Wrongful Death Attorney in Canton, GA
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Lost a Loved One? Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help.
Losing a loved one is one of the most tragic experiences you will ever endure. If someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct was the cause of your family member’s death, you could take legal action with a personal injury attorney.
Although recovering compensation will not bring your loved one back or make up for the devastation your family is feeling, it can ease your loss and help secure a brighter future.
You should work with a dedicated wrongful death attorney to recover the compensation you deserve. Do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers in Canton, GA. Our law firm offers free, no-obligation consultations and also works on a contingency fee basis. Call 770-874-1755 today.
How Does Georgia Define Wrongful Death?
Georgia law considers wrongful death in any instance where another party causes the death of another. This could be due to negligence from a car wreck, slip and fall, defective products, or medical malpractice.
It does not matter whether the defendant intended to cause your loved one’s death or did so accidentally. Georgia law allows for a wrongful death claim to be brought if the defendant’s conduct was negligent.
Common causes of wrongful death claims in Cherokee County include:
Fatal Car Accidents
Any unsafe driving behaviors have the potential to cause fatal car accident injuries. Some examples of risk driving include:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Following too closely
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
Fatal Truck Accidents
The massive size of 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles makes them some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roads. When unsafe driving or a negligently maintained truck causes a collision, anyone encountering a commercial truck could suffer fatal injuries.
Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death across the United States. Examples of medical malpractice could include birth injuries, failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, anesthesia errors, failure to treat, surgical errors, medication mistakes, and more.
When products malfunction or are defective, they could cause life-threatening or fatal injuries. Nearly anyone involved in the distribution chain of certain products can be held accountable when their products are unsafe.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Canton?
Only specific parties can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia. These parties are listed in order of priority as to who has standing to bring the claim:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- If there is no surviving spouse, then the surviving child or children
- If there is no surviving spouse or children, then the decedent’s parents can bring the claim
- If none of the above survived the decedent, then the administrator of the decedent’s estate can file the claim
Any damages awarded in a wrongful death claim are distributed according to the wrongful death statute. Specifically, if a spouse has no children, the spouse is entitled to the full proceeds from the claim. If there is a spouse and children, the spouse and children share equally in the damages recovered, with the spouse entitled to no less than 1/3.
If no spouse exists, the children are entitled to split the proceeds equally. If there is no spouse and no children, the parents share equally in the damages. And last, if the estate is the one bringing the claim, the money goes into the estate. From there, it is divided according to the terms of a decedent’s will if they had one. If there is no will, then Georgia’s intestacy laws determine how the money is distributed.
Are Wrongful Death Claims Linked 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.
However, you can take justice into your own hands by filing a civil lawsuit. The burden of proof is different in civil claims. You do not need to prove the defendant’s liability or causation beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, liability is based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means the evidence we present will convince the jury that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for causing your loved one’s death.
In a civil matter, anyone found liable for your loved one’s death must pay damages to the person bringing the wrongful death claim.
What to Do After a Wrongful Death in Cherokee County
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 medical bills, relevant photographs and video recordings, and communications such as text messages and e-mails.
- Request that an autopsy be conducted if required as part of the investigative process if the cause of death is not clear.
- Make sure you file your claim before the two-year wrongful death statute of limitations expires under Georgia law.
- Hire an experienced Canton wrongful death attorney 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 wrongful death attorney handles the legal details of your case.
We fight to get your family what it needs ASAP.
Who’s Liable in a Georgia Wrongful Death Case?
Establishing liability in a wrongful death claim is crucial. Your Canton wrongful 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, some of the parties who could share the blame include:
- Negligent drivers
- Auto parts designers and manufacturers
- Government agencies
- Medical providers
- Property owners or occupiers
- Other third parties
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.
Damages in a Canton Wrongful Death Claim
When your wrongful death attorney in Canton is calculating the value of your claim, we will need to consider the full value of life. Your family should be compensated for how the decedent’s life was affected by their fatal injuries. 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. You can rely on your wrongful death lawyer to carefully investigate the damages to ensure your family is compensated fairly. Georgia law provides that the damages are the full value of the decedent’s life from the deceased’s point of view. Unlike some other states, the damages are not measured from the family members’ perspective regarding what they lost from the decedent’s untimely death.
The full value of the deceased’s life has two components: economic and non-economic. The economic damages are based on what the decedent would have earned and the economic value of their life based on a normal life expectancy. In other words, the law looks at what the decedent would have earned but for their early death due to the defendant’s wrongful conduct.
The non-economic component looks at the intangible value of life. This includes the decedent’s enjoyment of life and what they lost out on because of their early death. An experienced wrongful death attorney can work to gather evidence and witnesses to prove the value of your loved one’s life.
Wrongful Death Damages v. Estate Damages
There are two distinct claims when a person is negligently or intentionally killed. One is the wrongful death claim. The other is an estate claim, also commonly referred to as a survival action. The estate claim includes all damages from the time of the injury until the deceased’s death, such as pre-death pain and suffering, fright, awareness of impending death, medical expenses, and lost wages.
The estate also has the right to recover damages for funeral expenses. The damages that go into the estate are distributed according to the terms of a will if there is one. If there is no will, then Georgia’s intestacy laws determine how the money is distributed.
Punitive damages are not recoverable in a wrongful death action. The rationale for this rule is that the wrongful death statute is punitive. However, punitive damages can be recovered under the estate’s claim.
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How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Canton, GA
You move quickly if you want to pursue a wrongful death action. The statute of limitations has already started to count. The more you delay, the more likely evidence will get lost or destroyed, and witnesses’ memories will fade. Your attorney needs to get started on your case as quickly as possible. You can focus on spending time with your family and mourning your loss while we handle the legal process.
Many wrongful death cases settle without a trial. However, you should have an attorney who will prepare the case as if it is going to trial. This will help ensure that you get the best possible result.
Liability in wrongful death claims must be based on a preponderance of the evidence. The evidence we present to support your case must prove to the jury that the defendant is more than likely responsible for causing your family member’s death or fatal injuries. The type of evidence that is needed depends on the type of case. For example, the types of evidence required in a car wreck will not necessarily be the same as those needed for a medical malpractice claim.
Examples of the evidence that could be used to support your wrongful death case include:
- Safety inspection logs
- Photos or video recordings of the incident
- Photos or videos of the injuries
- Copies of the decedent’s medical records and autopsy results
- Copies of the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration test results
- Copies of the defendant’s cell phone records, text messages, and voicemails
- Copies of the defendant’s social media posts
- Reports from accident reconstructionists
- Police and crash reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony
- Copies of criminal charges the defendant is facing
If you believe your relative died because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or malicious behavior, call a wrongful death lawyer immediately. You should learn more about your legal options.
Georgia law determines how wrongful death damages are divided. If there is a spouse and no children, the spouse is entitled to the full damages. If there is a spouse and children, the damages are shared evenly between the spouse and surviving children, but the spouse gets no less than 1/3 of the damages. If there is no spouse and no children, the deceased’s parents have the claim and get the full amount of damages. If there are no surviving parents, the deceased’s estate typically brings the claim, and the damages would be distributed through the estate. If there is a will, the damages are distributed according to the will. Without a will, they would be distributed according to Georgia’s intestacy laws.
Get Help from Our Canton Wrongful Death Lawyers
When you need an experienced legal advocate to help you through some of the most challenging times, do not hesitate to contact a wrongful death attorney in Canton, GA, at The Champion Firm. With our firm's strong track record of success and dedication to our clients, you can rely on our team to demand the justice your family deserves.
You can reach at 770-874-1755 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
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