Few things are more difficult to endure than a wrongful death. While taking a person’s life is almost always a crime, in certain cases a wrongful death lawsuit is preferable over criminal charges or may be an additional option. Having the life of a loved one cut short by someone else’s negligence is a dire situation. If you have endured this, it is possible to seek compensation.
A Stockbridge wrongful death accident lawyer can help you receive financial compensation in a wrongful death case. A top-rated personal injury law firm will have plenty of experience in wrongful death claims, working with you to build your case while being respectful of the grieving process. For diligent, compassionate help in your difficult time, rely on a wrongful death lawyer.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death cases may seem simple to explain, but what qualifies can be tricky. In personal injury law, a wrongful death claim is a personal injury claim made by the surviving family members against a person or entity that knowingly or negligently caused a loved one’s death.
While taking the life of another person is always a criminal act, criminal cases do not lead to compensation. Furthermore, a criminal case may be more difficult to prove and might not lead to the desired results. A civil personal injury case has a lower standard of proof, in that you simply need to show their actions caused harm, not that they broke the law.
Your best option when determining if your case qualifies is to speak to a wrongful death attorney. A law firm will be able to explain how to proceed and help you with your case. It is important to note that it is possible to seek a wrongful death claim while also pressing criminal charges.
Who Is Liable for a Fatal Accident?
One of the primary responsibilities of wrongful death lawyers is determining liability. This is essentially identifying the party at fault for the death, who owes the victim compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, this could be difficult.
For example, if another driver causes an auto accident and your father is killed, that driver is liable. If that driver is operating a commercial automobile, his employer may be financially responsible. A Stockbridge wrongful death attorney will be better able to identify the liable party, no matter the situation.
It is worth noting that just because someone was responsible for a death, they are not necessarily liable. It must be proven that the perpetrator was either negligent or did so on purpose. Otherwise, while it is still a criminal act, you may not be able to seek compensation.
Compensation for Families of Wrongful Death Victims
While no amount of money can ease the pain surviving spouses or family members feel after a wrongful death, there are practical needs that must be addressed. Seeking compensation is a wise move for at least your funeral expenses, though it can also be an impactful way to ensure the one responsible faces consequences.
If the victim had life insurance, then the insurance company may have offered a settlement or payout, but seeking compensation for damages is still smart. Your legal team can explain the ins and outs, but these are the basic damages you could expect.
Economic damages are to make up for money lost because of the liable party’s actions. In a wrongful death, that would be any medical expenses before the victim’s death, property damage in the accident, and funeral expenses. A death in the family is not only a somber event but a costly one. If someone else’s negligence is responsible, that person should have to make up for it.
If the victim was a working member of the household, the income lost with their death can be awarded. An experienced lawyer can ensure that their earning capacity is not lost, with the settlement adjusted to keep those wages in the family.
Losing a family member is a painful occurrence, and not all damages are strictly monetary. You can recover damages from the party held liable for the pain and suffering endured because of the event.
While there may not be a concrete number to go with these feelings, wrongful death attorneys will know exactly what to pursue and how much you can expect. They will also help to gather evidence for all possible damages, making it easier to argue on the legal side.
Even in a wrongful death case, punitive damages can be difficult to seek. They are extra fees tacked onto the overall settlement, meant to penalize the guilty party if a law was broken. For example, typical negligence would be falling asleep behind the wheel. Criminal negligence would be driving drunk and speeding, or intentionally trying to cause an accident.
While this is separate from a criminal court case, just because someone was found guilty of a crime, punitive damages are not guaranteed. Consult with your attorney for a better understanding. They may be able to secure these damages with excellent legal services, but in most accidents, your compensation will be based on economic and non-economic damages.
Time Limits for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
No matter how much of a difficult time it is, there is a time limit on making a wrongful death claim. A member of the family or other such legal representative must file the claim within two years from the deceased’s death. However, depending on what was involved in the incident, this limit may be shorter or longer.
If the government is responsible for the injuries that caused the wrongful death, the time limit may be shorter. If the victim was killed while violating Georgia law, the statute of limitations may pause during court proceedings. That means the family may have to wait to file but will not lose their opportunity to take action.
Because of this, it is important to consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Spending time building these cases can be lengthy, so it is important to act quickly so no time is wasted.
Reach Out to a Stockbridge Wrongful Death Accident Lawyer
If you have been subjected to a wrongful death in your family, you should reach out to personal injury attorneys that can help as soon as possible. They will work to get you the full value of your claim, acting on behalf of both you and your lost loved one.
T. Madden and Associates, P.C. is an experienced law firm serving Stockbridge and other areas of Georgia, dedicated to helping the injured party receive the compensation they deserve. We are no stranger to wrongful death cases, so if you are in need of legal help, reach out today.