Wrongful Death Lawyer in Macon
Unfortunately, not everyone survives an incident. Wrongful death does not include freak accidents that occur when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time. It occurs when a person’s negligent, purposeful, or criminal behavior causes an accident that leads to someone’s death.
A death does not need to happen instantly for it to fall into the category of wrongful death. In fact, many cases involve victims who fight for their lives for days or months before succumbing to their injuries. Wrongful death cases include anyone who is injured mortally because of another person’s recklessness.
Cases of wrongful death may occur when:
- A drunk or distracted driver hits an unsuspecting vehicle,
- Heavy-duty equipment malfunctions at work,
- A property owner fails to fence in a swimming pool and someone dies,
- A nursing home care team engages in neglectful or abusive activities, causing a patient’s death, or
- A police officer wrongfully uses lethal force.
Wrongful Death Laws in Georgia
A spouse of the deceased person, a child, a parent, or the estate representative may file a wrongful death claim. There are two types of wrongful death claims in Georgia, a traditional wrongful death claim and an estate claim. The damages for each go directly to the estate first, and then are divided among surviving family members. The family may recover damages to cover:
- Financial loss associated with the decedent’s life (wrongful death) – This may include lost income and benefits the individual might have earned if he or she had survived.
- Noneconomic loss (wrongful death) – After a loved one dies, the family may recover compensation for the loss of companionship, care, or emotional support.
- Financial loss associated with the decedent’s death (estate claim) – The financial costs associated with the death are eligible for compensation to the estate including funerary expenses, the pain and suffering of the individual prior to death, and the medical expenses incurred immediately prior to death.
The family or estate must file a legal claim within two years of death to obtain damages, unless outside factors stop the clock. For instance, the state may waive the time limit until after a criminal case is resolved. The statute of limitations becomes more difficult to interpret in cases where someone may have struggled with his or her injuries prior to death. In these cases, the statute of limitations may begin at the time of injury and not the time of death.
If you are beyond the two-year statute of limitations, we encourage you to reach out to our team. During a free, no-obligation meeting, we can help you determine if you may or may not file a claim after the death of a loved one.
Insurance and Wrongful Death
Insurance plays a role in almost every personal injury case, including wrongful death claims. The best personal injury attorneys spend much of their time evaluating liability in wrongful death cases. Insurance is particularly important in cases involving motor vehicles. On the surface, it may seem there is no insurance or coverage to cover the costs associated with a loved one’s death, but a thorough investigation may directly lead to a better damages award.
Finding the Right Wrongful Death Attorney
The right attorney in a wrongful death case will fight for your right to fair compensation, searching every angle of a case to determine liability and find the financial support you need to cover the devastating loss of death. At Nelson & Smith, we cannot bring your loved one back, but we will do everything in our power to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
If you are suffering after the unfair death of a loved one, you do have the right to take legal action. Please reach out to our Macon office for a free wrongful death case evaluation.