Hundreds of thousands of crashes happen on Georgia roads annually. Around 1,500 are fatal. If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, handling the grief while fighting for your money can be overwhelming.
By contacting a Decatur car accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates, you can delegate all legal matters to a team of experts. An experienced attorney can help you recover wrongful death damages.
Compensation You Can Seek for a Decatur Fatal Car Accident
A fatal car accident can leave the surviving family members with a lot of damage, financially, physically, and emotionally. It is best to seek compensation to recover the damage. Below are the types of damage you can recover from after a fatal car accident in Decatur.
Medical Expenses Incurred By the Deceased
If you spent money on treatment before losing a loved one, you deserve compensation if you have concrete evidence. The expenses count from the day the deceased started receiving treatment to the day of demise. This is why it is best to keep all hospital receipts to recover all the expenses incurred.
Funeral and Burial Expenses
It is best to claim all the money you spent on the deceased’s funeral and burial expenses. This tragedy led to unexpected expenditure, and you have the right to seek compensation from the relevant insurance company.
Loss of Dependency
If the deceased supported some family members financially, you could claim the lost earning capacity. This means that those who depended on the deceased will no longer enjoy the privileges, and they have a right to seek compensation for the damage caused. The damage is intended to replace the value of the earnings that the deceased would have received if they were alive.
Pain and Suffering
The family also has the right to claim pain and suffering that the deceased experienced before death. This includes physical and emotional stress. If the deceased experienced pain and suffering before demise, you can file for compensation and recover the damage.
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Who Is Responsible for Fatal Car Accident Damages?
If someone dies in a car crash, it doesn’t automatically mean that their family can get compensated. To recover wrongful death damages after a fatal car accident, it’s imperative to establish liability. Several parties may be responsible for a fatal car accident, including the decedent.
- Vehicle driver – if the accident was caused by negligent actions of another driver, they are responsible for covering damages. In most cases, the driver’s auto insurance company makes a payment. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured, it’s possible to sue them directly.
- Driver’s employer – if the negligent vehicle driver was on duty (e.g. delivery or ride-sharing) at the time of the crash, their employer’s insurance company may be responsible for covering wrongful death damages.
- Manufacturer – if the manufacturer of one of the vehicles installed a defective part, they could be held responsible for the accident. In this case, you could sue the company for damages directly.
- Government – if a local or federal government entity failed to put up signs or perform proper road maintenance, they could be responsible for the fatal crash. While filing a claim against a government entity is complicated, with the right approach, it’s possible to recover damages.
In some situations, more than one party could be responsible for the accident. To understand which person or company to file a claim against, you need to determine liability. This could involve performing an in-depth investigation.
How Comparative Liability Works in Decatur
Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence principle. It means that if you are partially responsible for the car accident, you can be compensated according to the percentage of your fault in it. Here is how it works.
Driver A runs a red light and crashes into driver B who is speeding. Driver B sustains severe injuries and passes away. Driver B’s family files a wrongful death claim for $100,000. The judge rules that driver A is 90% liable for the accident while driver B’s fault is 10%.
Driver B’s family can only recover $90,000 ($100,000 – 10%). If driver A decides to sue driver B for damages, they can’t recover anything because their fault is over 50%.
The at-fault party’s legal team is likely to leverage this principle to reduce your payout. To make sure that the fault distribution is fair, you may want to consider hiring an attorney.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?
Not all family members can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia. The eligible members of the immediate family are:
- Children (if there is no surviving spouse)
- Parents (if there is no surviving spouse or children)
- Estate representative
If you aren’t sure that you can file a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident, consider contacting an attorney.
How do I Prove Negligence in a Fatal Car Accident?
If you want to recover damages after a fatal car accident, you need to prove the liable party’s negligence. This involves demonstrating four aspects of negligence:
- Legal duty of care
To prove all the above, you would need to:
- Conduct an investigation to show that the defendant had a legal duty of care to your family member.
- Provide evidence that the defendant breached that legal duty of care.
- Collect evidence and witness testimonies to prove that that breach caused your loved one’s fatal injuries.
- Provide evidence, testimonies, and expert witnesses’ opinions to show that the fatal injuries led to damages.
No matter how obvious the negligence may seem at first glance, you would still need to prove it. Doing this without a fatal car accident attorney in Decatur could be complicated and time-consuming. Even one missed piece of evidence can have a negative effect on the outcome of your case.
How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Decatur?
You have a limited time to file a fatal car accident lawsuit in Decatur. According to Ga. Code §9-3-33, the statute limitations for wrongful death cases is two years from the date of death.
While two years may seem like a long time, waiting to file a claim isn’t recommended. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to investigate the accident. The evidence gets lost, and witnesses’ memories fade. The earlier you contact a fatal car accident attorney after your loved one’s death, the easier it will be to make a case.
Since the process can be tiring and challenging, it is best to hire an experienced Decatur fatal car accident lawyer to advise and guide you through the process. You want to ensure that you recover what belongs to you as the deceased’s family. In this case, it is imperative to learn about the various components that can help you in making informed decisions.
Reasons to Hire a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in Decatur
The death of your loved one after a car accident can cause frustration and confusion. While this is understandable, you want to do all you can to receive compensation for the damage caused. It is best to speak to an experienced fatal car accident lawyer to advise and guide you on the best possible steps. Below are the benefits of hiring a Decatur fatal car accident lawyer.
Conducting an Investigation
Since it can be challenging to determine the at-fault party in a car accident, it is best to involve an experienced lawyer to help you with the investigation. The lawyer will speak to the involved parties and collect evidence to file a case with the insurance or in court.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
As mentioned above, it is not easy to handle insurance companies when seeking compensation if you lack the skills and expertise. It is best to involve an experienced car accident lawyer with in-depth negotiation skills, such as John Foy, to negotiate an offer with the insurance and reach a favorable settlement. If not, you will likely settle for a lower offer because the insurance company can compromise and pay you less than you deserve.
Filing Your Case in Court
If there is no favorable agreement between the lawyer and the insurance company, the lawyer will file a lawsuit in court to further the case. The attorney will present relevant evidence to the court to support your claim and handle the entire court process.
Speak to Our Decatur Fatal Car Accident Attorney Today
At John Foy, we understand the pain of losing a loved one unexpectedly. This is why we do our best to help our clients by guiding and offering advice on handling fatal car accident processes. Contact us today for a free consultation.