Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers in Georgia
Similar to personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death suits occur when a person or entity has been negligent or reckless and resulted in harm to another. Wrongful death also covers intentional acts such as a deliberate murder. The principle supporting wrongful death claims is that in addition to injuring the person who has died due to another's recklessness, negligence or deliberate acts, the responsible party has also injured those people who were dependents of the deceased. This includes not only those who depended on the decedent for financial support, but also those who depended on him or her for emotional support.
If you have questions about wrongful death claims, contact one of our experience Georgia wrongful death attorneys at 706-508-4292
Wrongful Death Damages and Settlements
If you have experienced the death of a loved one such as a parent, spouse or child, due to the recklessness or negligence of another person or entity, you and your family may be entitled to seek monetary compensation for damages.
Damages may include pain and suffering, future lost wages, medical bills, and burial or funeral expenses. The amount of damages can be extremely difficult to determine. The most common process that courts use to measure loss in monetary terms for wrongful death claims is called pecuniary damages.
The court determines the appropriate compensation for the financial and emotional loss caused by the wrongful death. Often, survivors sue for the amount of medical bills incurred by the care of the deceased and the expense of burial. However, because the surviving family is regarded as having sustained injury from the absence of their loved one, the court must take into account compensation for their pain and suffering. They also may determine the decedent's future income and earning potential to compensate for what they would have earned had they lived, how much they had saved or invested, and how important their income was to the financial security of the survivors.
Wrongful Death Resources
To learn more about personal injury, wrongful death, prevention tips, grief resources, accident statistics and medical care laws, please visit our wrongful death resources page.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Georgia
Many legal actions have a time frame restriction or statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. Although in the case of wrongful death, loved ones are focused primarily on their emotional pain, it is important to contact a wrongful death lawyer or personal injury attorney as soon as you can so that you do not lose the option to file. The Statute of Limitations varies from state to state. Our wrongful death lawyers at McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham can answer your questions about statutes and claims. We serve personal injury and wrongful death clients from Atlanta, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The laws vary from state to state, even when the states are very close. For example, the government of the state of Georgia may apply different laws and statues to wrongful death than the government of Tennessee does. However, most states have enacted a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the relatives of a person who died as a result of a wrongful act. In some states the plaintiff may only be the spouse or children of the deceased. In others, relatives such as grandparents are eligible to bring suit against the responsible party. There are also additional restrictions imposed that differ from state to state. It is important to contact an attorney to find out about your state law to determine if any other relatives would be entitled to portions of the settlement.
Civil Wrongful Death Cases vs. Criminal Cases
Criminal cases can only be brought against an individual or entity by a government body. A prosecutor makes the case against the accused and seeks punishment such as a prison sentence. Prosecutors are obligated to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard burden of proof in criminal trials.
Civil cases can be filed by anyone who has had their civil or private rights violated by another individual or entity. A civil trial does not automatically guarantee a person is guilty under the law beyond a reasonable doubt.
For example, in the prominent murder trial of O.J. Simpson, he was not found guilty in the criminal proceedings, but the decedents' families were able to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit and were awarded monetary damages. This is because civil cases do not have to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." In a civil case, the standard burden of proof is "by a preponderance of the evidence." Basically, this means that 51% or more of the evidence must support the claims brought by the survivors.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney or wrongful death lawyer, send an email to the Georgia and Chattanooga wrongful death attorneys of McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham, or call us at 706-508-4292.