Can a family claim damages against a driver who caused a wrongful death?
Car accidents happen every day, and unfortunately, they can be fatal. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 36,096 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. Fatalities can be either a passenger in a vehicle, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or pedal cyclists.
Car accident deaths are often the fault of another driver and can be due to drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, and more. If the driver acted negligently, a wrongful death claim can be proven and won by the surviving family.
A wrongful death claim is filed after a fatal car accident to recover from the impact of the person’s death as a whole, also known as the full value of the deceased person’s life.
What Is Wrongful Death Under Georgia State Law?
Georgia’s wrongful death laws are held under O.C.G.A § 51-4-2, which defines who is entitled to bring forth legal action for the wrongful death of a spouse or parent. Wrongful death claims aim to recover the “full value of the deceased person’s life”, and this is done from the deceased person’s perspective.
According to Georgia law, a wrongful death claim can be brought forth by the spouse of the deceased person, and they can work on behalf of the couple’s children, as well. If there is not a surviving spouse or any surviving children, then a parent or the parents of the deceased person can file a wrongful death claim.
Any compensation received from the lawsuit will be equally divided between the spouse and children. If children are minors, a legal guardian can keep and use the money for the child’s benefit and will be accountable to do so. The spouse, by law, is entitled to receive at least ⅓ of the total compensation.
Additionally, any recovered compensation is not legally allowed to be subject to any debts or liabilities of the deceased person, and wrongful death claims should typically be filed within two years.
Claims and Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Since the goal of wrongful death lawsuits is to recover “the full value of the life of the deceased person” from his or her perspective, this covers a wide range of factors, including income, chores, daily activities, and family and friend relationships, to name a few. These factors are valued and recovered by the deceased person’s family and divided equally.
A family may also choose to pursue an estate claim to recover the full amount of suffering that the deceased person experienced, which was caused by the at-fault driver. This may include punitive damage, pain and suffering damages, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and more.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Helps with Wrongful Death Claims
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a car accident and you’re considering taking legal action to collect damages, hire a car accident lawyer to help with your case and get the best results possible.
Car accident damages, including wrongful death, can be complex to prove. A skilled car accident lawyer will help you prove the negligence of the at-fault party, even when a strong defense is present.
A car accident lawyer can help you pursue a number of different damages, in addition to wrongful death, which may include:
- Estate damages
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages and future wages
- Pain and suffering
A car accident lawyer allows you to have confidence and optimism throughout the process, even if you end up needing to go to trial. Your family wants justice for your untimely loss, and Haug Law Group will fight to win the compensation that you and your family members deserve.
Contact Haug Law Group for Your Free Consultation
While wrongful death lawsuits are challenging, Haug Law Group is here with you through it all as your guiding light and consultant. We will help you from the very beginning and make the legal process as smooth as possible.
Get your free consultation and case evaluation from an experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorney by calling 1-844-428-4529 or sending us a message today. We are available to help you 24/7 and look forward to hearing from you.