What Is Wrongful Death?

In Duluth, Georgia, “the death of an individual caused by the behavior or carelessness of another,” is the definition of wrongful death. The loss to the surviving family members—including a partner or parents—is the basis for the claim. Although the life of your loved one was invaluable, the claim aims to recoup costs incurred while they were alive such as medical bills or funeral expenses. Any family that experiences an accidental death is entitled to monetary compensation. The income loss, loss of medical benefits, pain and suffering, and other challenges imposed on family members are all included. Contact our wrongful death lawyer in Duluth for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, and let our legal team analyze and fight for your case.

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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Duluth

A wrongful death case may be filed in Georgia by the surviving family members. These civil lawsuits need a solid legal justification to back them up. The family should be able to prove that the loss of the family member had a direct negative financial and emotional effect on them. Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can be civil or criminal cases. For example, the at-fault party may have caused the death of a victim in a car crash without being accused of a criminal act. Murderers, on the other hand, may be tried in both criminal and civil courts. Car crashes, workplace injuries, medical malpractice, and malfunctioning or defective products are among the primary reasons wrongful death lawsuits are initiated.

You can find out if you have a solid justification for filing a wrongful death civil or criminal lawsuit, or both, by consulting with an experienced Duluth wrongful death lawyer.

Duluth Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death lawsuits can be daunting because you must deal with losing a loved one while also attempting to understand the legal system. This is why getting an experienced wrongful death attorney is wise when initiating a wrongful death claim. Our law firm can fight for your claim to ensure a favorable financial settlement with the at-fault party, and negotiate with the insurance company. Financial changes can cause stress, anxiety, and emotional distress. Even though it might be difficult, you must think about your future and the future of your family. Making decisions with the help of knowledgeable counsel is crucial. A wrongful death lawyer can assist whether the wrongful death was caused by a car accident, a crime, head trauma, a faulty product, or some other tragic event, and get the rightful compensation your family deserves. 

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Causes of Wrongful Death in Duluth

There are many types of wrongful death cases, including the following:

Auto Accidents

Car accidents are the most frequent cause of wrongful death. Fatal accidents involving impaired, distracted, or aggressive drivers all fall under the wrongful death banner. Pedestrian accidents are also included in this category.

Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are more likely to cause personal injury or wrongful death due to the cycle’s small size and lack of protection for the rider.

Medical Malpractice

In the event of wrongful death, healthcare personnel may be held accountable for medical malpractice if they fail to provide a reasonable duty of care to their patients. In some circumstances, the hospital might also be responsible. Misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, surgery mistakes, emergency room errors, and prescription medication errors are frequent types of malpractice that can result in wrongful death.

Defective Products

A wrongful death lawsuit might ensue when death happens due to a defective product, a flawed manufacturing procedure, or a failure to issue a warning about possible harm or death.

Workplace Accidents

An employee may have been killed due to workplace negligence if they were in an unsafe working environment and died because of an explosion, fire, machine-related accident, or defective equipment. Construction workers are more likely to suffer fatal injuries due to workplace accidents.

Criminal Acts

A wrongful death claim can happen when a criminal act results in a person’s death. The family can be compensated for their loss by civil law or a criminal case.

Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer

All deadlines must be met to keep your complaint active in a wrongful death lawsuit. Your wrongful death case may be compromised if these deadlines are not met. Your wrongful death attorney will ensure that all legal paperwork is correctly filled out and submitted. Lawyers with experience in these types of wrongful death cases are thoroughly familiar with the procedures that must be followed in court. Wrongful death cases can take a lot of time to resolve, which is worse if you try to do it by yourself. It may take much longer without an attorney’s expertise and understanding. You may need to spend considerable amounts of time figuring out the specifics. However, these tasks will all be carried out by your Duluth wrongful death attorney, giving you more time to spend with your family during this difficult time. Your wrongful death attorney will determine the fair value of your claim, if it is valid, and if you have a strong case. To properly pursue compensation, your Duluth wrongful death lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case to determine how this loss has affected you and your family emotionally and financially. Your Duluth wrongful death attorney will consider everything, such as medical costs, funeral costs, loss of income, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations 

