Decatur Wrongful Death Lawyer
The unexpected death of a family member is a tragedy that can profoundly affect loved ones for years. When a person’s untimely death is due to the negligent actions of another, it might be ideal to work with an experienced attorney to pursue appropriate compensation.
If your loved one died because of someone else’s actions, you may be able to hold that person responsible in a civil lawsuit. Schedule an appointment with a compassionate Decatur wrongful death lawyer today to learn more about your options.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
The legal term “wrongful death” refers to an unexpected or unnatural death resulting from someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit can help the decedent’s surviving family members recover compensation from the person or entity that caused the death.
Many wrongful death cases stem from accidents such as a car crash or medical malpractice where someone may not have meant to cause harm. However, if that person was acting negligently or recklessly, they may still be responsible for paying damages to the deceased’s surviving relatives.
Other wrongful deaths could be caused intentionally or be the result of dangerous and illegal activity committed with reckless abandon. For example, a Decatur wrongful death attorney could help file suit against the manufacturers of faulty products, the makers of unsafe prescription drugs, or even someone accused of manslaughter or murder.
It is imperative to note that a wrongful death action is a civil lawsuit and is unrelated to any criminal proceedings. As a result, a defendant in a criminal case could be acquitted but still found liable in a civil wrongful death case.
When is The Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Decatur?
In general, surviving family members of the deceased have two years from the date of an untimely death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, not every family member of the deceased can file their own lawsuit, as dictated by Official Code of Georgia §51-4-2.
If a person was married when they died unexpectedly, their spouse has the right to pursue a wrongful death claim, and if they had children, the spouse could bring the claim on behalf of the children and share the proceeds from the lawsuit. If the deceased had neither children nor a spouse, their parents or the personal representative of their estate could bring the claim.
Damages in a wrongful death claim are meant to compensate the survivors for the full value of the deceased’s life. However, establishing an objective value for a person’s life in monetary terms can be a difficult task.
A sufficient settlement should account for the lost income or wages that the deceased would have earned during their expected lifetime, and additional damages could compensate survivors for loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, and affection. A skilled wrongful death lawyer in Decatur could help determine the value of the loss.
Antemortem Injuries and Survival Actions
In some cases, a person may have suffered severe injuries days or weeks before their death. When a person survives their initial injuries and suffers pain or incurs medical costs prior to their death, their estate can file a survival action and seek damages for these costs.
Unlike a wrongful death claim, the deceased’s family members cannot file a survival action. These claims are for the deceased’s estate, and the damages recovered in a survival action would be administered by a personal representative of the estate in accordance with the deceased’s will or the laws of intestacy.
If the deceased could have filed a personal injury lawsuit based on the injuries they suffered prior to death, that opportunity survives and continues postmortem. A survival action can seek damages for the pain suffered before death, the cost of hospitalization and medical treatment, lost wages, and emotional distress. Unlike a wrongful death case, a survival action can also seek punitive damages when appropriate, which aim to punish responsible parties.
Call a Decatur Wrongful Death Attorney Today
The unexpected death of a spouse, child, or parent can cause considerable stress and heartbreak in any family. If your loved one passed away because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may need a knowledgeable attorney to fight for you.
Contact a Decatur wrongful death lawyer today to find out more about your options. If your case is successful, we guarantee you will walk away with more in compensation than we charge in fees.