Losing a loved one due to another person’s negligence or intentional act could mean that you have a wrongful death claim on your hand. However, what constitutes a wrongful death claim is not always clear hence the need for an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
By examining the facts of the case, an experienced wrongful death lawyer will determine if there is enough cause to file a wrongful death claim. However, we understand that you may want more clarity before you contact a lawyer and this article provides some answers.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person dies due to another party’s negligence or intentional act, that may provide grounds for a wrongful death claim. The party at fault can be an individual, as in the case of a car accident, or an entity such as a car manufacturer.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The guidelines for filing a wrongful death claim often vary from state to state. However, it is typically immediate members of the deceased’s family that have the right to file a wrongful death claim. This includes the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, and siblings.
According to Georgia’s wrongful death statute, where the deceased is married, the spouse is the most qualified to file a wrongful death claim. In the absence of a spouse, the deceased’s children can file a wrongful death claim while their siblings can do the same. Parents can also file wrongful death claims.
Usually, only parents of minors can file wrongful death claims. In the same vein, adult children may often be unable to file wrongful death claims. Furthermore, executors or administrators of the deceased estate can bring wrongful death claims. Where in doubt, endeavor to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine if you have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
What Damages Can Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In personal injury cases, damages are awarded to ease the pain caused by the accident. However, in a claim for wrongful death, lives are involved, and no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one.
However, when you file a claim for wrongful death, two broad categories of damages are awarded. The first category is on injuries suffered between the time of the accident and death. So, for example, the damages awarded here could include medical costs and pain and suffering.
The second category has to do with losses suffered by the deceased’s survivors after the death. The damages awarded in this category are intended to cover the wages that the deceased would have earned until retirement. The deceased’s spouse could also claim loss of consortium.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims?
Most personal injury cases have statutes of limitations. These laws limit the period when someone can file a personal injury lawsuit. This could fall between two and ten years. A surviving family member has two years to commence a wrongful death claim.
A failure to file the claim within that period means they forfeit the right to do so in the future. When it involves a government entity, it could be shorter. In cases where the death occurred while someone was breaking the law, the statute of limitations may be tolled pending the outcome of a prosecution against the person who committed the crime.
For example, if someone was killed in a drunk driving traffic accident, the statute of limitations will be paused until the case against the guilty party is over. Therefore, it is important to speak to a lawyer before making any decisions.
Learn How Wrongful Death Attorneys in Atlanta Can Help You
Losing a loved one is a sad occasion, but having to contend with the complexities of a wrongful death suit can make the pain unbearable. This is why you need an experienced wrongful death lawyer to help you through this period. Here at The Weinstein Firm, our experienced wrongful death lawyers have what it takes to help you in your wrongful death lawsuit.
We understand how painful the process can be for you, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Not everyone is certain they have a legitimate claim for wrongful death, and our lawyers can help with that. We realize that all cases are different and would examine the facts of your case to determine if you have a legitimate claim. So give us a call today, and one of our lawyers will be in touch with you.