Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer
If your loved one died because of someone else’s careless or irresponsible actions, you need a lawyer who has a full understanding of Georgia’s laws on wrongful death claims. The Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Cruz & Associates can offer you experienced and knowledgeable representation so you can begin to recover from this terrible incident.
Georgia’s Definition of Wrongful Death
According to Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act, codified in five code sections, starting at O.C.G.A. §51-4-1.Wrongful death is when someone dies because of another person or group’s negligence, recklessness, criminal behavior, or intent to harm. A person or group is being negligent when they have a duty to adhere to reasonable standards of safety and care and do not uphold that duty. There are many ways people accept a reasonable duty of care; when people drive, they accept a duty of care to follow driving laws and drive safely. Likewise, a doctor who cares for patients accepts a duty of care for those patients.
According to Georgia’s wrongful death laws, the following events create legal grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Intentional homicide
- Contaminated food/drinks
- Drunk driving
- Faulty construction
- Medical malpractice
- Unsafe prescription drugs
- Unlawful acts
- Negligent conduct
- Illegal or improper service of alcohol
- Nursing home abuse/neglect
- Dangerous products
Who Files a Wrongful Death Claim?
One of the significant complications of wrongful death suits is that, unlike other Georgia personal injury claims, the person who suffered an injury is unable to testify or provide a personal account of the incident.
In Georgia, the first person who can file a wrongful death claim is the spouse of the deceased. If there is no spouse but the deceased had children, the state allows those children to bring a suit against the perpetrator. If there is no spouse and no children, the people who can file a claim are the surviving parents of the deceased or the representative of the deceased person’s estate. If the personal representative wins the lawsuit, the next of kin receives compensation if there is an award.
Damages for Your Wrongful Death Claim
Georgia law separates wrongful death claims into two categories. The first is compensation for the full value of the life of the deceased. The second is for compensation related to losses from the death.
Claims for full value of the life address emotional and mental damage, as well as financial. It includes lost wages and benefits due to the person’s death and loss of care and companionship. The courts award claims for full value of the life to compensate loved ones for all aspects of the person’s death, including intangible ones.
Claims seeking compensation for financial losses focus more on the tangible things. They include medical expenses related to the person’s death or illness, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering that the deceased person experienced.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Georgia has statutes of limitations that specify how long a person has to file a lawsuit after the date of death. In Georgia, the deceased person’s loved ones usually have two years to file a claim. If they delay longer than that time period, a court will likely dismiss their lawsuit.
There is an exception to this rule; if the wrongful death claim coincides with a criminal case, the courts pause the statute of limitations deadline until the closing of the criminal case.
Contact an Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have had a loved one taken from you because of another person’s negligence, you need an attorney who has extensive knowledge of Georgia’s wrongful death laws. Fortunately, the Atlanta wrongful death lawyers at Cruz & Associates have over 25 years of experience handling wrongful death cases in Georgia. Call us today to set up a FREE initial consultation, we have someone available to take your call 24/7. Se habla Espanol.