The unexpected loss of a loved one can have serious emotional and financial consequences for surviving family members. Marietta wrongful death lawyer Norman Miller understands the complexity and challenges that arise in these unfortunate situations. If your family member’s death was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing, then you may have a wrongful death claim. At Miller Legal Services, we can help you pursue a wrongful death claim in anywhere throughout Georgia to help you seek the damages you are entitled to.What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or recklessness of another. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded the State of Georgia incurred costs for automobile accidents and wrongful death claims in the amount of 1.5 billion dollars. Surviving family members of the decedent may be entitled to monetary relief or damages if a wrongful death claim is determined to be meritorious. However, since state laws may vary in terms of what an individual may be able to recover, it is important to consult an experienced attorney in your state to assess your options.What are Some Causes of Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim can arise due to a wide variety of factors or incidents, such as the following:
- Car Accidents
- Drunk Driving
- Trucking Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Product Defects
- Medical Errors
- Employment Related Accidents
- Construction Related Accidents
- Recreational Accidents
- Unsafe Prescription Drugs
In order to assert a successful wrongful death claim under Georgia law, a plaintiff must be able to prove the following four elements:
- The decedent’s death was caused by the defendant either in whole or in part;
- The decedent’s death occurred as a direct result of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness;
- The decedent’s death has left surviving family members who have been adversely affected and are eligible to receive compensation; and
- The decedent’s death caused the survivors to suffer monetary damages.
Wrongful death claims are generally rooted in negligence. Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise reasonable care in a particular situation, and injuring another as a result. For example, if a doctor leaves an instrument in a patient’s body after an operation and this subsequently results in the patient’s death, then the patient’s surviving family members may have a valid wrongful death claim. This is because the doctor’s conduct arguably failed to meet the applicable standard of care, and this failure caused the patient’s death.What is the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations in Georgia for a wrongful death claim is two years, which begins to run on the date of death. For example, if an individual was injured in a car accident that later proved to be fatal, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the death as opposed to the date of the accident.Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, the Wrongful Death Act limits the parties that can file a wrongful death suit to the following:
- The spouse of the decedent;
- If there is no spouse, then to the decedent’s children;
- If there is no spouse or children, then to the living parent(s) of the decedent; and
- If there is no spouse, child, or living parent, then to the administrator of the decedent’s estate.
Therefore, under Georgia law, neither a sibling, aunt, uncle nor grandparent has the right to prosecute a wrongful death case.What Type of Compensation is Available for a Wrongful Death Claim?
The kinds of damages that plaintiffs can recover in a wrongful death claim vary depending on the circumstances of the individual case. However, factors in determining the full value of the life of the deceased may include: pain and suffering of the survivors; wages earned by the deceased; loss of companionship; funeral expenses; medical or other expenses that resulted from the injury and subsequent death; and emotional distress.Who Can Help?
Norman Miller is an experienced Marietta wrongful death attorney who will fight tirelessly for your rights to and help you pursue a fair settlement. Miller Legal Services is committed to providing you with all the necessary information to arm you to make the best decision for you and your family. If you’ve lost a loved one and think you may have a wrongful death claim, please call us at 770-284-3727 or contact us online for a free and reliable consultation today.