Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney
Nothing is more tragic than losing a loved one, especially when your loss is caused by someone else's negligence. A wrongful death action is a type of lawsuit brought on behalf of a deceased person's beneficiaries which alleges that the death was caused by the willful or negligent act of another. Wrongful death claims are obviously among the most serious type of personal injury loss. If you have lost a love one, you should understand that time is of the essence and you should consider hiring a well-established Georgia attorney as soon as possible. Why? The stakes are high and the playing field is anything but level. The sad reality is: while you are grieving your loss, the insurance company is hiring counsel and building its defenses. Losing a loved one is heartbreaking under any circumstances. But when your loss is caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person or company, the loss is seemingly unbearable. When the wrongful party or their insurance company denies liability, employs stalling tactics, or undervalues your claim, your grief and frustration are only compounded.
Why Timely Legal Representation is Essential
Once the death has occurred, things move very quickly. If the death was caused, for instance, by medical malpractice or in a trucking accident, the potential defendants often go to great lengths to decrease the chances of your success and they do this very quickly. To combat this, we start working for you as soon as we are retained by the family. The first course of action is to send correspondence demanding that all evidence be preserved and not destroyed. This would include, in many cases, video tapes, “black boxes” from vehicles involved in a catastrophic wreck, pictured of property damages or actual damaged parts that were replaced, and many other types of evidence that can help prove your case but which potential defendants might try to destroy because the realize that it may be damaging to them in litigation. We then fully investigate every aspect of your case. This includes hiring the best specialists in the fields at issue in the case to act as our experts. These experts work with us to prove how the death occurred and what acts of malpractice or negligence lead to the death. Among other things that our experts do are: study all of your relevant records and documents related to the case, perform research to fully understand the that facts and legal issues involved, work closely with our experienced attorneys to determine strategy, investigate all potential defendants, draft affidavits to be filed with the court, and help us proactively manage your lawsuit to ensure that you receive the help you need to fully recover for your loss. The above legal steps are the most time-critical. However, the steps needed to pursue your case do not stop until the case is either settled or tried to a jury.
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Wrongful death actions in Georgia are governed by several interrelated statues in the official code of Georgia. These include O.C.G.A. §§ 51-4-1 and 19-7-1. If the decedent was married at the time of death, the surviving spouse is entitled to recover. If there is no surviving spouse, then the surviving children are entitled to recover. If there is no surviving spouse or children, then the parent’s of the decedent are entitled to recover tor the full value of the descendent’s life.
We have earned our reputation for excellence by helping clients and families face life changing tragedies such as the loss of a loved one. We are experienced and skilled in wrongful death litigation. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and we understand the issues you are wrestling with.
If you have questions and would like to discuss your situation in complete confidence, call attorney Robert J. Fleming directly at (404) 525-5150.
While no amount of money will undo the loss of a loved one, there are Georgia laws in place that attempt to adequately compensate you for your loss. When a family member is killed by someone else's negligence, you are entitled to recover "the full value of the life of the deceased." At trial, factors which a jury may consider when determining the amount of money to award the survivors of a wrongful death victim are: photographs of the deceased, life expectancy, and earning capacity of the deceased (i.e., what the deceased would have earned in his or her lifetime). Factors helpful to the jury in determining what the deceased would have earned are: the deceased’s age, sex, level of education and training, and what profession or career the deceased was engaged in when killed. Many times, it is up to the surviving spouse and other family members to convey via testimony the full value of the deceased's life.
Because the stakes are so high, immediate investigation is warranted in wrongful death actions. All potential liable parties must be identified and fully investigated. All potential causes of actions must also be identified, with proper notices being sent to preserve some claims and protect critical evidence before it is destroyed. All primary and secondary layers of available insurance must be identified and properly notified of the claims. A thorough and complete investigation should also include obtaining birth and death certificates of the decedent, copies of employment and earnings records from the decedents employer, funeral bills, photographs, and hospital medical records and bills.
If the decedent was a student, school records, report cards, and psychological test scores should also be requested immediately. If our investigation is begun quickly enough, we may also be able to obtain school projects, artwork and other projects of the deceased child. It is important to have an experienced Atlanta injury lawyer perform all of these tasks in order to protect your interests when you find yourself in a wrongful death situation.
If you have lost a loved one and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, call attorney Robert J. Fleming directly at (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help you today.