Losing someone you love in a fatal car accident is one of the most painful experiences you can go through. Unfortunately, it can also leave you with big expenses—and a lot of unanswered questions. But in Atlanta, the immediately family is protected if they lose someone in a cart accident. You have the right to a settlement to cover your costs and help your family remain financially stable. You need to talk to an Atlanta fatal car accident lawyer.
Our attorneys are here to help. We have worked with many families as they worked through this tragic event, and we have decades of experience forcing insurance companies to pay the full amount the family deserves. Most importantly, we will listen to you and your family, take your side, and work to make the experience as pain-free as possible. We never charge our clients money unless we win them a financial recovery.
Let us help you. We’ll give you a free consultation to get you started. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
What makes a fatal car accident different from other accidents?
In most ways, the law treats fatal accidents the same as other car accidents. The party who’s legally at fault must pay for all the injuries and vehicle damage that other people suffer. This is usually handled through insurance, and accident victims typically recover insurance money for medical expenses, lost income and other costs.
In a fatal accident, both costs and emotions are high. There are often medical bills for the victim, as well as a damaged or totaled car. At the same time, the family is facing funeral costs and, potentially, the loss of a breadwinner.
The law recognizes this and allows certain close family members to bring a wrongful death claim to compensate them for the loss of their loved one’s life, including financial losses such as medical and funeral bills.
Who is considered to be “at fault” in a fatal car accident in Atlanta?
Georgia is a “fault” state, which means that the driver who is “at fault” must pay for everyone’s injuries and damage. This is why “fault” is such an important factor in auto accident claims. Most of the time, accidents happen because a driver wasn’t as careful and attentive as he or she should have been. A driver who is texting instead of watching the road, or speeding, or weaving in and out of traffic without signaling is being careless, or “negligent.” When negligent drivers’ actions cause an accident, they are legally at fault.
When police come the scene of an accident, they look at the scene and the damage, and they talk to the drivers and other witnesses to determine whether a citation should be issued. Insurance companies review the police report and talk to the drivers to develop their own opinion of who is at fault. In fatal car accidents, this process can be complicated because one or more of the drivers is deceased and unable to advocate for him or herself. This is one reason to get a lawyer working on your fatal accident claim as soon as possible.
Who can make a fatal car accident claim?
Only certain people can make a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident in Georgia:
- The victim’s spouse
- If there is no spouse, the victim’s children
- If there is no spouse or children, the victim’s parents
- If there are none of the above relatives, the administrator of the victim’s estate
Georgia law also provides that if there is a spouse and children, the spouse must share a portion of the money from a wrongful death claim with the children.
Can I file a claim for the death of my life partner?
Unfortunately, Georgia state law does not allow a life partner to file a claim, regardless of sex or gender, unless the couple was legally married. However, the administrator of your partner’s estate can choose to give some or all of the settlement to you. If you are in this situation, it’s very important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
How much money can the family recover in a fatal car accident claim?
The exact amount of money you might receive in a wrongful death claim will depend on a number of factors, including the age of the deceased, his or her occupation, and the circumstances of the accident.
In general, a wrongful death claim will seek to recover BOTH the costs of the accident AND compensation for the tremendous loss involved. Typical types of damages you can recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Pain and suffering that the deceased experienced before passing
- Loss of future income
- Loss of the love and protection of a spouse, parent or child
- Pain and suffering of family members
- Loss of benefits such as retirement benefits
- Emotional distress
If the other driver at fault was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, family members may also be eligible for additional large punitive damage awards. This money can never begin to make up for the loss of a life. But for many people, the money they receive through a wrongful death claim is the only thing that enables them to pay funeral costs, keep a roof over their head, and mourn their loss without constant worries about money.
The insurance company already offered me money. How can a lawyer help me?
Insurance companies can sound comforting and helpful, but the money they offer you is almost never enough. Often, insurance companies try to take advantage of your grief and vulnerability by offering you far less money than you are really entitled to. They do this because they want to make a profit, even if it is at your expense. In some cases they may even claim that your loved one is partly to blame.
Our recommendation in this situation is simple: Never, ever take insurance company money or sign paperwork until you have talked to a lawyer. A lawyer understands insurance company tricks, and also knows that wrongful death claims involve complicated estimates and calculations that will take time. A lawyer will investigate the way the accident happened, and will also use experts to project the deceased’s lifetime earnings and place a dollar value on your loss. Then your lawyer can use this information to wrestle a fair settlement out of the insurance company. Seeing a lawyer is the single best thing you can do to protect your family’s future after a tragic car accident.
How do I know if we have a valid claim?
If you lost your spouse, parent or child in an accident, you should assume that you (or another family member) may have a claim. It can be hard to sort out what happened in a fatal accident and determine who is at fault. This is especially true because your loved one is no longer able to tell his or her side of the story. A good car accident attorney in Atlanta Georgia can listen to your story and look at police reports and other evidence to tell you whether you have a valid claim.
Because wrongful death claims are complicated to put together, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner a lawyer begins working on your case, the sooner you can get financial help.
Talk to an Atlanta Fatal Car Accident Lawyer for Free
A fatal car accident is a devastating loss, both emotionally and financially. You do not have to bear the costs on top of the pain. Our lawyers are ready to help you, and we won’t charge you anything unless we win money for you. Let us give you a free consultation to talk about your case. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.