Wrongful Death Lawyer Atlanta
In Atlanta, when someone loses their life as a result of another person’s negligence or recklessness, the victim’s surviving family members may be able to obtain compensation for the loss of their loved one. While nothing can make up for the pain of the loss of a loved one, holding the responsible party accountable can allow the grieving family to begin their long road to recovery. If you have recently lost a loved one as the result of someone else’s actions, you must speak with a wrongful death lawyer Atlanta. The experienced wrongful death attorneys at the Ferguson Law Group will hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve.
Do I Need to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
These cases can be very complicated, especially if the deceased party was a minor child or an elderly family member. In some cases, there may be multiple parties involved. Because of this, proving fault can be very difficult and will require the help of experts such as accident reconstruction experts or physicians.
A wrongful death attorney at the Ferguson Law Group will offer a compassionate, yet aggressive approach to family members who have tragically lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident. Our team of lawyers understands that the death of a loved one can change your life in an instant. Our firm is committed to holding those responsible accountable and will seek maximum compensation to protect your future.
We have decades of experience handling these types of complicated cases.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed on behalf of a deceased party. A wrongful death claim is considered a civil lawsuit and must be filed in court by the appropriate party. Additionally, liability will only take the form of monetary damages, whereas criminal homicide charges can result in the imprisonment of the party responsible. Wrongful death claims may still be filed, even if there’s already a criminal case in progress.
The most common types of negligent acts that can justify this type of claim include:
- Auto accidents where the other driver was reckless or negligent
- Accidents that take place on someone’s property due to poor maintenance
- Accidents that were caused by a defective product
- Medical malpractice
Regardless of the type of negligent behavior that caused the death of a loved one, a wrongful death attorney will work tirelessly to protect your interests and the interests of your family to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Only certain people are permitted to file this type of claim in Georgia, including:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- The deceased person’s parents
- The deceased person’s children
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Wrongful Claim?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the following individuals can be held responsible in a wrongful death claim:
- The at-fault driver in an auto accident
- The person who served, or sold alcohol to an intoxicated driver who caused the accident
- The designer of a defective roadway
- The owner of a restaurant or bar where alcohol was served to an already intoxicated driver
- The installer, seller, or manufacturer of a defective car part
- Government agents who failed to provide adequate warnings concerning a dangerous road hazard
- Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals
Statute of Limitations
During this difficult time, you may have put off filing a wrongful death suit as you grieve for the loss of your loved one. Unfortunately, there is a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Because of the complexity of these cases, every second matters. By hiring an attorney, you will not have to worry about filing your paperwork on time or meeting with insurance companies. Instead, an attorney will handle all communication with insurance companies and the defendant’s legal team, allowing you to focus on taking care of yourself and your family during this trying time.
In Georgia, this type of claim must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death. Failing to file a claim within this time frame can result in the loss of opportunity to obtain justice and compensation on behalf of your loved one.
The success of a wrongful death claim will depend on whether or not a plaintiff can establish that the negligence of another party contributed to or caused the death of a family member.
To demonstrate negligence, a wrongful death lawyer must provide evidence that:
- The negligent party owed a duty of care to the victim
- The negligent party breached the duty of care
- The breach in the duty of care resulted in the death of the plaintiff’s loved one
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If the deceased person’s family can establish that another entity or party was responsible for the death of their loved one, they may be able to receive compensation for some of their financial losses. The family members of the deceased party may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased person’s illness or final injury
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of future income and lost wages, including wages that the deceased person would have earned in her or his remaining years.
- Property damage caused as the result of the events surrounding the victim’s death
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Sorrow and grief of the surviving family members
- Pain and suffering suffered by the victim before death
A jury may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the deceased person’s family. These damages are used as a way of penalizing especially deplorable conduct. This can include conduct that was reckless or intentional.
Proof of Damages
Certain damages such as medical bills and funeral costs can easily be established by submitting all relevant bills and receipts, however, it can be much more complicated to demonstrate the loss of future income. A lawyer will need to hire an economist, who can determine how much the deceased victim would have been able to financially contribute if they had not passed away.
This process requires the analysis of many factors, including:
- Circumstances at the time of death
- Earning capacity
- Life expectancy
- Physical condition and health
The economist will provide expert testimony concerning these types of financial losses. This testimony can go a long way toward convincing a jury of the value of the deceased family’s losses. It can also be very helpful in situations in which the victim had no permanent income or was a homemaker. In these situations, the economist will need to demonstrate how the family must now spend a significant amount of money to make up for the loss of services the deceased party provided, including cooking, transportation, education, cleaning, and childcare.
Establishing Financial Loss for Minors or Elderly Family Members
If the deceased family member is an elderly person or a child, it can be very difficult to establish financial loss. This is because when an adult passes away, their financial contributions can easily be assessed by providing copies of pay stubs and bank statements. Financial loss in a wrongful death claim can also be measured by other elements of the deceased person’s relationship to their family. In wrongful death claims that involve a child, the parent’s recovery will be limited to their financial loss alone. It can also be very challenging to establish the financial loss for the death of an elderly loved one who did not have much earning potential or who was past the age of retirement.
The damages the victim’s family is awarded will be determined by a jury. However, the court can also decide to adjust the award if there’s insufficient evidence of the deceased party’s earning potential.
In a wrongful death claim, the stakes are very high. Investigations in a wrongful death claim are time-consuming and can be very detailed. An investigation may involve:
- Speaking with economists concerning the probable value of damages
- Hiring medical experts
- Obtaining copies of medical records and medical bills
- Hiring accident reconstruction experts
- Obtaining copies of police reports and photographic evidence
- Meeting with eyewitnesses
In a wrongful death case, adhering to procedural requirements is very important. Failing to do so can significantly hurt or delay a case and the plaintiff’s chances of recovery. At the Ferguson Law Group, we are very familiar with Georgia’s court processes and have an experienced and dedicated legal team who will work efficiently and quickly on your behalf, so we can help to resolve your case as fast as possible.
Why Work with a Personal Attorney?
The Ferguson Law Group will handle negotiations with insurance companies and all parties responsible for the loss of your loved one, to obtain the maximum compensation that will cover lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses, and punitive damages associated with the accident. Our wrongful death attorneys Atlanta are tough negotiators who are prepared to take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached during negotiations.
Contact the Ferguson Law Group
When you work with one of the skilled lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group, you’ll never have to wonder what comes next. We will work closely with you to explain the legal process and guide you through it, every step of the way. We will advise you of practices to avoid and potential problems, as we work on building a solid case. We have several years of experience working on the most complicated wrongful death cases and know what strategies and tactics to use during negotiations or in the courtroom to ensure you and your family receive maximum compensation for your loss. Contact the Ferguson Law Group today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you and your family during this difficult time.
Tifton Office225 East 2nd Street, Tifton, GA 31794