Being involved or having a friend or a family member involved in a car accident comes with multiple problems, ranging from injuries to the financial stress caused by the enormous medical bills. None of these experiences, however, is as traumatizing as losing a friend or a family member in a fatal car accident.
Working with an Atlanta auto accident attorney to hold the negligent driver accountable goes a long way in helping with the trauma and stress.
When you hire a car accident lawyer in Georgia, they will work with you to understand the peculiarities of your case and learn how to secure maximum compensation. The attorney will also file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your deceased friend or family member.
This article will explain what happens when someone dies in a fatal car accident in Georgia. You will learn about those who can file a wrongful death claim under Georgia law, the damages you can claim, the time limit for filing compensation, and how to prove fault in a wrongful death claim.
What Should You Do When Your Loved One Dies in a Fatal Car Accident in Georgia?
According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 200,955 deaths are caused yearly by wrongful death accidents (unintentional accidents). Being in a situation where you lose a friend or family member in a fatal car accident can be very traumatizing to the point where you do not know what action to take.
So let us consider what you should do when your loved one dies in a fatal car accident in Georgia. The first thing you should do is find out if you are in a position to file a wrongful death claim. Once you are sure you are eligible for a wrongful death claim, you should prepare to file one immediately.
What the wrongful death claim does is help you offset the financial and emotional effects losing a loved one has on you. Your lawyer will demonstrate how the victim’s death affected you financially and emotionally to establish your case.
However, not everyone can file a wrongful death action. According to Georgia law, the people who can file a wrongful death claim are limited to a few family members of the deceased. They include:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent,
- The surviving children of the victim, if there is no surviving spouse,
- The parents of the deceased, if there is no surviving spouse or children, or
- The deceased’s estate if there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent.
You can take other steps to improve the legality of your case. These steps include documenting the losses and difficulties caused by the death of your loved one. You can also speak to a therapist to help you deal with the grief.
Importantly, you should speak to an Atlanta auto accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadlines for filing your case. Having legal representation also increases your chances of maximizing your compensation.
Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer Explains How to Prove Fault When Someone Dies in a Crash
Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the drivers involved, the negligent driver who caused the fatal car accident is, in most cases, very defensive. They often try everything possible to influence the investigation. Therefore, you have the task of proving that they are at fault.
To prove that the other driver in the fatal car accident is at fault, you must be able to demonstrate the following:
- The duty of care owed to the victim by the other party
- The other driver’s breached the duty of care by their negligent action. This could be driving while distracted or running a red light.
- The negligence of the other driver caused the death of the victim
- The damages caused by the fatal car accident and the victim’s death
To get the appropriate compensation from the at-fault party, you must be able to preserve and present enough evidence to prove your case. This might be impossible if you do not have Georgia’s best car accident lawyers working on your lawsuit.
What Is a Survivor Claim?
Under Georgia law, you can file two separate lawsuits when your loved one dies in a fatal car accident. The first one is the wrongful death claim, which we discussed earlier. The second is a survivor claim.
You can file a survivor claim when your loved one survived the car accident’s impact, only to die later due to the injury or illness resulting from the crash. When you file this claim as the surviving spouse, you will receive a monetary settlement for the medical bills before the victim’s death, their pain, fear, suffering, and every discomfort caused by the fatal car accident.
When Should I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The period after a loved one dies in a fatal car accident can be very traumatizing. As one deals with grief, it might be challenging to have the time to file a case immediately. But you must not neglect to do so because of the time limit under the Statute of Limitations.
You must commence an action for wrongful death within two years of the victim’s death. The time starts counting from the day the victim died, which could be when the fatal car accident happened, or days, weeks, or months after.
So suppose a person sustains a brain injury in a vehicle accident and then passes away after two months in a coma. The two years start counting from when the victim died. If you fail to commence an action within this time, you will lose your right to sue and will be unable to receive compensation from the at-fault party.
Damages You Can Claim From a Wrongful Death Case
While money cannot amount to the value of a deceased loved one, it is still the only way the law can compensate the victim’s family. The following are claims you can make in a wrongful death case:
- Loss of care or companionship
- Medical bills
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages and benefits
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering endured by the victim before their death
- Mental anguish
Hire an Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney to Strengthen Your Case
What happens after your loved one dies in a fatal car accident is all in your hands. You have the right to file a lawsuit and get justice for your deceased loved one and yourself.
Our attorneys at The Weinstein Firm can help you get a fair settlement from the negligent party. Contact the best injury attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia, today for a free case review.