Understanding Wrongful Death

ambulance6-resized-600-300x201In 2016 there were 1,130 traffic fatalities in the state of Georgia, a harrowing statistic, however, no number can come close to encapsulating the immense pain and confusion associated with the sudden loss of a loved one. The shock of receiving this kind of news can be unbearable, and the unfortunate reality that the incident may have been caused by someone else can place extraordinary strain on a family. Fortunately, there are laws in place to help hurting families through these tough times. If you find yourself in a situation like this it is imperative that you reach out to a personal injury attorney who will be able to guide you through your situation. An attorney can be a voice of reason and will fight to ensure that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.

 Wrongful Death Torts

 A wrongful death claim is a situation in which the plaintiff (the accuser) seeks damages from the defendant for causing a fatality. Georgia state statutes describe  “wrongful death” as a personal injury tort where someone’s reckless, negligent, or intentional action resulted in the death of another individual. In most instances a wrongful death is typically the result of a vehicle accident, criminal act, or medical malpractice; however, the claim is not dependent on how the individual died.  

Under Georgia law only certain individuals are eligible to bring forth a wrongful death suit–typically these individuals must have a particular relationship to the deceased individual. This allows relatives close to the individual to hold the defendant responsible for their wrongdoing. The basis for wrongful death lawsuits is the notion that even if the injured party is gone and will not be able to recover, individuals close to the deceased are also hurt by the defendant’s actions and are therefore entitled to certain compensation.

 What Do You Need to Prove?

 The following are the four main points that you must show to be successful in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  1.  You must prove the defendant largely caused the individual’s death;
  2. As previously mentioned, you must prove that the death was caused a reckless, negligent, or intentional act of the defendant. Or, the defendant may be held accountable if the there was an understanding that the defendant was legally responsible for the individual’s safety–this is known as strict liability;
  3. The plaintiff must have a relationship with the deceased individual that entitles him or her to sue for the recovery of damages;
  4. You must prove that the death caused financial damages.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Suit?

 In the event that the deceased individual was married, their surviving spouse will have the right to file a wrongful death suit. If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, then the individual’s children are eligible to file a wrongful death suit. However, if there is a surviving spouse and surviving children, and the spouse refuses to file a wrongful death lawsuit, this decision disallows the children from filing a suit on their behalf. Georgia statute O.C.G.A 51-4-2 provides how funds will be distributed if a suit is filed and is successful. No matter how many children are listed in the suit, the surviving spouse is always entitled to at least one-third of the monetary compensation.

 Need Help?

 If you or somebody you know is dealing with the sudden loss of a family member due to someone else’s wrongdoing, it is imperative that you reach out to a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve during this difficult time. Time is not on your side, contact the VANJOHNSON LAW FIRM in Atlanta to receive direction on this serious matter. (404) 551-2428   info@vanjohnsonlaw.us

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