Time is suspended and becomes irrelevant when you receive the news that a loved one has died. There are arrangements to make, people to contact, and a battery of never-ending decisions you make in the hopes of granting your loved one’s final wishes. The moments, days, and weeks after traveling through the grieving process take a different amount of time for everyone and cannot be rushed, shortcutted, or bypassed.
It may seem daunting to reach out and begin retelling a story, hashing out the details, and experiencing the emotions in depth again. But it is imperative to accurately document facts, recollect sources, and reach out to individuals who may have witnessed the accident, helping build evidence should you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You will also ensure your claim is filed within the timeline designated by Georgia law.
Defining Time Limits in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In Georgia, the action for wrongful death must be filed within two years of a death originating from negligence, intention, or omission. Few exemptions apply. A wrongful death attorney in Georgia can guide you through, ensuring action is taken within the proper time frame and fall within the statute of limitations.
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Timelines in a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The timeline is clearly defined for filing a claim for wrongful death and when the insurance carrier must act. However, if the carrier denies your claim, the case will go to court. It will depend on the court’s caseload when your lawsuit will be heard and could take weeks or months.
Once a jury hears your case, they are required to render their decision to the judge. The judge is not under the same time restraints as the jury.
The insurance carrier would much rather settle out of court than begin legal proceedings. They would also rather not deal with an attorney. When you have legal representation, the carrier is more likely to settle for the claim closer to the requested amount that your attorney has established.
Role of the Insurance Carrier
Deadlines are important to document when working with an insurance carrier. You will more than likely be contacted by a representative wanting to take a statement and settle the claim quickly. It is important to remember it is never the goal of the insurance company to pay maximum benefits but to reduce the amount of payout as much as possible.
An experienced wrongful death lawsuit attorney in Georgia will understand the procedures of insurance carriers. The services of an attorney are highly beneficial, especially when facing time restraints and devastating loss.
What are the adhered time frames for insurance companies in the event of a wrongful death lawsuit? Document dates and information about your claim. Designate a space specifically for this information.
- Acknowledge the claim: Insurance carriers must show receipt of your claim within 15 days.
- Provide proper forms: Insurance carriers must provide the appropriate forms for the claim within 15 days.
- Accept or deny the claim: Once the forms are received, the carrier has 15 days to act either accepting or denying the claim.
- Provide a decision. The carrier may request an extension. The maximum time allowed to review the claim is 60 days.
- Pay the claim: Once the claim is accepted, the carrier has ten days to pay.
- If the claim is denied, the case is taken to court.
Become familiar with the insurance carrier’s guidelines. Their statute of limitation may vary from the state.
Role of a Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney
Even before the insurance carrier reviews your claim, a Georgia wrongful death attorney can be your first line of defense. Experienced in complex law codes, an attorney understands what is reasonable and is a navigator for your case.
- Mediator: Once you have hired an attorney, you can direct the insurance carrier to make all contact and requests through your lawyer. Insurance companies would much rather deal with an individual.
- Evidence collector: Evidence is needed to prove any case. Your attorney knows what information is essential for documenting a claim.
- Negotiator: No amount of money can replace your loved one. Once a wrongful death attorney helps you determine accrued losses, such as lost wage earnings, an attorney can help you negotiate for the value of your loved one’s life.
Exemptions to Statute of Limitations
There are few exemptions to the statute of limitations in Georgia. But it is essential to be familiar with them should they apply to you.
A criminal case can be filed in conjunction with a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations may be extended up to six years pending the settlement of the criminal case and will immediately take effect when the criminal case is resolved.
The statute of limitations in a wrongful death lawsuit may also be extended if the deceased had no established will, and sometimes, this extension can benefit the estate. Other times it can benefit the estate’s creditors. In either instance, the statute of limitation cannot exceed five years.
If the survivor of the deceased is a minor, the statute of limitations begins when the survivor turns 18 allowing for wrongful death lawsuit claims to be filed up to the survivor’s twentieth birthday.
Representation by a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyer
Until presented with the death of a loved one, wrongful death and statutes of limitation are words we only hear murmured on the news as we eat dinner at night. They take an entirely different meaning when we face the realities of irreplaceable loss in the event of the death of a spouse, parent, or child. Making sense of these catastrophic events is often impossible.
Rely on the experience of a knowledgeable team that understands the law in Georgia as it applies to wrongful death claims and the statute of limitation. The clock instantly starts ticking when you experience the death of a loved one. John Foy & Associates understand the emotional toll a death can take on individuals and families, and they also know that time can work against you the longer it takes to reach out.
Contacting John Foy & Associates guarantees you will be treated with the dignity you deserve. Our reputation reflects dedicated service to Georgia for more than 25 years in wrongful death lawsuits. When you lose a loved one to wrongful death, our dedication is to serving you.