If someone in your family has tragically lost their life in Augusta, we understand that this is one of the most difficult times in your life. We know that you are grieving, and you may also be wondering how you will pay for the funeral or put your life back together without your loved one’s income. We want you to know that financial help is available – you may be entitled to recover money in a wrongful death claim for the loss of your family member’s life. An Augusta wrongful death lawyer can help you.
John Foy & Associates knows that a death in the family is traumatic and can put your finances in a tailspin. We have spent the last 20 years fighting to get family members the money they deserve in wrongful death and accident claims, and we have an outstanding track record. Let us meet with you and help you understand your rights and the process for making a claim. There’s never any obligation. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What does “wrongful death” mean?
A “wrongful death” claim is a claim by the family members of someone who has died because of an accident or other negligent behavior. “Negligence” is a legal term that essentially means carelessness, and it can include many types of conduct, including:
- Drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding or other aggressive, careless or unlawful driving behavior
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Dangerous medical devices
- Prescription drugs that aren’t safe or don’t carry proper warnings
- Nursing home neglect
- Assaults and other criminal acts
- Food contamination
- Defective construction
When a person or business is negligent, they are liable for all the effects of their behavior. In an ordinary situation, this includes medical expenses, lost paychecks and other financial losses, as well as non-financial losses for “pain and suffering.” But when someone dies as a result of negligence, the negligent party is also responsible for wrongful death damages.
Who can make a wrongful death claim?
To make a wrongful death claim in Augusta-Richmond County, you must have lost someone very, very close to you. The law only allows a few people to file claims for wrongful death.
- If the deceased was married, then the husband or wife can file a claim on behalf of themselves and any children the deceased left behind.
- If the deceased had children but wasn’t married, then the children can bring a wrongful death claim on their own.
- If the person who died didn’t have a spouse or children, the deceased person’s parents are the ones who can make a wrongful death claim.
- If someone dies without leaving behind a spouse, child or parent, then the deceased person’s estate can make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person’s heirs.
Georgia law doesn’t recognize anyone else’s right to make a claim for wrongful death, including unmarried partners, close friends, step-parents or step-children and grandparents.
What can I recover money for in a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death is different than other types of injury claims because it doesn’t focus on the cost of the injury itself. A wrongful death claim looks at what the deceased person lost because they passed away. This might include a lost lifetime of earnings, loss of the companionship of loved ones, loss of the ability to take part in the community and participate in things he or she loved, and other, similar types of losses.
A human life is invaluable and can never be replaced, and the legal system is well aware that it cannot bring back the person who died. All it can do is award money to the family who needlessly lost someone dear to them because of someone else’s negligence. Wrongful death damages can make it possible for you to maintain your home, go back to school to get a better job, educate your children, get grief counseling, and find a way to create a life for yourself after a horrible loss.
Who will pay for the funeral?
After someone dies, their “estate” is responsible for wrapping up their financial lives, including paying any medical bills from their final illness and paying for the funeral. After a tragic accident or other event, the estate can make a claim to recover these costs. This claim is similar to a wrongful death claim, but it is valued differently: it is designed to pay for damages the deceased suffered before death.
The estate’s claim may cover far more than funeral expenses. It may also pay for medical and hospital bills, and the pain and mental suffering the deceased person experienced before passing away. In some cases, like drunk driving accidents, it can include additional punitive damages to punish the person who caused the accident. The damages recovered by the estate can be substantial, and after costs are paid they will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs under their will or according to Georgia law.
Is there a time limit for wrongful death claims?
Yes, you only have a limited amount of time to get a wrongful death claim on file. In most cases, the local courts have a limit of two years from the date of death. But there are various reasons why the deadline might be longer or shorter in your case, and it is best to consult with a lawyer to find out exactly what deadline applies to your situation.
If you don’t file your case before the deadline passes, you are out of luck. You will have lost the opportunity to recover money that could make a dramatic difference in the course of your and your family’s life for years to come.
Talk to an Augusta Wrongful Death Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, we never want to see a family suffer financially because of a tragic death. Our lawyers know how to get you the money you need, and don’t want to cause more financial burdens than you already have. That’s why we give you a free consultation, and we don’t charge you anything unless we get money for you. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.