If a loved one has died in a car accident, your immediate priority is to take care of your family and your emotional needs. Once you have had time to absorb the news, schedule a consultation with a good car accident lawyer who can advise you on recovering money for your loss.
Losing someone you love is always traumatic, and the news of a fatal car accident can overwhelm you with shock, grief, anger and other emotions. Soon, however, you may begin worrying about paying funeral expenses, hospital bills and keeping a roof over your head. If you lost a close family member, you may be eligible for money designed to make up for these costs, plus money to help offset the financial impact of your loss.
What is a “wrongful death” claim?
“Wrongful death” is a type of insurance claim or lawsuit that seeks to replace the financial loss of losing a member of your family. The insurance industry sometimes calls this the “value of their life.” Of course, a human life can never be replaced with money, but a wrongful death claim acknowledges that a terrible loss has occurred and tries to somewhat make up for the impact that the loss has had on loved ones.
In a wrongful death claim, you may recover money for these types of losses:
- The pain and suffering you have felt because of losing someone you love
- The loss of love and protection from the deceased person
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering before they died
- Loss of future income
- Loss of retirement benefits
If your loved one’s accident was caused by a drunk driver, you may also be eligible for punitive damages. Punitive damages are additional money that courts award to punish undesirable behavior. By allowing punitive damages in drunk driving accidents, Georgia sends a message that people who drive drunk will face serious consequences.
Can I file a wrongful death claim?
Only certain very close family members can file wrongful death claims in Georgia. The following people are allowed to file a wrongful death claim:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- If there is no surviving spouse, the children of the deceased
- If there is no spouse and no children, the parents of the deceased
- If the person who passed is not survived by children, parents or a spouse, then their estate may file the claim
If you are not one of these relatives, you cannot recover money for wrongful death or for your own grief, even if you depended on the deceased for financial support or are suffering mentally because of the loss.
How much money will I receive in a wrongful death claim?
The amount you receive depends on a variety of factors, including the age and career of the person who passed, the amount of medical expenses and suffering they had before their death, and the family they left behind.
One thing is sure: the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident doesn’t really have your best interest in mind. Their main goal is to make money for the insurance company, usually by settling claims as cheaply as possible. They may even try to blame your late family member for their own accident, and your loved one is no longer around to give the other side of the story. This means that without legal help, you may be persuaded to accept an insurance company offer that is far less than you should be entitled to.
If you want to receive the maximum possible amount in a wrongful death claim, it helps to hire a well-respected car accident law firm in Atlanta. A good car accident law firm has years of experience dealing with insurance companies and the way they try to deny and minimize claims. Furthermore, a lawyer has access to accident reconstruction experts who know how to prove the cause of an accident, even if there were no good witnesses. Hiring a fatal accident lawyer means that you have time to grieve and make plans for the next phase of your life, while someone else handles the insurance company and possibly a lawsuit.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have been helping families recover for wrongful death for decades. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you. Let us give you a FREE, no obligation consultation to explain how we can help you. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.