Any death of a loved one is devastating. What is even more confusing and painful is when you know someone else was responsible, even if it was an accident. You shouldn’t have to deal with the emotional and financial toll alone. Let John Foy & Associates help.
A wrongful death lawyer in Gainesville can help you get the compensation you deserve. By investigating your loved one’s accident, calculating your damages, and negotiating with the insurance company, a Gainesville personal injury attorney can help you get the closure you need and hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.
How do You Prove Wrongful Death?
To show that your loved one’s death was wrongful, you need to be able to prove three things:
- The at-fault party owed the decedent a duty of care. That is the basic standard that anyone can be reasonably expected to uphold in their situation. If someone couldn’t have been expected to prevent your loved one’s death, they won’t be liable for the damages that ensued.
- The at-fault party breached that duty of care–in other words, they were negligent. It doesn’t matter if they unintentionally breached their duty. As long as they were not performing a service or doing something that they should have done, they can be found negligent.
- The at-fault party’s negligence caused specific damages to your loved one and your family. These can be economic damages (ie., monetary costs) or non-economic damages (i.e., tolls on mental health and quality of life).
You may know exactly how the negligent partied wronged your loved one and caused their death, but you’ll need to be able to show that to the insurance company and possibly a judge. That’s where a Gainesville wrongful death lawyer can step in.
An attorney will know where to look for evidence and how to present it convincingly. Common evidence that your lawyer may gather for your wrongful death claim includes:
- Photo or video of the scene of the accident
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Documents like police reports or driving records
To prove a wrongful death claim in Georgia, you’ll need a “preponderance of evidence” that shows how the at-fault party caused your loved one’s accident and why you deserve compensation.
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Common Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
Our Georgia law firm sees all kinds of wrongful death cases, but there are some situations that we handle more than others. Some common examples of wrongful death cases include:
- Traffic accidents: Crashes happen every day, but if someone else caused an accident that killed your loved one, they could be liable to pay for your damages.
- Medical malpractice: Doctors, nurses, and hospitals have a responsibility to protect their patients from harm. If your loved one died while in the care of a medical professional, you could be eligible for compensation.
- Premises liability: Unsafe conditions on someone’s property, especially a business or other commercial premises, can cause serious injury. You could be able to hold negligent property owners accountable for your loved one’s death.
- Workplace accidents: In some cases, workers’ compensation may pay for your expenses if your loved one dies on the job. If not, or if there was a third party who was also responsible, a lawyer can help.
If you don’t see your situation represented above but think you might have a wrongful death claim, you can talk to one of our wrongful death attorneys for free. Someone from our firm can assess your case and tell you what options you have for collecting compensation.
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?
That’s a tricky question to answer without knowing the specifics of your situation and the details surrounding your loved one’s death. Every case is different, and your compensation will depend on several factors, including:
- How long your loved one was treated before their death
- How painful your loved one’s injuries were
- The income that your loved one brought to your household
- How much negligence the other party demonstrated
In general, wrongful death claims are meant to compensate for the “full value of the life of the decedent,” according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-4-1. Obviously, there’s no easy way to put a price tag on your loved one’s life–that’s why compensation in your case will be based on the specific financial damages that you suffered.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
The damages that you could be able to collect in your wrongful death claim aren’t just ones that you’ve already suffered. With the right wrongful death lawyer in Gainesville, you could also be able to collect damages that you’re likely to incur in the future.
In general, damages are split up into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are financial costs like hospital bills, funeral costs, and lost income. A lawyer will calculate these using your receipts, pay stubs, and other documents.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the abstract tolls on your life and your loved one’s life before they passed. These can include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and mental anguish. Your attorney will most likely take your economic damages and multiply them to calculate your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are usually not directly related to you or your loved one. Instead, they’re imposed on at-fault parties whose actions were particularly egregious. Not every case results in punitive damages. But because a wrongful death claim is considered more severe than something like a personal injury claim, you may be more likely to receive personal damages.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Attorney in Gainesville Today
Your loved one’s passing is enough of a burden on your shoulders. The last thing you need is the added stress of a legal battle. That’s why the Gainesville wrongful death lawyers at John Foy & Associates are dedicated to handling your case with the care and compassion it deserves while you take time to grieve.
To get a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys, call us or contact us online. We’re available to talk today.