There are few situations more devastating than losing a loved one prematurely. When a fatal accident or criminal act takes the life of an innocent person, the grieving family often feels helpless. However, if your family is in this situation, it is crucial to recognize that you have legal options for holding the at-fault party accountable. While no amount of money can make things right, a lawsuit could help your family find closure, and a compensation award could ensure financial security for the decedent’s loved ones.
Compassionate Doraville wrongful death lawyer Robert James helps families like yours pursue fair restitution after the premature loss of a loved one. We are here to guide you and your family through this process, so reach out to our injury attorneys today to get started.
Causes of Wrongful Deaths
A wrongful death lawsuit is possible if the cause of someone’s death was another party’s careless, reckless, or criminal act. The party at fault could be a person, a company, or a government entity. A family must prove that the party’s conduct was a direct cause of their loved one’s death.
Wrongful death claims can be an option in multiple contexts. Circumstances that could support a wrongful death action include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical errors
- Nursing home negligence
- Fraternity or sorority hazing
- Defective products
- Dangerous prescription drugs
Sometimes, wrongful deaths result from criminal acts. The District Attorney might bring criminal charges against the perpetrator, although whether someone faces criminal charges has no impact on a wrongful death action. A Doraville attorney could review the circumstances of a case and determine whether a wrongful death action could be viable.
Available Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
A party who is found to be liable for a wrongful death is legally and financially on the hook for losses the decedent’s family suffered. These losses, also known as damages, can include funeral expenses and other costs associated with the death. A family could also receive a sum equivalent to the amount the decedent could have earned and contributed to the household over the remainder of their expected working life had they lived.
A family also could receive the value of the services the decedent provided to their household. These services could include housekeeping, lawn maintenance, home repairs, tutoring, caregiving, cooking, and other tasks the decedent normally performed. A skilled Doraville wrongful death attorney could help a family put a numerical value to their losses.
A family could also receive compensation for their emotional anguish and the loss of their loved one’s companionship. If the decedent has children, these children could receive damages for the loss of their parent’s guidance and support. If the decedent lived for some time after the incident before passing, the estate could receive damages for the decedent’s medical care, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Distributing Damages from a Wrongful Death Action
The damages a decedent could have sued for if they had lived, like their medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, are paid to the decedent’s estate. The estate must use this money to pay the decedent’s debts and other obligations. Any balance remaining goes to the decedent’s heirs.
Other damages from a wrongful death case go directly to the decedent’s immediate family, and the decedent’s creditors cannot reach the funds. A knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer in could help a Doraville family calculate how much of their damages will be available to them directly and how much will be paid into the decedent’s estate.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated S. 51-4-2(d) governs distributing damages from wrongful death actions. If the decedent left a spouse and no children, the spouse gets everything. When a decedent leaves a spouse and children, the spouse gets at least one-third of the damages award, and the children divide the rest equally. If there is no surviving spouse or children, the parents receive the compensation.
Reach Out to a Doraville Wrongful Death Attorney Right Away
If you recently experienced the preventable loss of a loved one, you might feel helpless and at a loss. Sometimes, taking legal against the parties responsible for the death can help a family come to terms with the death.
A Doraville wrongful death lawyer understands your situation and is here to help your family find peace in this troubling time. Call today to speak with a dedicated member of our team about your options.