Wrongful Death Lawyer In Monticello, Georgia
Losing a loved one is an extremely difficult time in life. It’s especially traumatic when their death was caused by the neglect or intentional harm of another party.
Sudden death is more than just emotionally shattering. Many families find themselves struggling with the loss of consistent income on top of any number of medical, funeral, and other expenses.
If a member of your family was killed in a preventable accident, you can file a wrongful death claim to seek justice and damages. No amount of financial compensation can ever replace your loved one, but Benton & Benton can help you make sure the party at fault is held accountable while getting you the monetary compensation you deserve.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim involves any death that results from the negligence or misconduct of an individual or entity that was charged with the responsibility to protect the health and life of the deceased. This can be through intentional harm or reckless actions. In most cases, the deceased would have qualified for a personal injury claim while they were living, but then died at the hands of another. Common causes of wrongful death claims include:
- Criminal actions
- Faulty construction or defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Abuse and neglect taking place in a nursing home
- A driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Serving alcohol in an inappropriate way, such as to a visibly intoxicated person
- Food contamination and sanitation issues
- Accidents involving pedestrians
Wrongful death claims must be proven. There has to be clear evidence, such as results from an autopsy, that the neglect or mistreatment was directly responsible for the death. A successful claim must prove that each of the following points is true.
The party responsible for the death must have had a duty to the deceased to see to his or her wellbeing and protect their life, but they failed in this duty.
Breach of duty
The plaintiff must then show how the defendant breached their duty by a specific action or inaction. Proof of what transpired needs to be given, as well as evidence that another individual acting in the same place would have made the appropriate choices.
Finally, the plaintiff has to prove that the death in question was a result of the actions of the defendant.
Most wrongful death claims need to be filed within two years from the date of death. It’s best to act as soon as possible so your lawyer can begin the process of gathering the necessary information for your case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The surviving family members are usually responsible for filing the wrongful death claim. If the deceased was married, the duty lies with their spouse. If unmarried, the child or children should file the claim. A parent can file if the deceased was unmarried and had no children. In the event that the deceased had no living family, the executor of the estate can file a wrongful death claim.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover?
Georgia law states that the damages that the family or estate are entitled to should be equal to the full value of his or her life.
Economic damages that can be recovered are easier to measure. The estimated lifetime earnings of the deceased are calculated by using an average life expectancy and annual earnings. If an administrator or representative of the estate is filing a claim, they can seek compensation for funeral and medical expenses.
Wrongful death claims don’t pursue and criminal charges to result in jail time, but it is possible to claim punitive damages and the pain and suffering the deceased went through before their death.
Recovery of noneconomic damages is more difficult to figure and usually left to the discretion of the jury. These damages include all of the happiness that the deceased would have experienced from doing the things they loved. Life events such as getting married and starting a family, along with hobbies and travel that they valued will be considered.
When someone you love dies suddenly, you can be confused and overwhelmed with all of the details that need to be handled when you are working through your own grief. Alleviate some of your anxiety and burden by reaching out to a knowledgeable legal team to guide you through the steps to take next.
Contact Benton & Benton today for a free consultation. We have the skills and experience needed to help you navigate this stressful time. We will answer any questions you have and evaluate your case to determine the best course of action.