What is Considered a Georgia Wrongful Death Case?
If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are probably having a difficult time emotionally and wondering what you can do to find justice for your family and your loved one.
You can’t do what you really want to do—bring that person back—and you might think pursuing a claim for money damages is pointless or even devalues his or her life. But Georgia law allows a recovery that puts value on the person’s life even as it provides comfort and financial support for those most in need of it.
Georgia Wrongful Death Cases are Very Complicated
The law is somewhat complicated, so you need the experience and knowledge of a Georgia wrongful death attorney. At the Dover Law Firm, we will help you understand the law and guide you through the process of helping validate the loved one’s life.
You also need someone who can present your claim effectively to the insurance company of the person whose negligence caused your loved one’s death. You can be sure that the company has investigators, adjusters and attorneys with a goal of taking advantage of their familiarity with the law and similar cases to pay as little as possible—or avoid liability altogether. You need someone with just as much knowledge and even more tenacity on your side.
Who Can Recover Damages
The law specifies who can recover for the loss of a loved one. When the victim is an adult, the spouse and his or her children may seek legal recovery. The spouse is required to share a portion of the proceeds with the children, but the law guarantees that he or she will receive at least a third of any recovery in a wrongful death action. If the victim is younger than 18, the parents have the right to recover damages. If the person is not survived by a spouse, child or parent, then the person’s estate has a right to sue on behalf of the next of kin.
Georgia law says the measure of damages for a wrongful death is “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.” A jury also can award damages for such intangible factors as the enjoyment and experience of living. Although the victim’s lifetime earning capacity can be quantified with the assistance of financial experts, the intangible factors can be difficult to measure. Juries usually are instructed to use their “enlightened conscience” to determine an appropriate award.
A separate action also can be filed by the victim’s estate to recover damages for the pain and suffering of the victim and for such economic costs as medical and funeral expenses.
A Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney Can Act as Your Guide
Wrongful death claims require special expertise in applying these laws, but the lawyers handling them also must be familiar with more general personal injury law. For example, the plaintiff still must show that the actions of the defendant caused the victim’s death and that the victim was less than 50 percent responsible for his or her injuries.
At the Dover Law Firm, we know how to present the case and win full value for the victim’s injuries and for his or her life. You can help us by contacting us promptly so that we can begin our investigation while physical evidence is still available and memories remain fresh. Call or e-mail one of our Georgia wrongful death attorneys today, even if all you are looking for at this point are answers to your questions.