As an injury attorney in Georgia, I handle all kinds of claims involving injured victims. I also represent the families of accident victims who have been tragically killed. If you have lost a loved one as the result of another person’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim for damages.
Why Should I Pursue a Claim?
Of course, no amount of money is going to bring back your loved one or ease the pain of their loss. However, the death of a family member can be financially devastating to the surviving members of the family. If you have lost a loved one as the result of another person’s actions, you can be awarded compensation that can help ease the financial burdens you are experiencing.
What Kind of Damages are Awarded?
There are two types of damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim. The first is compensatory damages. These include all of the expenses the death has incurred, from hospital bills and medical care to funeral costs. Additionally, compensation can be awarded for all of the things the wrongful death victim once contributed to his or her family. These include financial losses to the family, such as income and health insurance benefits, and emotional losses, such as the pain and suffering of no longer having a spouse or a parent.
The second type of damage is punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to the family as punishment to the person responsible for the death. In Georgia, punitive damages are capped at $250,000. A judge will determine the amount of punitive damages that will be awarded. Keep in mind that a wrongful death claim is a civil matter, and unrelated to the concurrent criminal case. Even if there is are no criminal charges pressed against the negligent party, or if the charges are dropped, this will not affect the pursuit of a wrongful death claim.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, only certain family members are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. Siblings, aunts or uncles, or grandparents cannot pursue a claim. In the death of an adult, his or her spouse may pursue a claim. If the victim was not married, his or her children may pursue a claim. If there are no living children, the victim’s parents may pursue a claim. If there is a surviving spouse and children, the compensation awarded must be split equally among those parties.
There are many factors to consider when preparing a wrongful death lawsuit. You need to consult with an attorney who has knowledge and experience with this type of claim and can recover the financial compensation that you rightly deserve.
If you have lost a family member or a loved one due to the negligence of another person such as in a car accident, you may have the right to pursue a claim for damages against the at-fault party. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn your rights.