Typically, a wrongful death statute of limitations in Duluth, Georgia, must be filed within two years of the decedent’s passing (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33). However, based on the situation, that period of time might be either shorter or longer. The time frame may be shortened if an agency of the government is to blame (for example, if a government van accidentally ran over the deceased). There may be a deadline as early as six months or a year after the event, based on whether the federal, state, county, or city government is at fault. The precise deadline will vary depending on the facts and the responsible branch of government, but it is typically referred to as an ante-Litem timeframe. It’s crucial to remember that the following circumstances can cause the two-year clock to be “tolled” or momentarily stopped:

A Criminal Act Caused the Death

The statute of limitations for the wrongful death case is interrupted for six years while the criminal case is ongoing if it arises from the same occurrences as the wrongful death case. The criminal case’s resolution triggers the start of the wrongful death’s two-year statute of limitations.

A Judge Has Not Approved the Assets of the Deceased 

If the decedent’s estate is not probated, Georgia law permits the wrongful death statute of limitations to be tolled for a period of five years.(Georgia Code 9-3-92).

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Eligibility to Pursue a Duluth Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Did your loved one’s passing qualify as a “wrongful death” under Georgia law, making a lawsuit legitimate? It would help if you had a Duluth wrongful death lawyer evaluate your case to ascertain whether a wrongful death claim is appropriate. Suppose the circumstances regarding the death of your loved one support a wrongful death lawsuit. In that case, you must decide if you are qualified to file a lawsuit or whether a third party must initiate the claim. According to Georgia law, parties may file wrongful death lawsuits in the following order:

  • Widow or widower of the deceased
  • The executor of the deceased’s estate, in the absence of a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, and the deceased’s parent(s) if any living individuals are left
  • If there is no spouse, the deceased person’s surviving child(ren)
  • You are ineligible to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia if you are not one of the parties mentioned above.

The executor of the deceased’s estate could file a wrongful death lawsuit if there are no living spouses, children, or parents. Other family members, such as siblings, grandparents, aunts, or uncles, are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Any remuneration for wrongful death damages would be retained by the estate and given to the deceased person’s close relatives.

Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

A delegate who files a wrongful death lawsuit may obtain financial and noneconomic damages to be given to eligible relatives. Medical and funeral costs, out-of-pocket costs, loss of assistance and earnings, and lost inheritance are all examples of economic damages. It might be necessary for a plaintiff to hire an expert in the field to assess the decedent’s life expectancy and calculate lost wages and other losses. The decedent’s wages, as well as possible future salaries, will be considered by the jury. More intricate calculations are required to determine how much money the victim would have made for their family. The court will take the following into account: the deceased individual’s age, state of health before the incident, earning capacity, needs of their kids, and more. A jury may grant punitive damages if the decedent passes away due to the defendant’s egregious actions and reckless conduct. Damages that are not monetary, such as pain and suffering, may also be recovered. Interest will be added to the damages award starting on the death date. When a person is hurt in an accident but does not immediately pass away, their survivors may pursue a “survival action.” This claim entitles the decedent’s estate to compensation for the decedent’s suffering before passing away. The jury may consider the decedent’s level of consciousness, the intensity of their pain, and their awareness of their inevitable death, among many other things. At The Pendergrass Law Firm, we understand the hardships families go through when they deal with an unexpected death of a loved one. We are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation on your case today so that we can help you.

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Duluth Wrongful Death FAQ

How Long Until a Wrongful Death Case Is Resolved?

Wrongful death cases are usually resolved in one to two years and most cases are resolved without going to trial. Complex cases might take longer, and trial cases can drag on for several years when appeals are taken into account.

Who is eligible to serve as a wrongful death trustee?

Almost any capable adult could be named trustee, despite the law being strict about who can request that a trustee be named. The trustee is typically a member of the decedent’s family.

How do the courts value wrongful death claims?

A wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the losses the decedent’s family has endured due to the death. A wrongful death action seeks to quantify the value of the services, financial gains, guidance, and care the deceased provided to their survivors rather than the value of the lost life.

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