If someone in your family has tragically lost their life in Augusta, we understand that this is one of the most difficult times in your life. We know that you are grieving, and you may also be wondering how you will pay for the funeral or put your life back together without your loved one’s income.
We know that a death in the family is traumatic and can put your finances in a tailspin, but we want you to know that financial help is available. You may be entitled to recover money in a wrongful death claim for the loss of your family member’s life. The Augusta wrongful death lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help you.
What Does “Wrongful Death” Mean?
A “wrongful death” claim is a claim by the family members of someone who has died because of an accident or other negligent behavior. “Negligence” is a legal term that essentially means carelessness, and it can include many types of conduct, including:
- Drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, or other aggressive, careless, or unlawful driving behavior
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Dangerous medical devices
- Prescription drugs that aren’t safe or don’t carry proper warnings
- Nursing home neglect
- Assaults and other criminal acts
- Food contamination
- Defective construction
When a person or business is negligent, they are liable for all the effects of their behavior. In an ordinary situation, this includes medical expenses, lost paychecks, and other financial losses, as well as non-financial losses for “pain and suffering.” But when someone dies as a result of negligence, the negligent party is also responsible for wrongful death damages.
That means that your attorney will need to show that the other party’s negligent so that your family can get the compensation they need. Our firm has decades of experience serving victims and their families, and we know what to do to make sure you are cared for.
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What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Augusta Do for Me?
Our lawyers want you to be able to mourn in peace, so once you agree to hire us to represent you, we will handle every step of your wrongful death case. After your initial consultation, when your attorney will assess your situation and tell you what the next steps are going to be, your lawyer will:
- Gather evidence
- Calculate the damages associated with your loved one’s death
- Negotiate with the other party
- Deal with the insurance company
- Fight for you in court, if necessary
It’s very unlikely that your case will end up going to court. Most of the time, both sides are able to come to an agreement on a settlement before that happens. However, sometimes negotiations break down and the wrongful death case goes to trial.
If that happens, our skilled team of Augusta wrongful death lawyers will be at the ready to represent you. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you win.
Augusta Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me 404-400-4000
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In any personal injury case, including wrongful death, there are three elements to proving that someone else’s negligence caused your loved one’s death:
- The other party owed the deceased a duty of care, e.g., a certain level of care that any reasonable person can be expected to show to someone else.
- The other party breached that duty of care. This can include doing things like breaking traffic laws, manufacturing faulty equipment, or failing to keep safe conditions on their premises. This is known as negligence.
- The other party’s negligence caused certain damages—in this case, your loved one’s death.
Proving negligence can be tricky in a Georgia wrongful death case because evidence fades and, sadly, only one side of the accident can give their record of events. Thankfully, our firm has decades of experience and knows what to look for. In order to build a strong case, your Augusta wrongful death attorney will gather evidence like:
- Pictures and video of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Medical documents
- Criminal or driving records
By showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other party’s recklessness was the cause of your loved one’s death, our team can secure the compensation that you and your family need in order to recover from your devastating loss.
Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim in Augusta?
To make a wrongful death claim in Augusta-Richmond County, you must have lost someone very, very close to you. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-4-2 only allows a few people to file claims for wrongful death:
- If the deceased was married, the husband or wife can file a claim on behalf of themselves and any children the deceased left behind
- If the deceased had children but wasn’t married, the children can bring a wrongful death claim on their own
- If the person who died didn’t have a spouse or children, the deceased person’s parents are the ones who can make a wrongful death claim.
- If someone dies without leaving behind a spouse, child, or parent, the deceased person’s estate can make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person’s heirs
Georgia law doesn’t recognize anyone else’s right to make a claim for wrongful death, including unmarried partners, close friends, step-parents, step-children, or grandparents.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Augusta, call 404-400-4000
What Can I Recover Money for in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death is different than other types of injury claims because it doesn’t focus on the cost of the injury itself. A wrongful death claim looks at what the deceased person lost because they passed away. This might include:
- A lost lifetime of earnings
- Loss of the companionship of loved ones
- Loss of the ability to take part in the community and participate in things he or she loved
- Similar types of losses
A human life is invaluable and can never be replaced, and the legal system is well aware that it cannot bring back the person who died. All it can do is award money to the family who needlessly lost someone dear to them because of someone else’s negligence.
Wrongful death damages can make it possible for you to maintain your home, go back to school to get a better job, educate your children, get grief counseling, and find a way to create a life for yourself after a horrible loss. You should have a wrongful death lawyer in Augusta by your side who knows your needs and how to meet them.
Who Will Pay for the Funeral?
After someone dies, their “estate” is responsible for wrapping up their financial lives, including paying any medical bills from their final illness and paying for the funeral. After a tragic accident or another event, the estate can make a claim to recover these costs. This claim is similar to a wrongful death claim, but it is valued differently: it is designed to pay for damages the deceased suffered before death.
The estate’s claim may cover far more than funeral expenses. It may also pay for medical and hospital bills, and the pain and mental suffering the deceased person experienced before passing away. In some cases, like drunk driving accidents, it can include additional punitive damages to punish the person who caused the accident.
The damages recovered by the estate can be substantial. And after costs are paid, they will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs under their will or according to Georgia law. To ensure that you have enough money to cover all the expenses associated with the loss of a loved one, your lawyer will calculate your costs and ensure the insurance company pays in full.
Is There a Time Limit for Wrongful Death Claims?
Yes, you only have a limited amount of time to get a wrongful death claim on file. In most cases, the Augusta courts have a limit of two years from the date of death. But there are various reasons why the deadline might be longer or shorter in your case, and it is best to consult with a lawyer to find out exactly what deadline applies to your situation.
If you don’t file your case before the deadline passes, you are out of luck. You will have lost the opportunity to recover money that could make a dramatic difference in the course of your and your family’s life for years to come.
Talk to an Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney for Free
The Augusta wrongful death lawyers at John Foy & Associates never want to see a family suffer financially because of a tragic death. Our attorneys know how to get you the money you need and don’t want to cause more financial burdens than you already have.
That’s why we give you a FREE consultation, and we don’t charge you anything unless we get money for you. We have spent the last 20 years fighting to get family members the money they deserve in wrongful death and accident claims, and we have an outstanding track record.
Let us meet with you and help you understand your rights and the process for making a claim. There’s never any obligation. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get started today.