The only thing worse than sustaining injuries in a car accident is losing someone in such a crash. Unfortunately, however, vehicle collision deaths are a constant feature of American roads. Some car accident victims die on the crash site. Meanwhile, some others survive the collision only to die later in the hospital.
Whatever is the case, if you lose a loved one in a car crash, you should know what happens after. This knowledge can inform the next steps that you take. Furthermore, it’ll be best to hire a Johns Creek car accident attorney after an auto accident. You don’t have to wait for any fatalities before calling a lawyer.
What Happens After Someone Dies in a Car Accident?
When someone dies in an accident, the driver can face either civil or criminal charges or both.
Firstly, the fault driver may go to jail because of the death. However, this isn’t always the case. Usually, the local district attorney determines whether or not there’s sufficient evidence to prosecute the driver. For instance, the DA can charge the driver with manslaughter or homicide.
Moreover, the DA considers many factors before deciding to charge the fault party. They include whether the driver was:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving recklessly or overspeeding
Furthermore, the local DA will check whether any other factors besides the driver caused the crash. All the factors above can either increase, reduce, or eliminate the driver’s criminal liability. However, whatever happens, the driver may still face civil lawsuits.
When someone survives a car accident in Johns Creek, they can sue the fault party for damages. They have this right because Georgia is an at-fault car accident state. Similarly, if the person doesn’t survive the collision, their estate can sue the fault party. However, they can no longer bring a personal injury claim. Instead, the deceased’s representatives can file a wrongful death action.
Georgia’s Wrongful Death Statute defines wrongful death as the death of someone because of the reckless, criminal, negligent, or intentional act of another entity. Essentially, death is wrongful because the responsible person could have prevented it by being careful.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Johns Creek?
Just like a personal injury claim, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim in Johns Creek. The law defines the qualifying relatives that can approach the court. They include, in order of priority:
- Surviving spouses
- The deceased’s child or children
- Surviving parents
The deceased’s personal representative can also file a claim when there are no other qualified parties. Here the decedent’s executor or administrator can recover the deceased’s full life value. However, they’ll hold the amount they recover for the deceased’s next of kin. Furthermore, the personal representative can recover the funeral and other expenses resulting from the deceased’s death.
Proving Wrongful Death in Johns Creek
Establishing wrongful death can be challenging. First, you’ll have to go through the same processes as when proving a typical negligence claim. So, you’ll have to show that:
- The fault driver had a duty of care to drive carefully
- The driver breached this duty of care
- Their negligence or recklessness caused the victim’s death
- There are damages from the accident and death
If you can prove these four elements, you can receive compensation for your loved one’s death. However, it’s noteworthy that you only have two years to file a wrongful death claim in Johns Creek. If you don’t go to court within this period, the courts may bar your claim. Therefore, it’s best to call a lawyer immediately after the victim’s death.
Typically, the deceased’s estate can recover damages similar to that from a personal injury claim. However, Georgia law allows two types of wrongful death benefits. First, they can claim the full value of the decedent’s life and the incidental financial losses.
The deceased’s life value includes lost benefits and wages and loss of companionship. Finally, the consequential losses the family can recover are medical, funeral, and burial expenses.
Let Johns Creek’s Best Wrongful Death Attorneys Help You!
If you have lost a loved one to a careless driver, you can recover compensation from the fault party. Since you’re already suffering emotionally, it’ll be unfair to bear the financial consequences of the fault driver’s actions. First, however, you’ll need the best wrongful death attorneys in Johns Creek.
The Weinstein Firm’s lawyers in Johns Creek have helped many grieving families get closure for their relative’s death. Consequently, we can handle your wrongful death claim while you grieve your beloved. So, call us today to speak with one of our attorneys.