Wrongful Death Attorney
Updated May 2021
How a Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
A wrongful death attorney is not someone you want to talk to. Fact. Unfortunately, people are wrongfully killed by the actions of companies and other people every day. When this happens the laws of Georgia are here to support families and you are entitled to claim for “the full value of the life of the decedent”. It is important to be aware that Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act says you must (usually) file your claim within 2 years of death. If you or a loved one has suffered an accident in the workplace, you can also talk to us about workmans comp for injuries at work.
The most common cause of a wrongful death lawsuit comes from accidents at work. In 2019, the state of Georgia reported 207 deaths caused by injury in the workplace. This is likely to be higher in 2020 if COVID-19 deaths are added to the final report. Both in Georgia and across the nation, the number of workplace deaths seems to be increasing meaning this is a tragedy that more families are facing.
The majority of Georgia’s workplace deaths happen in the private construction industry sector and people working in transportation or material moving are the most at risk. This sector also has the highest accident rate. The second biggest cause of death at work in Georgia is being the victim of intentional injuries by another person.
At Murphy Law, we always remember that every person who is fatally injured at work leaves a family left without a loved one. We understand that this is a tragedy that no family wants to face but we also know that helping you with the best advice will make a difference to your future.
Families from across Douglas County come to us because they are looking for an experienced wrongful death law firm. We get you the compensation your family is entitled to receive after a fatal accident in the workplace. We know that nothing can bring your loved one back but compensation keeps your financial concerns to a minimum.
FAQs about Wrongful Death
No matter what the cause is, losing a loved one is a tragic experience. This is especially true when your loss is the result of someone’s unsafe behavior.
- Accidents caused by negligence: This covers situations when the other party was not malicious, but their unsafe behavior leads to the victim’s death.
- Medical malpractice: When a medical practitioner, through unsafe behavior or lack of reasonable skill, causes harm leading to the patient’s death.
- Defective products: When a product, through unsafe design or through failure to warn of existing risk, causes harm leading to the victim’s death.
- Intentional actions: The other party deliberately did something to harm the victim, leading to their death. These wrongful death cases may also be connected to criminal cases related to the actions performed.
If you believe a loved one may have lost their lives to any of the above causes, reach out to a Wrongful Death Lawyer for a free consultation on how they can help.
When it comes to proving that the death caused by accident was a wrongful one, four things have to be shown.
- Duty of Care: The other party owed a level of due care to the victim. In most cases, this due care is not to harm the victim.
- Breach of Duty: The other party’s behavior was a breach of their Duty of Care. For example, the work conditions they provided were unsafe. They might have been driving over a safe speed limit.
- The breach is the cause: The behavior of the other party which breached their duty of care was what killed the victim. For example, the injuries caused by the speeding driver hitting the victim with their car were the cause of death and not an unrelated circumstance.
- Damages were caused: The results of the accident leading to the victim’s death caused damages to the victim or their estate. These damages could include funeral costs, unpaid medical bills, loss of financial support, or emotional harm caused to the victim leading up to their death.
An experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer will be able to help you through the process of investigating the accident and building a case to prove that these were true.
When it comes to accidents involving wrongful death, it can be complicated to figure out the specifics of who might make a claim against the other party. Not only is everyone involved dealing with the grief of their lost one and the hardships that come with it, but the legal process can be confusing for people inexperienced with it.
- Spouse: If the victim was married, the spouse has the first right to bring a wrongful death claim.
- Children: If the victim was not married at the time of the accident, or if the spouse is unable or unwilling to make a claim at the time, the victim’s children have the right to bring a wrongful death claim.
- Parents: If the victim was unmarried and had no children, the parents have an equal right to bring a wrongful death claim.
- Estate: If the victim was unmarried, had no children, and had no surviving parents, the Estate administrator has the right to make a wrongful death claim.
The exact details of how to handle a claim can be a complicated process. A free consultation with a Wrongful Death Lawyer with experience in that area is one of the best ways to start.
