Helping Families After the Tragic Wrongful Death of a Loved One
Losing a loved one is never easy, and almost always results in severe emotional and mental harm for family members. When someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly in an accident or due to the wrongdoing of another person, it can be even more difficult. Such a tragic loss can magnify the emotional harm, as well as cause sudden financial stress and losses for a household.
The law recognizes the sudden and extensive losses that occur due to a sudden death and provides certain family members with the right to seek compensation for these losses. Qualified family members can file a wrongful death claim against any parties that acted negligently or wrongfully and led to the death. Each state has its own specific wrongful death laws, and Georgia is no different. If you believe you may have a wrongful death claim in the Atlanta area, you need a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side as soon as possible.
Do not wait to contact wrongful death attorney David Brauns, who regularly helps clients dealing with this type of tragic loss. Call the office at (404) 348-0889 for free today.
When Is a Death Wrongful in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, a wrongful death occurs due to another party’s recklessness, negligence, intentional act, or criminal act. The following are some common causes of wrongful death:
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Falls or slip and falls
- Premises liability accidents
- Products liability accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Violent assaults
While some wrongful death cases certainly involve intentional acts, such as homicides, most cases stem from the negligence of another party. Family members filing a wrongful death claim will have to prove negligence as the law requires.
There are four main elements to a negligence claim, as follows:
- Duty of care – In many situations, one party will owe another party a duty of care in order to keep them safe. For example, a driver has the duty to operate a vehicle in a reasonably safe manner to avoid harm to others on the road. This includes following traffic laws, staying alert and focused, and more. Companies also have a duty to design, manufacture, and sell safe products, and to give proper warnings to consumers if there are risks of harm.
- Breach of that duty – For someone to be negligent, they must breach an applicable duty of care. This can include driving carelessly or recklessly, allowing dangerous hazards to exist in a business, store, or on a property, selling dangerous or defective products, and many more actions. Specific instances of a breach can include distracted or drunk driving, making poor decisions as a medical professional, selling a dangerous medication or a car with a defective airbag, or having dangerous stairways down which someone may fall.
- Causation – Once you prove a breach of duty, you must then prove that the breach, in fact, caused the fatal accident. In some cases, such as in a car accident, this can be a relatively straightforward step. However, in cases involving medical malpractice or defective pharmaceuticals, it can be far more complicated.
- Damages – A critical part of any wrongful death claim is stating the damages that you seek, which are the losses experienced as a result of the death. You cannot simply claim a dollar amount and expect to receive that payment. Instead, you must provide evidence of each type of loss.
At Brauns Law, we handle many personal injury and wrongful death cases stemming from the negligence of others. Attorney David Brauns fully understands how to present evidence of negligence to successfully prove a claim.
Eligible Parties and Damages in an Atlanta Wrongful Death Claim
The law also specifies who can file a wrongful death claim and what types of damages the plaintiff can seek. The following are eligible to file a claim in Georgia:
- The surviving spouse is the primary party eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If there are surviving minor children, the claim must also represent the losses of those children. However, no matter how many children may be involved, the spouse will always receive at least one-third of a settlement or award.
- If no surviving spouse or children exist, the parents of the victim then have the right to file a claim.
- If no surviving spouse, children, or parents exist, the individual appointed as personal representative of the deceased’s estate has the right to file a claim on behalf of the estate. The estate can also file a survival action separately from any wrongful death claim by family members.
The law also dictates the types of damages available in both wrongful death and survival actions. In a wrongful death claim, family members can seek damages for:
- Monetary losses, including lost income and financial support of the deceased, the value of lost household services, and other financial losses.
- Intangible losses, which include the loss of love and companionship, or the loss of parental advice and care for children.
In a survival action, the personal representative seeks compensation for certain losses associated with the death, including medical expenses for treatment prior to the death, pain and suffering experienced by the deceased after the accident, and qualified funeral expenses.
Contact an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer for the Help You Need
At Brauns Law, PC, we know the wrongful death laws in Georgia can be confusing, and it can be difficult to know your rights. Lawyer David Brauns can evaluate your situation and let you know about all of your rights and options. We know rebuilding your life after a tragic loss is challenging, both emotionally and financially, and we are ready to help you. We handle every aspect of your legal case so that you can focus on the emotional recovery of your family.
It can prove difficult to discuss a tragedy in your family but know that our office will treat you with the compassion and attention you deserve. We help clients seek justice for wrongful deaths, so please call (404) 348-0889 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with Brauns Law today.