If someone you love has died in Columbus, GA, because of negligence, you aren’t alone. Accept support and legal guidance in your pursuit of justice. A local wrongful death attorney can help you get money to build a future for your family.
At our law firm, we know how devastating it is to lose someone close to you. That’s why we have spent the past 20 years helping families get wrongful death damages. Therefore, let us give you a free consultation. Call us to schedule an appointment today.
Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim
We all have a legal duty to behave as carefully as a reasonable person in the same situation. For example, drivers must follow traffic laws and avoid drinking and driving because that’s what a careful person would do.
Corporations and other businesses must also maintain their premises and product manufacturing.
Still, people and companies aren’t always careful, and a fatality can occur when someone isn’t as cautious as they should be. When this happens, there is a claim called “wrongful death” that family members can make.
A personal injury lawyer can help victims’ families seek compensation for their losses and make the at-fault party pay. A wrongful death claim can be filed for many types of negligent conduct.
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How Much Money Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Worth?
The money you receive will depend on many factors, including the age and occupation of your loved one. A wrongful death claim generally tries to compensate family members for what their loved ones lost by having their life cut short. It can include two broad types of damages.
The major economic loss is the deceased’s future income. Often, an expert is brought in to estimate how much the deceased would have earned throughout their life, including raises, promotions, and bonuses.
In general, a young person just starting a career will have higher economic losses than someone reaching retirement age whose wage-earning years are almost over.
These include losses suffered by the deceased, who cannot raise children, participate in hobbies, be active in local events and organizations, be a husband or wife, travel, and generally live life to the fullest. These also refer to losses the surviving family members suffered, such as loss of companionship.
Of course, there’s no way to put a dollar value on these losses. Insurance companies usually use a formula to arrive at a financial settlement. They usually base their decision on factors such as the victim’s age, the severity, and duration of the injury or illness that caused their death.
The insurance company won’t be happy about paying you a big settlement, even if you have suffered a tragic loss that is clearly its responsibility. It will try to get you to settle for much less than your claim is worth.
We recommend you always talk to a Columbus wrongful death lawyer before considering an insurance company’s offers.
Can I Recover a Settlement for Other Costs After a Wrongful Death?
Yes, in the City of Columbus, GA, the loved one’s estate can recover the costs and losses the deceased suffered before passing under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-6.
This claim usually gets brought by the person in charge of administering the estate. After all outstanding costs have been paid, the remaining money goes to the deceased person’s heirs. This type of claim can recover money for:
- The deceased’s medical bills, including hospitals, emergency rooms, hospice care, prescriptions, surgery, tests, and any other costs associated with the final illness or injury
- Funeral expenses
- What the deceased lost if the accident led to missed time from work before they passed away
- Pain and suffering, or the physical pain and emotional trauma the deceased suffered before death
The estate can recover money for all the costs of the accident or illness until the deceased’s death. A lawyer can help you translate the full scale of a loved one’s death’s impact on your life.
Can Any Family Member File a Wrongful Death Claim?
No, in any given situation, only a few people can bring a claim for wrongful death in Georgia. The relatives who can file claims, in order of priority, are:
- The estate
This means, for example, that if you lost your adult son in a fatal pedestrian accident, you could only bring a wrongful death claim if your son did not have a spouse or children. This is because the spouse has priority in making a claim, and if there is no spouse, then the children have priority.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims tend to be more involved than other injury claims. To begin with, the primary witness is no longer available to tell their story, which can make it harder to prove liability or what kind of physical and emotional suffering they might have experienced.
Legal experts play a big role in showing how an accident or injury occurred and what a deceased person might have felt at the end of their life. In addition, future earnings often require a complex calculation.
You can be sure that the insurance company will grossly underestimate their value, so it’s essential to have a skilled lawyer in your corner.
Our legal team will fight against the insurance company in a way that leaves them little choice but to offer you a substantial and fair amount.
However, we also prepare every wrongful death case for the possibility of taking it to a jury in the local courts. Regardless of the situation, our Columbus wrongful death lawyers will help you every step of the way.
The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Columbus
OCGA § 9-3-33 gives claimants two years to file. However, keep in mind that this is only a general time frame. For example, the time to file could be shorter if the wrongful death occurred while on the job. It all depends on the circumstances of the accident.
Regardless, even if you have two years to file, that doesn’t mean you should take as long. Waiting to file your claim gives the insurance company ample time to build a case against you. While rushing in to file your claim isn’t smart, neither is waiting until the last minute.
With the help of an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Columbus, GA, you’ll have experts who understand local statutes and protocols working for you.
Don’t Accept the Initial Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company
After a wrongful death, you may face the temptation to accept a fast settlement from the insurance company. Before you accept anything, it’s best to get legal representation. Insurance companies are businesses first, above all else.
Even after losing a loved one, that doesn’t mean they will settle in your favor. On the contrary, they will always try to cut corners with you and ensure you get the lowest settlement possible. While money can’t replace the losses you’ve suffered, getting you the maximum compensation can help you get closure and move forward.
Talk to a Columbus Wrongful Death Attorney Today
At John Foy & Associates, our mission is to put money in your hands to help you pull your life back together after a death in the family. Our wrongful death attorneys in Columbus, GA, can guide you through wrongful death lawsuits or claim proceedings and will fight to ensure you are fairly compensated.
We won’t ask you to pay us anything if we don’t get money for you. Let us give you a free legal consultation to explain how we can help you file your claim. Call us or fill out the form to your right to get started.
706-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form