Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney
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Don’t be taken advantage of after a tragic loss. Our wrongful death lawyers will help you seek justice after the negligent death of a loved one.
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Lost a Loved One? Our Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help.
When someone you love dies due to someone else’s negligence, you may find yourself dealing with challenges. Not only have you lost a loved one, but you may also have substantial expenses: their medical bills and funeral costs, replacing their income, or replacing the services they provided for your family.
Recovering compensation for their wrongful death will not bring your loved one back, but it can ease your loss and help you find a brighter future.
Call 404-596-8044 to speak with an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer at The Champion Firm. Our Atlanta injury lawyers can help you secure compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death. We offer free initial consultations, work on a contingency fee basis, and have recovered more than $100 million for our clients.
Georgia Wrongful Death Laws
Under Georgia law, wrongful death is any instance when another party causes the death of another. Common causes and examples of wrongful death include defective products, medical malpractice, negligence, or intentional acts, including drunk driving or assault.
It doesn’t matter if the defendant meant to cause your loved one’s death. They’d still be alive if they hadn’t committed the neglectful act that took your loved one’s life.
WATCH: Is there a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims in Georgia?
WATCH: How do you determine the value of a wrongful death case?
Fatal Car Accidents
Unsafe driving behaviors could potentially cause fatal car accidents. Actions like speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence or fatigued could lead to fatal car crashes.
Fatal Truck Accidents
Large commercial vehicles pose a threat of injuries or fatalities when operating on the road. The size difference between an 18-wheeler and other passenger vehicles means there could be devastating results in a collision. Truck accidents could be caused by unsafe driving, defective parts, improper training or background checks, or hazardous road conditions. These accidents can be deadly.
Healthcare providers are expected to make our lives better. However, mistakes can happen, and some medical malpractice cases can be deadly. In fact, some studies have found medical errors as one of the country’s leading causes of death. Examples include birth injuries, failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, anesthesia errors, failure to treat, surgical errors, medication mistakes, and more.
When products fail or don’t work as advertised, they could injure or kill their users. It’s possible to hold nearly everyone involved in the product’s development accountable for any deaths the product causes.
Can Wrongful Death Claims Be Attached to Criminal Charges?
Wrongful death claims are not the same as criminal charges the liable party could face for causing your family member’s death. The local law enforcement and criminal justice system will pursue criminal charges if any apply.
Wrongful death claims in Atlanta will be handled as civil lawsuits. That means the burden of proof will differ from those prosecutors need in criminal cases. You won’t have to prove the defendant is liable beyond a reasonable doubt. Liability is based on a preponderance of the evidence.
The evidence presented will need to convince the jury the defendant is more than likely responsible for your loved one’s death.
In a civil matter, anyone found liable for your loved one’s death will be compelled to compensate your family for the damages they sustained. A ruling in your family’s favor doesn’t include criminal penalties. Those could arise in a case brought by prosecutors.
WATCH: Who can bring a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
Not every individual who had a relationship with a wrongful death victim can legally file a lawsuit. To file a wrongful death claim, you must have suffered damage because of the individual’s death. In the state of Georgia, individuals who can file a wrongful death suit include:
The Deceased’s Spouse
Under Georgia wrongful death law, the victim’s surviving spouse is the first person who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the couple had minor children at the time of the victim’s death, the spouse must also represent the interests of these children in the lawsuit. If the spouse’s case is successful, the children will be awarded a portion of the damages.
The Deceased’s Children
If the deceased individual does not have a surviving spouse, the individual’s children have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the suit is successful, the damages will be divided evenly among the children.
Surviving Parents of the Deceased
If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse or children who are able to file a lawsuit, a surviving parent can file a claim.
If no surviving spouse, children, or parents exist—or if surviving parents have the right to file a claim but elect not to—the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In such cases, damages awarded become the property of the estate and will be passed to the deceased person’s beneficiaries.
Damages You Can Recover in an Atlanta Wrongful Death Claim
When your wrongful death attorney in Atlanta is calculating your claim’s value, we will need to consider the full value of life. Your family will not be able to recover compensation for your damages, but rather the economic and non-economic damages of the decedent.
