Wrongful death in Georgia explained

A wrongful death occurs when an at-fault party takes the life of another, whether intentionally or by accident. While most wrongful death claims result from an unintentional error, such as in a car accident or a medical malpractice incident, they’re occasionally the result of a crime. In these types of wrongful death cases, a personal injury lawyer can pursue a wrongful death claim while the criminal charges are pending. Your wrongful death attorney in Stone Mountain will be there to provide guidance and support during this difficult time.

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Legal standing in wrongful death suits

Not all family members have the legal standing to pursue a personal injury claim on behalf of the deceased. In Georgia, the following surviving relatives can initiate wrongful death actions:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • The children of the deceased, if there’s no surviving spouse
  • The parents, if there are no children
  • If none of the above relationships exist, the personal representative of the estate can initiate a wrongful death suit

If you’re unsure whether you have standing or a surviving spouse or other surviving family member is reluctant to file a wrongful death claim, contact the Stone Mountain wrongful death attorneys at Pendergrass Law.

Wrongful death damages

The damages for a wrongful death claim are divided into three categories. Economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory damages because they compensate the surviving family members for their loss. Punitive damages are non-compensatory and are intended to punish the defendant for reckless or intentional behavior.

Economic damages

Economic damages reflect the financial losses that arise from the accident and subsequent death of the injured party. They include bills for the hospital and other medical care, past and future lost income the deceased couldn’t earn due to the accident, funeral costs, property damage, etc. There are no damage caps on economic damages in Georgia.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are also referred to as pain and suffering damages by Georgia wrongful death attorneys. In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff has the right to pursue damages not only for the victim’s physical pain and emotional distress but also for their own pain and suffering. There are no caps on these damages except in medical malpractice cases.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in wrongful death cases when the court believes the defendant’s negligence was egregious or their actions were intentional. These damages have a $250,000 cap in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death lawyer in Stone Mountain can help calculate the damages you’re entitled to in your wrongful death case.

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Steps to take when a wrongful death occurs

Our Stone Mountain wrongful death attorneys recognize the pain our clients experience. The following suggestions can help you improve the chances of a successful wrongful death suit.

Keep a journal

This is particularly important in medical malpractice cases and other types of wrongful death claims where the decedent didn’t die at the time of the accident. It’s important for a wrongful death lawyer to be able to reconstruct a timeline of events.

Preserve all evidence

Do your best to keep any evidence you have of the decedent’s accident or their subsequent decline. If you’re working with a wrongful death attorney, ask them whether the evidence needs to go to the police or should be in safekeeping.

Store documents in a secure location

Most records are stored electronically. If this is the case, keep them in multiple safe locations: a secure email, a hard drive, a separate thumb drive, etc. Make it a point to turn over copies of all documents to your wrongful death lawyer.

Contact a wrongful death attorney

If you don’t yet have representation, contact a Stone Mountain wrongful death attorney. A wrongful death attorney in Stone Mountain from Pendergrass Law will work diligently to help you get full and fair compensation from the responsible party or their insurance company.

Types of wrongful death cases our law firm handles

If you choose Pendergrass Law to handle your case, you’ll have a designated wrongful death lawyer in Stone Mountain assigned to your case. Here are some of the types of cases our personal injury lawyers handle for surviving families and their loved ones’ estates:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice claims
  • Physical attacks
  • Abuse and negligence in nursing homes
  • Workplace accidents
  • Product liability accidents
  • Criminal violations

If you’ve been involved in any of the above types of accidents, a personal injury attorney in Stone Mountain, GA, can help.

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wrongful death FAQ

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions by our clients. For answers to your questions about wrongful death compensation, speak to a Stone Mountain wrongful death lawyer at our office today.

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in GA?

You have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death legal action. Retaining the services of a wrongful death lawyer in Stone Mountain can help ensure that you meet this crucial deadline.

What if the deceased person was partially at fault?

Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law, plaintiffs are within their legal rights to pursue compensation if they’re less than 50% responsible for an accident.

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