Wrongful death lawsuits come about when one person claims the defendant caused another person’s death either intentionally or negligently, in which, the defendant is liable for that person’s death. In many cases, a Lawrenceville wrongful death lawyer takes on one of these lawsuits after a criminal trial has taken place.
These lawsuits can only be filed by:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- Parents of the deceased
- The executor of the deceased’s estate if none of the above are surviving
The family or representative of the family will call a wrongful death lawyer to get the legal process underway.
Understanding the Wrongful Death Legal Process
There are two different types of claims that can be filed in a wrongful death lawsuit, and your wrongful death lawyer will handle both for you if they apply to your case. There is the wrongful death claim, and there is an estate claim.
These can be difficult to understand especially when dealing with grief and loss. This is why it is extremely important to make sure your team of wrongful death lawyers is fully versed in the laws and the legal processes before you retain their services. You should be confident that your case is in good hands with the wrongful death attorneys you choose to represent you.
The Wrongful Death Claim
This claim is for the “full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by evidence” from the deceased’s eyes.
It is important to note that this is not the way you, the family member view the value of your deceased loved one’s life. Your team of wrongful death attorneys knows that no monetary value can be placed on a life-long companion, a child, or a parent.
This claim is strictly for a jury or judge, to help them to gain a full understanding of what the victim’s life meant to the victim.
Your wrongful death lawyer will make sure you have a clear understanding of how this works. It is broken down into two parts: the economic value of the deceased’s life and the non-economic value. The non-economic value in this aspect refers to those intangible, special moments and experiences that the deceased will no longer experience because they are no longer here. Consider every non-object this person valued in life. Some examples are spending time outdoors with grandchildren, volunteering every Saturday at the local humane society, summer walks every evening with a spouse and/or coaching a child’s soccer games. Your wrongful death attorneys will make sure those moments that added value and enjoyment to your loved one’s life are taken into account.
The economic value primarily breaks down to the dollar amount the deceased would have earned in the future until his/her time of natural death. This includes the salary and wages from the victim’s employer and all other earnings/profits/income brought in by the victim, including business investments, savings, real estate investments, employee benefits, pensions, inheritances for the deceased’s children and more. An experienced wrongful death lawyer like those at The Weinstein Firm will make sure every possibility is included in the economic value calculations.
In the case of the deceased person who may not have had a job, your wrongful death attorneys will make sure his/her contributions will be noted as “pecuniary losses.” For example, if he/she was a stay at home parent or helped to support a family-owned business but did not receive income for their efforts, there will be a monetary value placed on those contributions for the purpose of recognizing the deceased’s value of life.
The Estate Claim
The estate claim is for the family of the deceased to receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses. Your wrongful death lawyer will explore all the costs that have come about as a result in this case and make sure you are fully compensated.
If the decedent had a will, the deceased’s wishes will be upheld regarding who should be the executor of the estate. If no will exists, the family typically agrees to name one person as the executor of the estate.
When Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Apply?
There are several cases when wrongful death charges can be pursued in the death of a loved one. They include:
When Someone is Believed to be Liable for an Intentional Killing
If a person is not convicted in the criminal case, a family can still pursue wrongful death damages if they believe that a person committed the crime, but it simply was not proven in court.
Perhaps the most well-known wrongful death lawsuit to date is that of OJ Simpson. Although he was not convicted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in the criminal case, the family pursued damages in a wrongful death lawsuit following the criminal trial. In the end, Simpson was ordered to pay the families of his two victims more than $30 million.
Put simply, a criminal court case could result in jail for the defendant, whereas a wrongful death case, which is civil, could result in monetary compensation for the victim’s families and other affected parties.
Whether the accused is convicted criminally or not, the family can pursue a wrongful death suit and will reach out to a wrongful death attorney if they choose to exercise this option.
If death resulted because a doctor failed to diagnose a specific condition or if a doctor was negligent or careless, a wrongful death lawsuit for medical malpractice could be brought against the doctor.
Wrongful death lawyers have recently worked on a highly publicized wrongful death lawsuit involving comedian Joan Rivers. Doctors failed to act accordingly when Rivers experienced compromised breathing when undergoing a routine surgical procedure called an endoscopy. Rivers died as a result of several factors during that surgery, including the improper administration of sedation medication.
In this case, the wrongful death lawsuit involved Rivers’ daughter, who reached a settlement with the doctors in her wrongful death case for an undisclosed amount.
