Talk to a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Today.
Some car accidents end in tragedy, leaving loved ones to pick up the pieces. And while these are dark and difficult times, you should know your rights and legal options. You may feel overwhelmed by grief and emotion, but it’s essential to have someone advocate for your interests and help hold those at fault for your loved one’s death accountable.
If your loved one died in an Atlanta car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation to help with financial stress and costs associated with their passing. Let our wrongful death car accident lawyers review what happened and explain what’s next. At The Champion Firm, our compassion, experience, and unparalleled support can make a big difference after a fatal car accident so you and your family can grieve and heal properly.
Call 404-596-8044 for a free, no-risk consultation.
Why Choose Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers?
Our skill and assertive advocacy after a fatal car crash have helped many victims’ families get the full compensation and justice they need.
The Champion Firm Difference:
- The Champion Firm has recovered Over $100 Million in wrongful death and personal injury settlements and verdicts.
- We never pressure you to settle for less than you deserve. We’re prepared to bring your case to court if it’s the right move.
- The Champion Firm provides prompt updates and is always available to answer questions or concerns.
Fatal Car Accidents in Atlanta
In a split second, lives can be forever changed. A fatal car accident can leave a trail of devastation, and you may be wondering what will happen next.
First, the party responsible for your loved one’s death may face criminal charges depending on the details. For example, if your loved one died in a drunk driving accident, you may expect the impaired driver to face DUI charges. But even if they are not charged, they may face other charges associated with the wreck.
You do not need to wait until the prosecutor decides whether they will press charges or for a criminal case to be resolved. The criminal case, if any, may have little to no bearing on your ability to pursue civil action against the liable party.
Common Car Accidents Resulting in Death
While every car accident has the potential to be deadly, there are several types that more commonly result in fatalities than other Atlanta car crashes. Here are some of the most common car accidents that can tragically lead to a loss of life:
- Head-On Collisions
- T-Bone Crashes
- Rear-End Accidents
- High-Speed Accidents
- Rollover Car Accidents
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Pedestrian Vs. Car Accidents
- Semi-Truck Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
This list is not exhaustive; various other factors result in a fatal car wreck.
Fatal Negligence & Wrongful Death Laws
For your family to get justice for the death of your loved one, you need to figure out who is responsible for causing the fatal car accident in Atlanta that took their life. Many parties could share fault for a car crash, and your attorney must examine the details to uncover the truth.
Here are some parties that may be responsible for a fatal car accident:
- Negligent drivers
- Vehicle parts producers and distributors
- Restaurants or bars that served alcohol to an intoxicated driver
- Government agencies
- Safety inspectors
- Other third parties
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Car Accident Claim?
Once identified, you must be sure you have the authority to file the wrongful death claim.
Under Georgia law, only specific family members of the decedent have the right to pursue damages.
The decedent’s surviving spouse has the first opportunity to pursue a case. But the decedent’s surviving children can file the claim if there is no surviving spouse.
If the decedent had no surviving spouse or children, their parents might have the right to file. Finally, if the decedent’s parents are no longer alive, a representative of the deceased’s estate would have the right to pursue the case.
How to Prove Negligence after a Fatal Auto Accident
Once you identify the party responsible, you must show how their negligence caused the deadly car accident and your loved one’s fatal injuries. This means demonstrating they were negligent and that action (or inaction) resulted in the accident that caused your loss.
To prove negligence in a flat car accident case, you must demonstrate the following:
- The defendant owed your loved one a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care by failing to meet that obligation
- The breach of duty caused your loved one’s death or fatal injuries
- Your loved one suffered injuries that ultimately caused their family substantial damages.
For example, if you lost a loved one in a high-speed collision, the alleged driver at fault would have owed your loved one a duty of care by adhering to the speed limit but breached that duty by going too fast. If recklessness caused the accident and resulting injuries, you may be able to establish negligence.
Legal Options after a Fatal Accident
Once you know that a negligent driver caused your loved one’s fatal car accident, you’ll need to decide how to proceed and whether to file a deadly car accident insurance claim or a wrongful death lawsuit. And while navigating the legal system and insurance process after a fatal accident can be overwhelming, these options represent the best way to recover financially and, in some cases, gain closure after a death.
Fatal Car Accident Insurance Claims
These claims typically involve negotiating with insurance companies to cover funeral expenses, medical bills, and other financial losses incurred by the deceased person’s family or estate. However, Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and refusing to pay out on claims. For this reason, you should expect the insurance company to do everything possible to avoid having to pay out your full settlement.
One of the most common ways insurance companies will take advantage of families in need is by making a lowball offer. These offers rarely, if ever, accurately reflect the value of what your loved one and your family are going through. Your attorney should be prepared to fight back and negotiate full and fair restitution.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Sometimes the insurance process works as it should after a deadly car crash, and victims recover what they need through a negotiated wrongful death settlement.
But sometimes, negotiations break down, or the insurance coverage is insufficient. In these situations, you may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These are legal actions filed by the surviving family members or representatives to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation for the financial and emotional losses the deceased person’s loved ones suffered.
