If someone you love has died in Columbus, GA, because of negligence, you aren’t alone. A wrongful death attorney in Columbus can help you get money to build a future for your family.
At John Foy & Associates, we know how horrible it is to lose someone close to you. That’s why we have spent the past 20 years helping families get wrongful death damages. So 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 would be in the same situation in our daily lives. So, for example, drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws and avoid drinking and driving because that’s what an ordinary, careful person would do. Corporations and other businesses also have a duty to be careful in maintaining their premises and equipment and making and selling products.
But people and companies aren’t always careful, and when someone isn’t as cautious as they should have been, they are negligent. When someone gets injured because of negligence, they have a claim, and the negligent person must pay for it.
If someone dies because of negligence, there is an additional claim called “wrongful death” that family members can make, and the negligent party is liable for these losses and other damages. A wrongful death claim can come out of many different 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 the person who died. In general, a wrongful death claim tries to compensate family members for what their loved ones lost by not having the chance to live a normal lifespan. 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 over the course of his or her 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 are losses suffered by the person who died, not the family members left behind. They include not being able to 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. Of course, there’s no way to put a dollar value on these losses. To arrive at a financial settlement, insurance companies will usually use a formula.
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 really worth. That’s why we recommend you ALWAYS talk to a good Columbus wrongful death lawyer before you even think about taking an insurance company offer.
Columbus Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me 706-400-4000
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
- Pay that the deceased lost if the accident led to missed time from work before the deceased 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 up until the time of the deceased’s death.
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 tragic accident, you could only bring a wrongful death claim if your son did not have a spouse or any children. This is because the spouse has priority on making a claim, and if there is no spouse, then the children have priority.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Columbus, call 706-400-4000
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims tend to be more involved than many other types of injury claims. To begin with, the primary witness to what happened is no longer around to tell their side of the story. This can make it harder to prove who is liable or what kind of physical and emotional suffering the deceased might have experienced.
Experts often play a big role in showing how an accident or injury occurred and what a deceased person might have felt at the end of his or her life. In addition, future earnings often require a complex calculation, and you can be sure that the insurance company will grossly underestimate their value.
We will fight against the insurance company in a way that leaves them little choice but to offer you a substantial and fair amount. But we also prepare every case for the possibility of taking your case 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 you roughly two years to file your claim. However, keep in mind that this is only a general time frame. If the wrongful death occurred while on the job, your time could be even shorter. It all depends on how your accident happened and where.
Regardless, even if you have two years to file, that doesn’t mean you should take that long. Waiting to file your claim only gives the insurance company an ample amount of time to build a case against you. So while rushing in to file your claim isn’t smart, neither is waiting until the last minute.
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. But, before you accept anything, get help from our wrongful death attorneys in Columbus, GA, first. Insurance companies are businesses first above all else.
Even after losing a loved one, that still 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, we hope that getting you the maximum amount of compensation can help you get closure and allow you to 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. We won’t ask you to pay us anything if we don’t get money for you. Let us give you a free consultation to explain how we can help you file your claim. Call us or fill out the form to your right to get started.