Vehicle or Airplane Accident
If a victim dies because of an automobile crash or airplane accident injuries, a family may retain the service of a wrongful death lawyer to file a lawsuit. It can begin as a personal injury claim that becomes a wrongful death claim if the person is initially injured then dies because of their injuries. Or if a person was killed immediately, the wrongful death claim can be filed. Either way, a personal injury lawyer can ask for compensation for the untimely death of a loved one.
A high profile wrongful death lawsuit involved the famous singer, Brandy. In December of 2006, Brandy was driving her Land Rover when it rear-ended a Toyota Corolla. One woman inside that vehicle, Awatef Aboudihaj, was killed.
Brandy eventually settled a wrongful death lawsuit, agreeing to pay each of the victim’s son’s $300,000. The then 15 and 11-year-olds were in the vehicle at the time of the crash along with another woman who survived but suffered lacerations and a broken nose. Her lawsuit was also settled, but for an undisclosed amount.
These are just three well-known instances of successful wrongful death lawsuits, but Georgia law allows for wrongful death lawsuits in several other areas. The services of wrongful death lawyers have been retained for drunk driving, dangerous/defective products, Illegal and/or improper service of alcohol, dangerous medical devices, nursing home abuse and/or neglect, engineering malpractice, unsafe prescription drugs and many more.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of Georgia, there is a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. The law says that wrongful death claims must be filed no later than two years after the death. However, there are certain time constraints that apply to the circumstances surrounding some cases, so it is best to contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Dealing with the unexpected death of a loved one is tragic. Letting a wrongful death lawyer handle the legalities while working diligently to get you the maximum compensation for your loved one’s death is the least you deserve. The wrongful death lawyers at The Weinstein Firm will stand with you and fight for your rights.
Finding a Qualified Wrongful Death Attorney
Although you are undoubtedly grieving the loss of your loved one, it is very important that you take the time to choose an experienced and qualified wrongful death attorney that is right for your case.
Here are five things to consider when looking for a wrongful death attorney:
- Has the wrongful death attorney ever worked on a wrongful death lawsuit?
- How many cases has he/she won? How many has he/she lost or had dropped?
- What are the settlement amounts of the cases this wrongful death lawyer has won?
- Of the cases won, how many were similar to yours?
- What are the reviews like for this wrongful death attorney?
Although you are dealing with grief and loss at this point, it will be worth your while to do some light research for online referrals. A good lawyer won’t hand over names and contact information due to client confidentiality, but they may have former clients who are willing to share their experiences.
It is certainly understandable if you do not have the time or energy to handle this task on your own. If this is the case, reach out to a friend or family member that might be willing to make or accept those calls on your behalf. You should look at several wrongful death lawyers to make sure you find the right fit
Knowing you have a great team of wrongful death attorneys will give you peace of mind. You have enough to deal with as you carry on in the aftermath of this unexpected death. That’s why we are here for you. Our job, as your wrongful death attorneys, is to relieve you of the many stresses that arise in these situations. The wrongful death attorneys at The Weinstein Firm will be by your side through each step of the legal process.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
Here at The Weinstein Firm, our teams of wrongful death lawyers are experienced and ready to help you win your case. We want you to feel confident in your choice to retain our services, so we will not accept payment for your consultation.
Because you are dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic loss, your wrongful death attorneys will cover all the expenses for your case upfront and will be reimbursed at the conclusion of the case. At this time, fees for the services of your wrongful death lawyer can also be paid through your settlement.
Your wrongful death attorney does not want you to have the burden of financial dealings during your time of grief, so we will only settle your fees with our law firm when your case ends. We get paid when you do, and our fee is a percentage of your win at trial or through a settlement.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
The wrongful death lawyers here at The Weinstein Firm are ready to take your case.
We are here to help. You are not alone. You should never have to suffer at the hands of another, especially if your loved one has met an untimely death as a result. Reckless, negative or abusive actions should never go unpunished. Our sole purpose in your case is to hold those parties accountable and help you get a settlement that you and your family deserve.
We have years of experience handling wrongful death lawsuits in every area and walking away with big wins either in trial or settlements. We get millions of dollars for our clients, so even as they work through the loss of a loved one, they won’t have to worry about their finances.
Call the wrongful death attorneys at The Weinstein Firm today. We are here for you.