Depending on the circumstances, you may want to explore one or both options, so having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer is crucial. An attorney can provide invaluable support, guidance, and representation throughout the insurance claim and litigation process, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard.
Compensation After Atlanta Fatal Car Accidents
Family members seeking compensation after a fatal car accident in Georgia may be entitled to specific damages as part of their case.
To start, you can seek compensation for the decedent’s medical expenses and their funeral and burial expenses. Your family may also be able to recover lost wages, lost future benefits, and compensation for diminished earning capacity.
But you also have the right to be repaid for damages that do not have a fixed monetary value. These are commonly referred to as non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages include:
- Loss of guidance and support
- Loss of advice and counsel
- Loss of companionship and love
- The decedent’s physical pain and suffering
There is also the possibility that you could be awarded punitive damages. Georgia courts do not award punitive damages often. They are awarded when the court system feels it necessary to punish the liable party beyond their compensatory damages.
Punitive damages is meant to send a message that actions as reprehensible as these will not be tolerated.
Georgia puts a cap on punitive damages of up to $250,000. However, there can be some exceptions depending on your case. For example, there is no cap on punitive damages if the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How Fatal Car Accident Damages are Divided
When your family is awarded damages after a fatal car crash, they are divided according to the terms of Georgia’s statute. The surviving spouse would be awarded the full amount if the decedent was married but had no children.
If the decedent had children and a surviving spouse, the amount would be divided evenly, with the spouse obtaining no less than one-third of the total award.
Suppose the decedent has no surviving spouse or children, and the parents pursue a wrongful death claim. In that case, the parents can be awarded the full amount of damages to be divided evenly among the parents. One of the parents may be able to petition the court for an equitable division of the damages based on their relationship with the child and the support they provided the child.
For example, one parent may have been absent from the child’s life and never provided support. In that scenario, a court may award most or all of the damages to the surviving parent who raised the child and provided financial support.
When a representative of the estate pursues the wrongful death claim, damages are divided according to either the intestacy statute if there is no will or based on the terms of the will if the decedent had an existing will in place.
Wrongful Death & Survival Claims
One of the biggest questions families have after a fatal accident is filing a survival action or wrongful death claim. Survival action claims belong to the estate for everything before the decedent’s death. This includes the decedent’s medical expenses, physical pain and suffering before passing, and funeral expenses.
But wrongful death relates to the value of life from the decedent’s perspective. It includes non-economic intangible values such as lost enjoyment of life, lost companionship, affection, and society with family members. Watch this brief video to learn more about the difference between estate and wrongful death claims.
Atlanta Fatal Accident FAQs
We understand you may have questions about losing a loved one in a deadly car accident. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your specific concerns.
Do Fatal Car Accidents Have a Time Limit?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including fatal car accident claims, is generally two years. However, the statute of limitations start, and end can vary based on various circumstances. For example, wrongful death claims typically run from the date of death. Do not make the mistake of risking your settlement by missing critical deadlines. Failure to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out will result in a dismissal.
Can Grandparents File a Wrongful Death Claim in GA?
No. Grandparents, cousins, nieces, siblings, and other family members that are not the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, or parents do not have the authority to pursue compensation through a fatal car accident claim. The deceased’s estate can pursue the claim if there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent. This would be done through somebody appointed by a probate court as a representative of the estate.
Can I Sue Multiple Parties for a Fatal Auto Accident?
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to sue multiple parties, such as the driver, vehicle manufacturer, or government entity responsible for road maintenance. Our attorneys can help you assess the details and how to proceed.
Will I Need to Go to Court?
Not necessarily. Many cases are resolved through negotiations or settlements outside of court. However, taking the case to court may be necessary if a fair agreement cannot be reached.
How long does a fatal car accident case take to resolve?
The timeframe to settle or resolve a fatal car accident case varies based on case complexity, evidence, and court schedules. It can range from several months to years.
How Much Does a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
The Champion firm takes Atlanta fatal car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only receive payment if we recover compensation on your behalf. This removes your risk and incentivizes the attorney to develop the strongest possible case.
What Our Clients Have to Say
Dajaneshia | Car Accident
Michael | Car Accident
Natalia | Premises Liability
Robyn | Slip and Fall
Jake | Car Accident
Sue | Slip and Fall
Judith | Medical Malpractice
Champion Firm Client | Motor Vehicle Accidents
Wanda | Wrongful Death
Champion Firm Client | Motor Vehicle Accident
Walter | Motor Vehicle Accident
Michael | Slip & Fall
Brent | Motorcycle Accident
Sandra | Car Accident
Julie | Wrongful Death
Cynthia | Car Accident
Christy | Car Accident
Andy | Wrongful Death
Justin | Truck Accident
Speak to a Fatal Car Accident Attorney in Atlanta
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, we’re ready to help prove negligence and get justice for your family. The Champion Firm is here to answer your questions and explain what’s next.