Losing a loved one unexpectedly is a difficult time, and it is often followed by financial struggles in addition to emotional challenges. Even though money cannot replace your loved one, you and your family have the right to seek justice and hold those responsible for your loss accountable.
The Joe Durham Law Firm is here to help and offers all its legal resources to support you during this challenging period. If you are in need of a wrongful death lawyer in Tifton, GA, contact the Joe Durham Law Firm at 229-351-5320 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation today.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims seek compensation for a fatality caused by negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of a liable person or organization. Incidents that often lead to wrongful death claims in Tifton include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Accidents on construction sites
- Violent crimes, including homicide
- Mistreatment or neglect of nursing home residents
- Failure to diagnose serious medical conditions
- Road accidents involving tractor-trailers
- Car accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Accidents caused by product defects
There may be other actions that enable you to claim under Georgia’s laws. Seeking expert legal advice is crucial if you have lost a loved one in circumstances where a third party may be at fault.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In Georgia?
Relatives of a deceased person have the right to bring a claim. However, Georgia law specifies an order of precedence for who may bring an action. The first right to file a claim belongs to the surviving spouse of the deceased.
If there is no spouse, the decedent’s children can bring a claim. If there are no surviving spouses or children, then the parents of the deceased may initiate a claim. In the absence of any of these relatives, the right to bring the claim goes to the administrator of the decedent’s estate.
How Does A Surviving Family Member File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The initial stage in pursuing a wrongful death claim is to ensure that you are the rightful party to do so according to the aforementioned regulations – whether you are the decedent’s spouse, child, parent, or estate administrator.
The following steps in the legal process will be handled by your chosen attorney. Personal injury lawyers, such as those at the Joe Durham Law Firm, have significant experience in wrongful death claims and will assist you in initiating the case and seeking adequate compensation.
Is There A Limit On How Much You Can Sue For In A Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a wrongful death suit in Georgia, you have the right to seek compensation for the full value of the deceased’s life. This may include quantifiable damages such as medical and funeral expenses, estimated lost income and benefits, as well as less tangible factors like the deceased’s pain and suffering and the surviving relatives’ loss of companionship.
Georgia law allows for the recovery of all damages that arise from the deceased’s death, both economic and non-economic, in order to make the family whole again. A wrongful death attorney can help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Are There Time Limits For Filing A Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in Georgia, as per O.C.G.A. §51-4-1, begins from the date of the deceased’s death. It is crucial to seek legal counsel promptly following the death of a loved one, as the right to pursue legal action is time-limited.
Once the statute of limitations deadline passes, starting a lawsuit becomes considerably more difficult or even impossible. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Tifton, GA can explain the specific amount of time you have left to take legal action after examining the facts of your case.
It is essential to seek legal advice as there are factors that can affect the statute of limitations, and securing trustworthy legal advice promptly is crucial.
What Types Of Damages Are Sought In A Georgia Wrongful Death Case?
The statute covering wrongful death in Georgia allows survivors to seek damages covering the full value of the decedent’s life without any exceptions or deductions. Damages in a wrongful death case can include:
- Loss of future income
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering of the decedent
- Pain and suffering of surviving family members
- Loss of love, protection, and companionship
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of inheritance
Punitive damages may also be sought in appropriate cases.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are a form of damages in wrongful death cases that are not meant to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant for their actions. The court has the discretion to award punitive damages when they determine it is appropriate.
These damages are more likely to be awarded when the defendant caused the death intentionally, or when their negligence was particularly extreme. For example, DUI cases often involve punitive damages. Cases that result in high awards are usually due to the inclusion of punitive damages.
Punitive damages, unlike other damages, are not intended to compensate the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit. Instead, they are imposed to punish wrongdoing on the part of the defendant.
The court uses its discretion to award punitive damages when appropriate. Punitive damages are more likely when it is established that the defendant caused the death in question intentionally, or when the negligence or carelessness leading to the death was particularly extreme.
Punitive damages are frequently seen, for instance, in DUI cases. Most wrongful death cases that become newsworthy because of extremely high awards include punitive damages.
How Is Negligence Proved In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In broad terms, a wrongful death claim shares similarities with a personal injury claim, but it is pursued on behalf of someone who did not survive the injury or illness that resulted in the claim. To establish negligence in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must fulfill the same four key factors used in a personal injury case and prove the following:
To establish negligence in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care towards the deceased at the time of the incident leading to death.
Next, the plaintiff must provide evidence on how the defendant breached their duty of care towards the deceased. The breach can either be an act or a failure to act. The defendant’s actions, or lack thereof, are measured against how a reasonable person would have acted under similar circumstances.
Establishing a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the decedent’s death is crucial in this step.
The plaintiff must also prove that the decedent’s death was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty, and not by any other factor.
Wrongful death lawsuits are highly complex cases in Georgia civil courts, requiring the expertise of a highly-experienced personal injury firm. The legal obligations for filing such claims can be difficult for most laymen to fulfill, making the assistance of a good personal injury lawyer a necessity.
With the help of a skilled personal injury attorney, surviving family members will have an easier time launching and winning a wrongful death claim. If you are struggling with the sudden loss of a loved one, let the Joe Durham Law Firm handle your legal concerns, so you can focus on grieving and healing while we protect your legal rights.
How Long Does It Take For A Wrongful Death Case To Settle?
Wrongful death cases often settle before they go to trial, but this is not always the case. Each case is unique, and there is no standard timeline that applies to all wrongful death cases.
Can You Sue A Medical Provider For Wrongful Death?
It is possible to make a wrongful death claim if someone else is responsible for the death of your loved one. In cases where medical treatment is involved, it is not uncommon to sue healthcare providers, such as hospitals, doctors, or nurses.
Contact A Wrongful Death Lawyer In Tifton, GA Today!
This is a well-written and straightforward call-to-action to encourage individuals who have lost a loved one and believe their death was preventable to contact the Joe Durham Law Firm. The law firm focuses on civil litigation, including personal injury, professional negligence, and wrongful death cases.
The hotline 229-351-5320 is provided for individuals to call and schedule a free initial consultation.