one in a car accident, you may feel angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, or even helpless. In many cases, losing your loved one means more than just the grief and emotional pain of losing someone you care about deeply. It can also mean the loss of an income earner, a husband or wife, and a crucial member of the household. How could anyone possibly replace that? The truth is—no one can. But, asserting a legal claim can help you take steps to move forward financially.
Below, we will review your options and help you decide if you have the right to bring forward a wrongful death case.
When does a car accident trigger a wrongful death claim?
One simple word often answers this question: negligence. This legal term means that the other driver involved in the car accident was careless or reckless. That could be the result of drunk driving, failing to stop at a stop sign, or even just speeding.
To prove negligence in a wrongful death claim, you need to show three things:
- The other driver did something careless or reckless (they did not fulfill their “duty of care” toward other people on the road)
- Your loved one’s death was the direct result of that careless act or “breach of duty”
“Duty of care” means that every driver on the road must act in a reasonably safe way while they drive. When the driver does things like speed or drive drunk, they breach that duty. Another driver also violates that obligation when they drive distracted or ignore the rules of the road.
An easier way to decide if you have a valid claim is this:
If your loved one would have had a personal injury claim if they had survived, then chances are you have a wrongful death claim after their passing.
Who can bring a wrongful death claim?
Only certain people can start a wrongful death claim in Georgia. Those people include:
- Administrator of the estate
The list above must be used in order. That is, if a spouse survives the decedent, then they must bring the claim. If there is no surviving spouse, then the children can start the lawsuit. The list continues in that way until there is no close family left—then the individual’s estate administrator can sue on behalf of the estate.
A fatal car accident lawyer can offer surviving family members compassionate guidance throughout the claim process. Working with a legal expert will lift much of the stress associated with bureaucracy and give you space to mourn.
What kind of damages are available in a wrongful death claim?
The person who brings a wrongful death claim may be able to recover losses associated with their loved one’s death. These losses often include things like:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of care, companionship, or other intangible benefits that your loved one provided to you
- Medical expenses incurred before your loved one’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering experienced during the loved one’s death
Some of these damages may need to be claimed separately under Georgia law. Your attorney will able to walk you through this process.
Talk to an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer for Free
You don’t have to continue to suffer financially after losing a loved one in a car accident. Our lawyers can help you get through this challenging time. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.