A wrongful death is a death caused by another person or entity’s criminal actions, recklessness, negligence, or ill-intent. Families can sue the person or entity they believe is responsible for a wrongful death if they have enough evidence to prove that the circumstances surround the death were suspicious. Civil law provides a few different avenues for litigation, including wrongful death claims and estate claims.
A wrongful death claim considers the “full value of the life of the decedent.” In this type of claim, the compensation is based on both the tangible and intangible value of the life of the person who passed.
The tangible value includes the financial circumstances of the decedent– the salary, wages, and benefits they would have earned and the economic value of contributing to a household through housework or caregiving.
The intangible value includes what the person’s life meant to him or her –the value of being part of a community, enjoying time with loved ones, raising a family, and other important moments like getting a degree.
The second avenue for litigation is an estate claim. In this claim, the family can sue for things like pain and suffering caused by the death, hospital bills, and funeral bills. The decedent’s estate must bring these claims, that is, the executor of the decedent’s will or, in the absence of a will, a person determined by Georgia laws of intestacy.
In Georgia, wrongful death claims can be made first by a surviving spouse. If the decedent did not leave a spouse, children can claim. If the decedent did not leave a spouse or children, a parent can claim. In the absence of a surviving spouse, child, or parent, the executor of the decedent’s will can claim and is responsible for distributing the value of the compensation to the decedent’s remaining family.
In Georgia, wrongful death claims must be brought within two years of the death. There are sometimes exceptions to this rule.
Georgia defines a list of reasons that could warrant wrongful death claims, including but not limited to:
As long as misconduct, negligence, or recklessness led to a death, a wrongful death lawsuit can be claimed.
Big law firms that have the budget to produce commercials or rent billboards may sound convincing, but they may not put your case first. Be wary of firms that make big promises.
At The Claiborne Firm, we only take the cases that matter because we give them our full attention. We don’t waste money on advertising because we don’t need or want hundreds of cases that stretch our resources. Our clients come to us at the most trying times of their lives, and they deserve our all.
Because we keep our caseloads low, we have the time to research, investigate, and brainstorm novel arguments. We come to cases better prepared than opposing counsel, and our reputation proves it. Even though the statute of limitations is two years for wrongful death cases, timing is key. The sooner you can work with an attorney to document tangible and intangible value, the stronger your case will be.
One client had previously worked with a big firm, with the promise they would get her a large settlement. Her son had been killed in a vehicle accident. The big firm didn’t make a move on her case for almost a year. She came to us, and we took action immediately, discovering the at-fault driver only had a small insurance policy of $25,000. Despite that, we put up a compelling argument that resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement.
Our sample case results provide more examples of our winning track record.
If you’ve lost a family member, you deserve have time to grieve, and not labor over confusing legal documents. Contact us today to discuss your case at no obligation or cost to you. We will meet you at your convenience in a place of your choosing to make sure you feel comfortable, and you’ll leave with more information than you had before whether you choose to hire us or not.