The death of a loved one can cause tremendous pain to you and others who cared for the deceased. A loss is even more difficult to bear when it is caused by a preventable accident or negligence. If you believe that the life of your loved one was ended due to an accident or intentional actions, there is a chance that you are entitled to compensation from the at-fault parties.
Through wrongful death lawsuits, family members can pursue compensation from the parties that caused the unexpected death of their loved one. By hiring an experienced Augusta wrongful death lawyer to process your claim, you increase the chances that you will be able to recover fair compensation from whoever was at fault. Our personal injury attorneys at Barrios Virgüez have tried many wrongful death cases, so contact us to get started with a free case evaluation.
Understand What Wrongful Death Means
In Georgia, the law defines “wrongful death” as any instance wherein a person’s death was caused by crime, criminal actions, negligent behavior, or a defectively manufactured piece of property.
Technically, wrongful death cases can and should be filed whenever a person dies due to the actions of another person or entity. Some specific cases that warrant a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Malpractice committed by a medical professional
- Negligent acts, such as avoidable car accidents
- Product defects that caused the death
- Criminal incidents that killed victims
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Augusta, call 678-888-2222
Common Accidents and Events Causing Wrongful Deaths
Under the worst conditions, almost any type of accident or incident has the potential to cause fatalities. For example, pedestrians can suffer fatal injuries when struck by a car while walking. Slip-and-fall victims can suffer fatal spinal cord injuries and brain trauma. Construction workers can suffer fatalities in crushing accidents, electrocutions, and many other types of events.
If you hope to demand justice for your loved one, your wrongful death attorney will need to carefully evaluate the type of accident your family member was involved in to can determine who is to blame. Some of the most common types of incidents that have the potential to result in wrongful death include:
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Manufacturing accidents
- Factory accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Taxi or bus accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents, including drowning
- Trampoline accidents
- Medical neglect and malpractice
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites and attacks
- Nursing home abuse
These are just a few examples of incidents that could result in death. It does not matter whether the liable party intended to cause your loved one’s injuries or did so accidentally. If the responsible party’s negligent or wrongful actions cause your family member’s passing, they should be held accountable accordingly.
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Only Certain People Are Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim
A civil wrongful death claim can be filed to recover compensation for the losses associated with the death of a family member. To successfully file, plaintiffs must submit sufficient evidence that proves that the defendant bears responsibility for their family member’s death. However, the law limits the family members who are eligible to file wrongful death lawsuits.
Individuals who are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The spouse of the deceased
- The child of the deceased (when the spouse is also deceased)
- The parents of the deceased (when both the children and spouse are deceased)
- The executor of the deceased’s estate (when no other family members have survived)
You may wonder if you can file a wrongful death claim if you are the cousin or sibling of someone who died recently. Unfortunately, you are not able to. Only the individuals listed previously are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
If you are one of the eligible family members, contact a wrongful death lawyer in Augusta, GA, at Barrios Virgüez to hold the responsible parties accountable for their role in the passing of your loved one.
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Compensatory Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
In civil claims, compensatory damages are losses that can be offered as compensation for the actual losses the plaintiff has experienced. Typical personal injury claims involve compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and other non-monetary losses, like pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Because the actual plaintiff is deceased in wrongful death cases, there is a slightly different range of damages that can be recovered through a claim. Damages in wrongful death lawsuits are broken into two separate categories, they include:
The Value of the Life of the Deceased
A life was lost due to another person’s negligence or illegal action. That life had value, and this portion of compensatory damages allows family members to be compensated for that loss of life. Some examples of damages that fall into this category include:
- Lost income, services, and benefits that the deceased could have earned if they continued their life
- Lost counsel, companionship, and care that may have been administered by the deceased if they had continued their life
In many cases, these damages can be difficult to quantify without making broad estimations. With the help of a talented wrongful death attorney in Augusta, GA, you can ensure that the amount you claim in this category of damages is accurate to the true value of your deceased family member’s life.
Financial Losses Associated with the Death of a Person
This category of damages is straightforward in that it simply offers compensation for specific expenses related to the deceased’s passing. Some losses that may be included are:
- Final expense costs, including burial or cremation
- Medical costs stemming from the injuries or illness of the deceased
- Other expenses that resulted from injuries or illness the plaintiff inflicted on the deceased
To seek compensation for this category of damages, you must be the executor who is responsible for handling the estate of the deceased.
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Wrongful Death Claim Time Limits
Much like all other types of lawsuits, wrongful death claims must be filed within a specific timeframe following the passing of the deceased. The legal time limit is stated under the statute of limitations. In Georgia, this time limit is two years after the death of your family member.
If you do not manage to file within this period, it is likely that neither you nor any other family member will have the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there are exceptions when criminal actions cause the death of your loved one.
Statute of Limitations in Criminal Wrongful Death Cases
Sometimes, criminal behavior leads to the death of someone’s family members. When criminal actions result in wrongful death, eligible family members have more time to file their wrongful death claims against the responsible parties. The two-year statute of limitations will not begin until the criminal case associated with the death has been fully resolved.
There is a six-year maximum to this rule, so if the case lasts for six years, the two-year statute of limitations will begin once that time has passed. In instances where the case does not take the full six years, the two-year statute of limitations starts as soon as the matter is resolved.
To Get Justice, Contact an Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney
Who you choose to represent you in your claim is incredibly important. That is why we suggest you consider scheduling a free case evaluation with Barrios Virgüez. Our talented team of wrongful death attorneys in Augusta understands how to navigate the intricate process of filing a wrongful death claim.
If you need to take your claim to court, you can trust a compassionate Augusta wrongful death lawyer at our firm to fight for your right to fair compensation. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, please reach out using the contact form on this page.
Call or text 678-888-2222 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form