When you lose a loved one, the difficulties that loss presents can seem impossible to overcome. The pain that they experienced, the anguish that you and your family are experiencing, and the expenses that you have to pay all make the grieving process very difficult. The help of a personal injury attorney in Stockbridge can make that easier.
Read more about wrongful death claims in Georgia and how you can benefit from having an attorney by your side. If you have any questions about your own case or want to know how much compensation you’re eligible to receive, you can talk to John Foy & Associates for free.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone is responsible for the death of a loved one, the family is entitled to pursue compensation for the damages the at-fault party caused. A wrongful death claim is the way that a bereaved family can recover money through civil court.
Basically, wrongful death claims allow you to hold someone accountable outside of criminal court and have them pay for expenses that your loved one’s death has caused. It doesn’t matter whether the person at fault has been charged with any crime. Your lawsuit will only have monetary outcomes.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-4-2 states that a surviving spouse or child can recover “the full value of the life of the decedent.” A wrongful claim isn’t meant to punish a wrongdoer (although it does mean they face consequences). Instead, it’s meant to help you and your family pick up the pieces and support yourselves without your loved one.
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How a Wrongful Death Attorney Pursues Compensation
To get you compensation for your loved one’s death, your Stockbridge wrongful death attorney will do more than argue in front of a judge. In fact, most of your attorney’s job happens outside of court, and if everything goes right, you won’t even need to file a lawsuit. Most of the time, the other party’s insurance company will want to settle before your case goes to trial.
To make sure you get a fair settlement, your lawyer will have to show not only that the other party caused your loved one’s death, but also that their negligence led to your damages. To do that, your attorney will:
- Investigate your case
- Put together convincing evidence
- Calculate how much you’re owed in damages
- Negotiate with the insurance company
In the rare event that the insurance company refuses to settle, your wrongful death attorney will fight for you in court. However, lawsuits take a long time and can be expensive for the other party, so a settlement usually benefits everyone involved.
Who Can Recover Compensation for Wrongful Death?
Not everyone can recover compensation for a loved one’s wrongful death. In fact, the state of Georgia is very specific about who recovers damages. OCGA § 51-4-2 lays out the relatives that are allowed to file a wrongful death claim. They are:
- The spouse of the decedent
- If there is no living spouse, the children of the decedent
- If there is no living spouse or child, the parents of the decedent
- If none of the above apply, the court will appoint an estate executor who can file the claim
In certain cases, family members will split the compensation that comes from the wrongful death claim. For instance, if there is a surviving spouse and children under 18, the spouse will collect at least a third of the settlement, while the children will equally share their portion.
If there are multiple parties that are attempting to file a wrongful death claim, it could be counter-productive. We encourage those parties to consolidate and hire the same lawyer. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re eligible or what your options are, you can get advice from one of our attorneys during a free consultation.
Calculating a Wrongful Death Settlement
There’s no price tag on a person’s life, and everyone’s wrongful death case involves different needs and expenses. Because of that, you won’t be able to know how much compensation you’re eligible for until you talk to an experienced lawyer.
Compensation in a wrongful death settlement is calculated using the damages that you suffered in the wake of your family member’s death. Damages in a wrongful death case can include:
- Medical expenses leading up to their death
- Loss of household earning
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering on the part of the decedent
- Mental anguish
- Funeral costs
It’s crucial that your lawyer is able to clearly show how much your damages amount to, both economic and non-economic damages. Because the defendant’s actions in a wrongful death case are often more egregious than in other cases, there may also be punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant and make up for your severe loss.
You may have a good idea of how much you’ve spent on hospital bills and funeral expenses, but there are often other damages involved in your claim. The best way to get a good estimate of how large your settlement will be is to talk to a wrongful death lawyer in Stockbridge.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Attorney in Stockbridge for Free
After losing a loved one, it can feel like you’re lost. On top of the grief that you’re experiencing, there are also often huge bills that come along with a death in the family. A Stockbridge wrongful death lawyer from John Foy & Associates can help you get compensation for your expenses and hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.
Call us or contact us online to get started on your FREE initial consultation. Our attorneys are available to help you 24/7.