We extend our deepest condolences if someone you love died due to negligence. Our wrongful death lawyer in Columbus, GA, is here to provide compassionate legal support and guidance during this difficult time. With the help of a qualified attorney, you can obtain justice for your loved one and recover the settlement or award your family needs.
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 obtain wrongful death damages. Call our office or complete the online form to schedule your initial consultation.
Do I Need a Columbus Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Wrongful death claims tend to be more involved than other injury claims. To begin with, the primary witness in a fatal accident 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.
Expert witnesses can play a major 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 having a skilled lawyer in your corner is essential. 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.
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 personal injury lawyer, who handles wrongful death cases in Columbus, can help you seek monetary compensation and make the responsible party pay.
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Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
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 exercise reasonable care to maintain their premises and product manufacturing. Employers are required to follow safety regulations to prevent workplace accidents.
Still, people and companies aren’t always careful, and accidental death can occur when someone isn’t as cautious as they should be. Surviving family members can seek compensation through a wrongful death claim when the unthinkable happens.
A wrongful death claim can be filed for many types of negligent conduct, including medical malpractice, fatal car accidents, and other catastrophic incidents, and a qualified attorney can help you prove negligence and maximize your settlement or court award.
How Much Money Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Worth?
The amount 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 deceased’s future income is often the most significant economic loss, which can financially burden the surviving family. 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 were 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, or 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. Still, 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 and the severity and duration of the injury or illness that caused their death.
The insurance company won’t be happy about paying you a fair settlement, even if you have suffered a tragic loss that is another party’s responsibility. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters will try to get you to settle for much less than your claim is worth.
We recommend you talk to our Columbus personal injury attorney, who handles these cases, 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 OCGA § 51-1-6.
This claim is usually 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 often includes the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
The estate can recover money for all the financial losses from the accident or illness until the deceased’s death. In addition to economic damages, you may be eligible for other, less tangible losses related to the emotional toll of losing a loved one. “Prospective inheritance” may also come into play in your case.
Accounting for such losses can be challenging, but a wrongful death attorney in Columbus, GA, can help you quantify the full scale of this tragedy’s impact on your life.
Can Any Person in the Family File a Wrongful Death Claim?
No, in any given situation, only a few people can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. The relatives who can file claims, in order of priority, are:
- The estate.
For example, 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.
The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Columbus
OCGA § 9-3-33 allows Georgia claimants two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. 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.
Even though you may have two years to file, that doesn’t mean you should take that long. Waiting too long to take legal action 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. Our team can help you gather evidence, calculate damages, and then file your legal claim on time.
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. Just because their policyholder caused your loved one’s death doesn’t mean they will settle in your favor. On the contrary, they will always try to cut corners and offer you the lowest settlement possible.
While money can’t replace the losses you’ve suffered, obtaining the maximum compensation available can help you get closure and move forward.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Attorney in Columbus, GA
At John Foy & Associates, our mission is to put money in your hand 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 a wrongful death lawsuit or claim proceedings and will fight to ensure you are fairly compensated.
We handle cases on contingency, so we won’t ask you to pay us anything if we don’t get you financial compensation. Let us give you a free legal consultation so we can explain your legal options. Contact us by phone or fill out the form to get started.