Often, many of the same accidents that lead to ordinary injuries result in tragic losses of life. Whether it’s a car accident or a severe fall, sometimes the victim can escape with bruises and lacerations, and sometimes it is more serious. There are many potential causes of Wrongful Death, and each of them is a heartbreaking experience for those left behind.
- Accidents at work
- Car or Motorcycle Accidents
- Animal attacks such as dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability accidents, such as slip and fall accidents.
Lawyers with experience dealing with both sides of these accidents will often be better equipped to help you through the process of recovery as best as it is possible.
When it comes to Wrongful Death accidents, the issue of compensation can be quite complicated. Beyond determining the compensation itself, figuring out exactly where it’ll end up can be a complex affair.
- Assuming there is no will, the spouse receives one-third of the total, and the remaining two-thirds are divided evenly among the victim’s children.
- If the victim was unmarried and had no children, it is divided equally between the parents.
Despite this, the details of the victim’s will, if they have one, can also influence where the payment for damages eventually ends. A Wrongful Death Lawyer can help you to understand your case better with a free consultation.
While there can be a few exceptions, most notably if your case goes to court and additional punitive damages are awarded, most compensation resulting from a Wrongful Death will not be taxed as of the time of this writing. Most of the time, this won’t be an issue, but it is still a good idea to be aware of the possibility.
The last thing you want to deal with after losing a loved one and going through a legal struggle is unexpected taxes and fees. When calculating which parts of compensation from a Wrongful Death case might be taxable, it’s generally a good idea to get a professional opinion from a lawyer who knows the specifics of your case.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to claim for:
- Pain and suffering, sorrow, and mental anguish compensation
- Loss of companionship, love and affection, comfort, advice, and guidance of the one who died (loss of consortium)
- Loss of Earnings of the one who died
- Financial losses due to the wrongful fatal accident
- Reimbursement for medical bills and expenses
- Compensation for funeral and burial expenses
- Any out-of-pocket costs related to the fatal accident or death
The easiest way to check if you and your family is to ask an experienced wrongful death attorney. An attorney or lawyer who handles wrongful death claims can explain the rules on which family member can claim and how the court decides on the financial value of a life. Every case is different and it can be a hard time for families because you have to listen people to putting a financial value on someone you love. We treat every wrongful death claim with compassion.
Asking a lawyer to act as your personal representative means they will file the claim on your behalf. Your lawyer or attorney will help you gather the evidence (known as the burden of proof) to file a wrongful death claim with the Georgia courts. The evidence needs to show three key things:
- The employer or another party’s actions or negligence caused the accident
- Injuries sustained from the accident resulted in the death of your loved one
- Quantifiable financial losses were sustained, such as the cost of medical and funeral expenses, and the future income of your loved one.
Our clients tell us they really value our experience in this area – the law can seem complicated at the best of times and it’s even harder to understand if you have just been bereaved. When you have a lawyer to represent you, someone else will gather the proof and present the evidence so you get the maximum possible sum for your claim.
A survival action claim in Georgia is a wrongful death claim brought by the deceased’s estate, rather than the family. This legal action seeks compensation for the victim themselves before their untimely death. Instead of seeking compensation for the immediate family, these damages are paid to the estate of the person who died. A “representative of the estate” can bring this action and the claim will include:
- medical expenses related to the accident
- hospital expenses from the fatal accident
- pain and suffering compensation if the deceased lived for some time between the accident and their death
Georgia also has a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim which is generally 2 years. Every case is different though and an attorney will be able to tell you the time limits for your situation. We understand that a bereavement puts you and your family under a lot of strain but it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible about your claim. Waiting just a few weeks can cause loss of evidence or a witness testimony and this might be detrimental to your claim.
At Murphy Law Firm, we want you to be able to get legal help for a wrongful death claim, regardless of your financial situation. Therefore, we use a contingency fee, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case. If we don’t get you financial recovery, we don’t get paid.
At Murphy Law Firm our legal team is dedicated to making sure our clients resolve their injury claims with the least amount of stress and frustration. Our best wrongful death attorney makes it a point to provide useful, free information, so you can make an educated decision before you choose to hire us.