A wrongful death attorney in Atlanta can help a family who has lost a loved one in a wrongful death in many ways. Many people want to know two main things when discussing their options in a wrongful death case. They want to know what Georgia’s Statute of Limitations is in a wrongful death case and what is a wrongful death case.
The Statute of Limitations for wrongful death cases is two years from the point of death of the victim. Wrongful death is an intentional or negligent act from one person to another, causing the victim to die unexpectedly and tragically.
Explaining the Details of the Statute of Limitations and Wrongful Death
Regarding cases across the country, every state has different laws and how they handle their courtrooms. In Georgia, matters dealing with wrongful death have a Statute of Limitations for two years. This means that when a person dies in a wrongful death case, the immediate family members have up to two years to get with a wrongful death attorney and file a claim.
Details of the Statute of Limitations
The states give this amount of time for various reasons. The primary reason is that no one wants to deal with these issues immediately following the death of their loved one. Everyone is entitled to their grieving stages, but the time has to come to file, or there will be no case.
Two years is sufficient. However, there are cases where it has been “tolled.” This means an extension by the state has been granted for the following reasons:
- If the defendant is working to cover up valuable information concerning the wrongful death
- If the immediate family member is a minor and the only survivor
- If the immediate family member is suffering from mental or physical disabilities
Details on Wrongful Death
It is the intention of the person to harm or kill another individual through acts of negligence. Negligence does not mean murder; it means a person failed to do what was necessary to keep another person safe. Wrongful intentions or negligence must be present for a case to be considered “wrongful death.” Otherwise, it is an accident that no one can avoid. Some examples of wrongful death are as follows:
- Car accidents (which are the number one wrongful death cases in the state)
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home negligence
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Workplace accidents
- Fire liability
- Pet attacks
How Wrongful Death Affects the Family
Immediate family members are the only ones who can file a wrongful death claim. This includes:
- Children (if over 18 and there is no spouse for the victim)
- If no spouse or children are around, then the estate administrator can file a claim.
If there is a living will of the wrongful death victim, then the spouse can file a claim and collect the entire settlement. However, if there is no living will, the spouse and children will share in the settlement, but the spouse will come out with no less than 1/3 of the settlement.
The compensation covers the medical bills left behind before the victim’s death. It is also to cover the funeral cost and burial costs. There are also figures that cover the loss of wages from the victim for the spouse and children. If the children are underage, their care, well-being, and education are considered first. Usually, both spouses work in today’s world. The settlement will also compensate for the loss of wages to help with living expenses. Finally, the most challenging part of all is that money does not bring the person back to life. A substantial amount is granted for the pain and suffering of losing a loved one tragically and unexpectedly.
What the Client Needs To Know
When clients can contain themselves enough to handle the challenging business part of the claim, they need to know the steps to take after losing their loved one in a wrongful death situation. These four steps will help advise the client in the direction they need to follow.
Step 1: The client will need to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney. If the attorney decides to take the case, they will gather all the information and begin an investigation with their team. The team will investigate by looking at surveillance cameras and reenacting the accident scene.
Step 2: The attorney will look into the interviews given by witnesses. The sooner, the better because the longer the time goes by, the less the witnesses will remember the details. The attorney will also request that the witnesses keep their information, like their addresses and phone numbers. Keeping the witnesses’ information updated is critical. Wrongful death claims stand a chance that the case could take years to settle.
Step 3: Keep track of all the evidence. Over time, evidence may get destroyed.
Step 4: An estate should be opened. This should be the last step in handling all the decedent’s claims.
Why Get a Wrongful Death Attorney?
It is hard enough to deal with a tragic death of an immediate loved one. Getting with a wrongful death attorney can relieve some of the pressure on yourself and other family members. The attorney will do the following:
- Communicating with the insurance companies and their lawyers
- Mediate between the offending party and their attorneys
- Investigate the claim as they have better access to all of the evidence and information
- Break down the walls and the red tape of civil suits
- Uncover the losses by using a direct account approach
- Negotiate the proper settlement to compensate all that is lost
- Advocate on behalf of the entire family in the courtroom
As you can see, taking the time to heal is essential. Remembering the Statute of Limitations is critical to the timeline of getting the compensation you deserve in the wrongful death claim. It takes two years for the timetable to run out, but it only makes the case draw longer, especially if homicide is present in the case.
By filing a claim, you can also stop the same negligence act from happening to another family. The attorney is experienced in proving negligence and will hold the insurance companies and all those involved responsible for paying the claim. If they did it to your family, they would do it again until they are held accountable.
Attorneys will fight for the rights of their clients and help them with the financial part of losing their loved ones. If they can do that, they did their part to bring the family closer to healing.