If you have tragically lost a spouse, parent or child, you need to know that you have rights. You may be able to make a wrongful death claim that will pay for funeral costs, medical bills, your own mental suffering, and the income that your loved one would have earned. You need to talk to an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer.
Our attorneys are here for you. We have decades of experience and we know how to make the process as pain-free as possible—with a strong record of winning cases. Let us give you a free consultation to answer your questions and explain your rights. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
What is a “wrongful death”?
Wrongful death is a legal term for any fatality that was caused by someone’s intentional or careless behavior. Wrongful death claims are often based on “negligence.” Negligence means that someone wasn’t as careful as they should have been, and as a result, another person was injured or killed. Negligence is at the root of many deaths caused by car accidents and falls.
But a wrongful death can happen in many other ways. Some of them include:
- Defective construction
- Food contamination
- Medical malpractice
- Drunk driving
- Defective products
- Dangerous medical devices
- Nursing home neglect
- Criminal activity
- Unsafe prescription drugs
How is a wrongful death claim different than other types of injury claims?
Most injury claims are made by the injured person, and they seek to recover costs like medical bills and car repairs as well as wages lost due to missed days of work after the accident. But when the injuries are fatal, the injured person is no longer around to make a claim. The law recognizes this and allows certain close family members to bring a claim instead. Family members can also make claims for their own suffering.
Wrongful death claims are also different than many other injury cases because of their complexity. First, the deceased cannot serve as a witness to explain what happened. This can make it harder to determine who is at fault. Second, a wrongful death claim seeks to recover the value of the deceased’s life, and this is a complex calculation that requires input from experts.
Which family members can make a wrongful death claim in Atlanta?
In Georgia, only the closest relatives of the deceased can make a wrongful death claim. This means that:
- The spouse can make a claim.
- If there is no spouse, the children of the deceased can make a claim.
- If there is no spouse or children, the deceased’s parents can make a claim.
- If there is no spouse, children or parents, the estate of the deceased can make a claim.
Same-sex life partners can file wrongful death claims, but only if they were legally married to the deceased. Unmarried life partners cannot file the claim themselves, but they may be able to seek a share of the settlement from the administrator of the estate.
How much money can I recover in a wrongful death claim?
The amount of money you receive in a wrongful death claim depends on many factors, including the age of the deceased, their expected earnings, and the circumstances surrounding the death. In Georgia, you are eligible to recover 100% of the costs and expenses associated with their death, plus money to represent the loss of their income and future earnings. You are also entitled to recover for your own losses. This means that you may be able to recover money for:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased
- Your own pain and suffering as a result of losing a loved one
- Loss of your loved one’s love and protection
- Loss of the deceased person’s future income, including raises
- Loss of retirement and other benefits
- Emotional distress
In some cases, you may be eligible for even larger punitive damage awards. Courts award punitive damages to punish behavior that they want to discourage, such as drunk driving. Punitive damages can mean your case settles for far more than you expect. It’s not uncommon for wrongful death settlements to be in the millions of dollars.
We believe that money is no substitute for the life of someone you love. But we know that a sudden death in the family can cause financial stress on top of the grief, and these financial awards aim to keep your family on a firm financial footing as you try to rebuild your life.
The insurance company already offered me money. How can a lawyer help me?
Insurance companies are motivated by profits, and they know that wrongful death claims can be expensive. They will find any way to pay you less than your claim is worth. If you have already received and offer from the insurance company, it is almost certainly far less than the full amount you deserve under the law.
Car accident attorneys in Atlanta are trained to fight for your and maximize your settlement. At our law firm, we start every case with an investigation into how the death happened and who is responsible. This is important because sometimes insurance companies try to avoid paying by blaming the deceased. We review medical records and police reports, and we bring in experts who can estimate future earnings and put a dollar value on emotional injuries like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Then we go back to the insurance company with our evidence. That alone is often enough to make them offer significantly more money.
How do I know if I have a valid wrongful death claim?
If your loved one died and you feel like someone else might have been at fault, there’s a good chance you have a claim. There are many types of wrongful death claims, and some of them, like products liability cases, require investigation to determine whether your claim is valid. Never second guess yourself. Schedule a consultation with a good personal injury lawyer and let them use their professional experience to evaluate whether you have a claim.
When you’re dealing with an enormous loss, lawyers and the legal system may be the last thing you want to think about. But it’s best to see a lawyer as soon as possible. Wrongful death cases are complicated, and the longer you wait to get started, the longer you will have to wait for a financial recovery.
Talk to an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have spent decades helping the families of accident and injury victims recover money in wrongful death claims. We won’t ask you to pay us anything unless we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to help you decide whether you have a claim and what to do next. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your FREE consultation today.