Wrongful death lawsuits are difficult to win, so do not go into the process on your own. By calling Barrios Virgüez to speak to an experienced Duluth wrongful death lawyer, you can boost the odds of your claim being successful. A Duluth personal injury lawyer at our firm will also ensure that you recover the fairest and most reasonable settlement available to you.
Defining “Wrongful Death”
Georgia law dictates that a “wrongful death” is defined as any case wherein the death of a person results from criminal behavior, negligence, or defectively manufactured property. In short, wrongful death cases can be filed when a person’s death was caused by another person or entity’s actions. Examples of cases where a wrongful death claim would be reasonable include the following:
- Medical malpractice
- Negligent incidents like car accidents
- Defective product-related deaths
- Criminal actions that led to the death
Wrongful death is a devastating blow to any family, and it often means that someone else is responsible for the losses you have suffered. Yet, as hard as it may be to express what occurred and navigate the legal options you face, we encourage you to do so as it is the only way to hold those at fault accountable for your losses. You can expect our wrongful death attorneys to work hard to prove your rights to compensation in these cases.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Duluth, call 678-888-2222
How do Wrongful Death Claims Work?
Unlike criminal prosecution, which requires proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, civil wrongful death claims only require the plaintiff to provide sufficient evidence showing that the defendant is primarily responsible for a person’s death. Though, in order to file a wrongful death case, you must have strong ties to the deceased. People who are eligible to file wrongful death claims include:
- The surviving spouse of the person who died
- The child of the deceased (if there is no surviving spouse)
- The parents of the deceased (if no children or spouse survived)
- The executor of the deceased person’s estate (if no family members survived)
Unfortunately, people such as siblings, cousins, or other family members are not allowed to file wrongful death claims under Georgia law. Only the individuals listed previously can file on behalf of the deceased have the right to file a claim. If you are unsure if you have the right to pursue compensation after the death of your family member, we encourage you to reach out to us now to learn more about the legal options available.
Duluth Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me 678-888-2222
What Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death claims are filed to recover damages from the defendant. These damages are determined based on the losses claimed by the plaintiffs. There are two primary types of losses that one can pursue through a wrongful death claim in Georgia including:
- The value of the life of the deceased, which includes Lost wages, services, and benefits that may have been earned if the deceased had lived and lost companionship, counsel, and care that the deceased may have provided if they lived
- Financial losses related to the death, such as medical expenses related to the deceased person’s injuries or illness, funeral expenses, such as burial costs, and other relevant expenses that resulted from the injuries or illness of the deceased
Note that the second category of losses can only be claimed by the executor, who is responsible for the deceased person’s estate. Keep in mind that these are not necessarily funds that are paid to the family but to the estate, which means they will go to pay for those costs outright. You may not recover all of these costs and damages yourself unless you have already paid for these costs out of your pocket.
How Wrongful Death Settlements Are Paid Out
Wrongful death settlements can be paid out in multiple ways, depending on how you and your Duluth wrongful death attorney have approached your case and the type of accident that claimed your family member’s life. When you speak to our legal team, we can provide you with more insight and guidance into the rights you have in this area. Our team will provide you with some insight into each of the following areas.
Before diving into that, consider, though, what this death means to you beyond the emotional connection. For example, how did this person contribute to your life financially? Did they provide for any specific long-term expectations for you, such as an inheritance?
A key goal we have is to fight for compensation at the highest level, and we can do that by filing for an insurance settlement, but that is also not always enough. There are times when you may also deserve more than the insurance company can or will pay, and that is why we turn to lawsuits as a second option. You may need to file with an insurance company in some situations.
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For example, if you lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident, you may have the right to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. Additionally, you may also be able to file a claim with the decedent’s insurance company if they purchased no-fault insurance coverage. However, insurance may not be enough.
The insurance company likely only covers damage to the vehicle and the decedent’s medical expenses. The remaining losses may need to be recouped in another way. Fortunately, when you file a wrongful death action in civil court, you can recover your damages without being restricted by insurance limitations.
Insurance also often has a coverage limit. If the losses you have extend beyond that, you may need to move forward with a lawsuit to get additional compensation. Insurance settlements may be enough in some situations.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When you pursue a wrongful death claim at trial, you can recover damages the insurance company does not cover. For example, if the liable party only had $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, but the decedent’s medical expenses exceeded $250,000, the insurance company would likely only pay a maximum of $50,000. These are additional costs that you should be paid for, though.
This means there would be an additional $200,000 in medical bills that need to be paid. When you go to trial, you can seek this extra $200,000. However, you cannot be paid for damages twice. Any compensation you recover through an insurance claim will not be available through your wrongful death lawsuit.
One of the tasks we will provide to you throughout this process is to determine what all of your rights are. We encourage you to reach out to us today to learn what your options may be. Most of the time, we can work with you to extend your coverage with proof of the loss.
The Time Limit on Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia
As with any other type of lawsuit, there is a time period that you are required to file your wrongful death claim. This time period is decided by a law called the statute of limitations. Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years, beginning the day the deceased passed away, and not filing within this timeframe will result in family members being unable to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Statute of Limitations for Criminal Cases
When a criminal case results in wrongful death, family members have more time to file their claims. This is because the statute of limitations is suspended as the criminal case is litigated. The two-year statute of limitations starts once the case is fully resolved, and there is a six-year maximum on the suspension of the statute of limitations before the resolution of the case.
Examples of Wrongful Deaths
You are likely distraught by the death of your loved one, but filing a wrongful death claim will help you obtain some form of justice. Before you can file your claim, you should find out if the situation that caused your loved one to die qualifies as wrongful death. While you will need to speak to a wrongful death lawyer in Duluth, GA, at Barrios Virgüez to learn exactly whether or not you are eligible to file.
Wrongful death is not always applicable, even when your loved one died as a result of another person’s mistakes. Sometimes, mistakes are not uncommon and are a part of the situation. Yet, if there is any proof that negligence occurred, we will fight to protect your rights.
Are you unsure if your loved one’s death was a wrongful death? We can help you find out. Here are some examples of these losses:
When a passenger or commercial vehicle collides with another vehicle or structure, the results are often devastating. If your loved one died in such an accident, the at-fault party may be subject to a wrongful death lawsuit. Even if there were no other drivers involved, negligence or faulty products may have also contributed to the accident, warranting a wrongful death claim.
When pedestrians are struck by vehicles, the damage to the unprotected person is often significant. Often, these accidents result in the death of the pedestrian. This is incredibly common in high-traffic areas like school zones, although these deadly accidents can happen anywhere.
If a doctor or other medical practitioner was negligent in their actions or caused an error that led to death, they could be liable. Wrongful death claims are typically filed when misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, prescription errors, or surgical errors occur. Medical malpractice can occur for other reasons as well.
Get Justice for the Wrongful Death of Your Loved One
While money will not bring back your deceased loved one, it will make it easier for you to recover from the consequences of their death. An experienced Duluth wrongful death lawyer at Barrios Virgüez can offer you the compassion and support you need to get through these difficult times. To get in touch with a wrongful death attorney in Duluth, GA, use the contact form on this page or call our office to schedule a free consultation today.