When it comes to a wrongful death action, these claims are typically made to make up for losses (both financial and non-financial) brought about by the death of a family member. But first, let’s examine how wrongful death lawsuits operate and who has the authority to bring such claims.
Have you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party? Contact Ali Awad, ‘the CEO Lawyer,’ and his team of experienced personal injury attorneys at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm by calling (833) 254-2923 or contacting us online to receive your free and confidential case evaluation. Attorney Ali Awad, ‘the CEO Lawyer,’ established the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm and quickly turned it into one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country. If we take your case, you won’t pay anything until we win.
What is a Wrongful Death Action?
Historical Perspective. One person could not previously bring a civil lawsuit for the death of another person. A wrongful killer may be sentenced to prison or face other legal repercussions, but any civil remedy perishes with the victim. In other words, the decedent’s (the deceased’s) family was barred from suing for financial losses resulting from the death. Due to an unexpected consequence of this provision, when someone hurts someone else, the offender is usually financially better off if the victim passes away, either right away or at any point before a civil trial can be heard.
Modern Wrongful Death Actions Every state now has more lenient laws than the previous ones when it comes to receiving financial compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one. In addition, most wrongful death laws now permit a representative of the decedent or the decedent’s estate to file a lawsuit for civil damages, including compensation for loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress.
Compensation Differentiated Between Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
Who receives compensation and the sorts of compensation that are available following an accident are the primary distinctions between personal liability cases and wrongful death cases. In personal injury cases, the monetary award from the lawsuit is intended to reimburse the injured party for their suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. Contrarily, wrongful death lawsuits aim to make amends for the surviving family members. The decedent’s agony and suffering cannot be compensated, but the loss of consortium (love and intimacy) and financial assistance is sometimes recoverable in these actions. The decedent’s “estate,” or those with rights to his or her pay and legacy, usually spouses or children, carries out the legal claims since the decedent is not present to do so. These people file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person, and any financial compensation obtained as a result of the action will go to the estate.
Who May Bring a Case for Wrongful Death?
The specifics of who may file a lawsuit vary from state to state, despite the fact that all jurisdictions have statutes that codify the right to compensation for wrongful death. The two systems that wrongful death statutes have used the most will be examined in this section.
The “Lord Campbell’s Act,” passed by the British Parliament in 1846, served as the inspiration for the wrongful death laws that the majority of states have enacted. Although it may sound a touch cliche, the facts are essential for understanding the present wrongful death personal injury law landscape.
Only the named beneficiary may file a wrongful death lawsuit under American laws based on “Lord Campbell’s Act.” That refers to specific individuals (or a specific group of individuals) named in the statute, typically based on a person’s relationship to the deceased. For instance, some legislation names the decedent’s widow, widower, or child or children as statutory beneficiaries.
If any living members of the first class exist, the right of action is generally limited to those individuals, as the advantage to suit will often be restricted to that class. The right is transferred to members of the following class if there are no living members. A wrongful death claim cannot be made if there are no live members of any of the classes at the time of the victim’s death.
These are some examples of specified beneficiaries:
Close family members, such as spouses, children, adopted children, and parents of unmarried children;
Distant family members, such as siblings, grandparents, and domestic partners; and
Those who are financially dependent on the deceased or who suffer as a result of their loss.
The System for Loss to Estate
In certain areas, the only party eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for losses incurred due to the decedent’s death is the deceased’s estate.
The person in charge of the decedent’s estate often files this form of wrongful death litigation. The probate court appoints a personal representative to manage the decedent’s assets. This personal representative would file the lawsuit solely in their own name, but any money collected from the responsible party would be stored in a special trust and distributed to all named beneficiaries. Again, there will be differences in how each jurisdiction calculates the losses incurred.
Can a Sibling Sue for Wrongful Death?
Siblings cannot often file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. Therefore, siblings are not included in the list of those who can file a wrongful death claim set forth by state law. However, because every case is different, a wrongful death attorney can help you with the specifics of your situation.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Georgia?
Due to the fact that wrongful death cases include decedents (the deceased), other parties than the decedent may bring a lawsuit on their behalf. Depending on the particulars of the situation, eligibility may vary.
O.C.G.A. 51-4-5 enables the decedent’s estate administrator or executor to assert wrongful death claims in the absence of any other eligible parties.
Priority is given to the decedent’s spouse over all other parties.
Can the Decedent’s Family Members Seek Punitive Damages Against the At-fault Party?
Whether or not a family may be able to seek punitive damages will vary from case to case. However, it is important to note that most insurance policies will not cover punitive damages, leaving the negligent party to pay any punitive damages awarded out-of-pocket. A negligent party will need to have sufficient assets to cover a judgment if a claim for punitive damages is successful.
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths
When it comes to a wrongful death claim, it will always involve the negligence of a party, or parties, leading to a tragic accident that involves a fatality. Wrongful deaths are often seen in the following scenarios:
Nursing home negligence accidents
Construction site accidents
Deaths brought on by faulty products or inadequate warning labels
Deaths brought on by violence
What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim?
Physicians and hospitals may be sued for wrongful death in a variety of different situations. Unfortunately, hospitals are one of the riskiest environments for patients who are critically ill, and medical malpractice claims are not uncommon. Below, find some of the most common actions constituting medical malpractice that may lead to a wrongful death claim.
Wrong prescriptions being prescribed to patients
Foreign objects being left inside the body after surgery
Unhygienic conditions leading to infection and death
Treatments and/or surgery performed on the wrong patient
When Should I Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney?
Following the sudden accidental death of a loved one, families are often shocked and may be unsure of what steps to take next. The sooner you contact a wrongful death attorney, the quicker the attorney can help relieve some of your burdens. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be knowledgeable about the best actions to take following this kind of accident and will be able to provide you with instructions, as well as discuss your legal options with you and inform you of what to expect.
How Long Will a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
Numerous factors affect how long a wrongful death case lasts. However, in wrongful death cases in which both responsibility and the estate’s losses are clearly proven, the lawyers can reach a settlement without filing a lawsuit and receive probate court approval in a matter of months since the facts are straightforward.
Wrongful Death Law Firm in Atlanta
At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, our team is honored to stand up for those who have lost a loved one. We care about your fight for justice because we understand what you’re going through. Additionally, we can advise you on your eligibility to bring a wrongful death claim in Georgia. Therefore, get started with a free case evaluation by contacting our criminal death law firm right away. We work on a contingency basis, so there is no up-front cost to you.
Call Ali Awad, ‘the CEO Lawyer,’ and his experienced team of wrongful death attorneys today to receive a free, no-obligation consultation. We can assist you with exploring your legal options and avenues to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm by calling (833) 254-2923 or contacting us online. If we take your case, you won’t pay anything until we win.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
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Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
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