Wrongful Death Damages & Losses
There are specific damages that could be recovered in a wrongful death claim. Your wrongful death attorney can scrutinize your losses to ensure your family is compensated fairly. Examples of these wrongful death damages could include:
- The decedent’s physical pain and suffering before their death
- The decedent’s medical expenses
- The decedent’s funeral and burial cost
- The decedent’s lost wages, employee benefits, and potential future earnings
Punitive Damages in Atlanta Wrongful Death Cases
Punitive damages are also commonly referred to as exemplary or vindictive damages. These are often awarded when the Georgia wrongful death courts find the defendant’s conduct intentional, grossly negligent, or egregious.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for their negligent or reckless behavior. They are not meant to compensate your family. They are not awarded in every case. You should never rely on being awarded punitive damages. However, such an award could dramatically increase the total value of your claim.
Standard of Proof for Punitive Damages
Punitive damages require a standard of proof based on “clear and convincing evidence.” This evidence will show the defendant engaged in wanton, malicious, or willful misconduct in your loved one’s wrongful death.
Judgment Caps in Georgia
Georgia wrongful death law does not limit the punitive damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim. There are certain accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents and premises liability claims, with a cap of $250,000 in punitive damages.
If the defendant intended to physically injure or kill your loved one, punitive damages will not be capped.
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Our Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorneys Maximize Compensation
Our wrongful death attorneys at The Champion Firm are here to handle every aspect of your case. We will investigate the accident, find evidence, identify anyone who shares responsibility, and work with the insurance company. We will calculate the value of your damages so your family can be compensated fairly.
You can rely on our team to build a powerful case against the liable party to leave little doubt in the minds of the judge and jury that the defendant is responsible for causing your loved one’s death.WATCH: How much is my personal injury case worth?
It’s critical to establish liability in a wrongful death claim. Your accidental death attorney will need to carefully evaluate how your loved one passed away and the accident they were involved in to determine who is responsible.
For example, if your loved one passed away in a fatal car accident involving alcohol, other people besides the driver could share the responsibility.
Some of the parties who could share the blame include:
- Auto parts designers and manufacturers
- Bars, restaurants, nightclubs, convenience store owners, or liquor stores
- Government agencies
- The Georgia Department of Transportation
- The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
- The city of Atlanta
- Other third parties
Conversely, if your loved one passed away in a premises liability accident, we would know to consider the property owner’s liability. Our thorough investigation into the cause of your loved one’s death will reveal all liable parties so you can ensure they are fully held accountable.
In the aftermath of your family member’s death, there are specific steps you can take to make sure the at-fault party is brought to justice. These include:
- Maintaining copies of documents regarding your family member’s death, such as hospital bills, photos of fatal injuries, and correspondence between you and the insurance company
- Allow an autopsy to be conducted if required as part of the investigative process
- Make sure you file your claim before the two-year wrongful death statute of limitations expires under Georgia law
- Hire an experienced wrongful death attorney in Atlanta to start building a compelling case against those responsible for causing your family member’s death
- Take time to grieve the loss of your loved one while your attorney handles the legal details of your case.
You must file immediately if you want to pursue a wrongful death action in Atlanta. The statute of limitations has already begun counting down. Your wrongful death attorney will need to work quickly in order to file a claim within this deadline. You can focus on spending time with your family and mourning your loss while we handle the legalities of your case.
Before filing a wrongful death claim, we will calculate the value of your loved one’s damages and determine whether you are able to file a claim with the insurance company. We will carefully establish liability and attempt negotiations with the insurance company to avoid going to trial.
We might also attend mediation or arbitration as part of our pre-trial negotiations to avoid bringing your case to court. However, if the insurance company will not sufficiently cover your damages, we will be prepared to try your case before a judge and jury.
Liability in wrongful death claims must be based on a preponderance of the evidence. We will need enough evidence to prove to the judge and jury that the defendant is more than likely responsible for causing your loved one’s death.
How your loved one was killed will determine what evidence we need. Examples of the evidence that could be used to support your wrongful death case include:
- Copies of the decedent’s medical records and autopsy results
- Copies of the defendant’s blood alcohol
- Copies of the defendant’s cell phone records
- Copies of the defendant’s social media posts
- Eyewitness statements
- Video of the accident
- Safety inspection logs
- Photos of your loved one’s fatal injuries
- Reports from accident reconstructionists
- Police reports and crash reports
- Expert testimony
- Copies of any pending criminal charges
concentration test results
Our Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorneys Will Fight for You
Our wrongful death lawyers prepare for everything. Whether we deal with a reluctant insurer during a claim or represent you in a wrongful death lawsuit, whatever path we take, we pursue fair compensation and a sense of justice. Contact our Atlanta injury lawyers today at 404-596-8044 by phone, text, or chat. We don’t charge upfront fees unless we win.
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