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 immediate 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 a fatal car accident attorney in Atlanta.
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 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
How an Atlanta Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If your loved one was the victim of a fatal car accident lawyer, you are likely devastated by the loss. Your grieving process can make it difficult to gather all the information needed to support a fatal car accident claim. An experienced fatal car accident lawyer in Atlanta can help you gather the information and fight for your right to compensation.
Here are some of the many ways a lawyer can assist you:
- Gathering eyewitness testimony
- Gathering testimony from medical professionals
- Investigating the crash details
- Obtaining medical charts
- Calculating what you might receive in compensation
- Representing you in court if necessary
Georgia is a “comparative negligence” state. This means that if your loved one was found to be responsible for a percentage of the accident, the amount you can receive in compensation is lowered by that percentage. For example, if they were deemed to be 10% at fault for the accident, the compensation would then be reduced by 10% of the monetary total.
This can be a difficult computation to make. It is important to consult an experienced attorney to help determine the likelihood of fault percentage ahead of time.
What to Do After Your Loved One Has Been Involved in a Car Accident
The first step when your loved one has been involved in a fatal car accident is to contact an Atlanta fatal car accident attorney to help you through this harrowing process. You will need someone by your side to navigate the next steps in the legal process. If your loved one is or has been involved in a fatal car accident, try to take these first steps to ensure the strongest legal case possible in the months to come:
- Contact a wrongful death or car accident lawyer.
- Get the names and information of other parties involved in the crash.
- Do not admit fault in your statement.
- Preserve evidence of the crash.
- Request that the coroner performs an autopsy (if not automatically conducted) and be sure that you or your lawyer obtains a copy of the autopsy report.
- Assume responsibility for the estate, if you are the next of kin or partner of the deceased.
How to Prove Fault
Proving fault in an automobile accident can be difficult to do, especially since (as mentioned earlier) Georgia is a comparative negligence state. A car accident lawyer can help you build a case that would demonstrate the fault of the other driver or responsible party. In general, fault in car accident cases considers:
- The other driver did not demonstrate reasonable caution while operating a motor vehicle.
- This negligence was the reason for the wreck.
- The other driver’s negligence caused the death of your loved one.
- That your loved one’s death has negatively affected you and your family.
What Will Happen After I File a Claim?
Many individuals wish to know what will happen in the aftermath of filing a claim. This can be a confusing and stressful process. This is likely what will happen during and after the process of filing a claim:
- Discussions with your retained lawyer. Your lawyer will ask you questions to determine what happened in the accident that caused your loved one’s death. Your lawyer is trying to gather information about the cost of your medical bills, loss of needed income, and your personal pain and suffering, and while this can be painful to consider, it is necessary in building a solid case.
- Work with your attorney to gather evidence. Your attorney will need to work for you to gather the necessary information and build your case. Try to be responsive to move the process along.
- Your attorney will communicate with the defendant/the defendant’s legal counsel. In this phase, your attorney will communicate the evidence that has been collected and inform the defendant’s team of the compensation you are seeking. Then the defendant will have an opportunity to respond to your claims and will likely negotiate a settlement.
- If a settlement cannot be reached your attorney will take your case to trial. If a case goes to trial, your case will be presented before a judge. In this phase, your attorney will fight for your right to compensation for your loss.
- Receive the settlement payout. Once the judge has come to a ruling, you will receive your settlement payout in the following weeks or months.
How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Cost?
When you retain a lawyer, they will discuss their fee structure with you before you retain them. Many lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning that if you win your case, they get paid; if you do not, you do not pay for their services. Usually, lawyers receive a portion of the settlement for their services.
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 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.
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, 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 the police come to 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.
If the Insurance Company Has 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 I 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 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 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.