If you tragically lost a family member in a fatal car accident, you may be able to recover damages. Fighting for your money while grieving a loss can be complicated unless you ask for professional legal assistance.
An experienced Ellenwood fatal car accident attorney from John Foy and Associates can help you obtain fair compensation.
How to Prove Your Right to Recover Damages
For your fatal car accident claim to have merit, you need to:
Find Responsible Parties
You may think that the at-fault party is obvious. In reality, an investigation could show that more than one person or company was involved in the accident. Such parties could be:
- Driver’s employer
- Government entity
- Third driver
According to OCGA §51-12-33, when you sue several at-fault parties, all of them pay according to their percentage of fault.
How Fault Distribution Works
For example, a jaywalking pedestrian caused the driver to swerve and hit a cyclist. In this case, the court ruled that the pedestrian was 30% responsible while the driver was 70% responsible. If your damages are $100,000, the pedestrian pays $30,000, and the driver pays $70,000.
If you sue only one at-fault party, they are fully responsible for covering all damages. While this can be beneficial in some cases, it could be a problem if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance. In this case, it would be better to sue a party who is capable of making payments.
An attorney can investigate each party’s ability to pay and give recommendations about the best course of action.
Strong evidence is the key to proving negligence and recovering fair damages. After a fatal car accident, you would need to collect as much evidence as possible. Some examples are:
- Police report with the description of the accident and contact details of witnesses.
- Autopsy report (it can prove that the death occurred due to the accident).
- Witness statements.
- Medical bills and reports (in case your family member required treatment before they died).
- Evidence of funeral and burial expenses.
- Wage reports demonstrate how much money the decedent could have earned to support their family.
- Photos and videos of your family life to prove the loss of companionship and emotional support.
- Personal journals to demonstrate emotional anguish.
- Photos and videos from the scene of the accident.
The quality of evidence may differ. Some of it can help your case, while others may hurt it. An experienced Ellenwood fatal car accident can help you collect evidence and give advice about its value.
To receive compensation, you have to show that the at-fault party acted negligently toward your deceased family member. The four necessary elements of negligence are:
- Legal duty of care – example: drivers have a legal duty of care to follow traffic laws and act responsibly behind the wheel.
- Breach of a legal duty of care – example: a driver runs a red light.
- Injuries and death – example: a driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian who dies from sustained injuries.
- Damages – example: the pedestrian’s death leads to funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of inheritance.
If you fail to demonstrate negligence, you can’t recover damages. With a legal professional in your corner, you have more chances of proving your right to compensation.
Get the strong arm
Damages You Can Recover
When you lose a family member in a car accident, you can try to recover:
- Economic damages – anything related to medical bills, funeral expenses, burial costs, loss of inheritance, and loss of financial support.
- Non-economic damages – anything related to loss of emotional support, companionship, the mental anguish of the surviving family member, and loss of consortium.
To recover maximum damages, you need to provide high-quality evidence to back them up. An attorney can help you conduct an investigation and collect as much effective evidence as possible.
How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
If you want to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you have to be ready for a counteroffer. In most cases, insurance companies do everything they can to minimize the settlement. When you refuse to accept a small amount, negotiations begin.
Effective negotiations with insurance adjusters depend on the negotiator’s experience. Insurance companies use many different tactics to pressure victims into settling for less money than they deserve.
To negotiate successfully, you need legal experience. By delegating negotiations to an attorney, you are improving your chances of getting a fair settlement.
What if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, you have two options:
- File a claim with the insurance companies of other at-fault parties (if any)
- Sue the at-fault party directly.
To prove your case in court, you need to file a variety of documents, present strong evidence, and support your case in front of the judge and the jury. If you don’t have experience doing this, you may need to consider hiring a fatal car accident attorney in Ellenwood.
When to Call a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in Ellenwood
When a loved one dies, many people focus on their grief and put legal action off. As time passes, it becomes harder to prove their case. Witnesses move to other states, evidence fades, and so do the memories of everyone involved.
While an experienced attorney can still help you win the case, it’s likely to take longer. That’s why it’s a good idea to contact an Ellenwood fatal car accident lawyer as soon after your loved one’s death as possible.
Important: the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Georgia is two years from the time of death. When these two years pass, you usually lose an opportunity to file a lawsuit.
Speak to a Reliable Ellenwood Fatal Car Accident Attorney Today
Did your loved one die in a car accident? You may be able to seek compensation. To avoid mistakes and gain time to grieve, you may want to hire an attorney.
At John Foy and Associates, we help our clients get the money they deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.