Under Ga. Code § 51-4-1, a wrongful death is a death that occurs because of another party’s wrongful act, whether or not that act was criminal. In such cases, the deceased’s persons survivors and estate may pursue financial compensation.
However, recovering damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complicated process. Defendants and their insurers may dispute various parts of your claim. A wrongful death lawyer can help fight insurance companies and build your case.
If your loved one was killed because of another party’s wrongful act, get help recovering the financial compensation you deserve. Contact our experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyers by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.
Who Can Recover Damages in an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Only specific parties have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits in Atlanta. Ga. Code § 51-4-2 outlines the parties who may recover damages after a wrongful death:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- If there is no living spouse, the deceased person’s children
- If there are no living children or spouses, the deceased person’s parents or guardians
No other relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person who passed away. However, under Ga. Code § 51-4-5(a), if no spouse, children, or parents are living, the following parties may file a claim:
- The administrator of the victim’s estate
- The executor of the victim’s estate
Furthermore, according to Ga. Code § 51-4-5(b), after a wrongful death, a different lawsuit may be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative to recover certain damages for funeral expenses, medical bills, and other necessary expenses stemming from the wrongful death. These types of claims are filed separately from claims seeking benefits for victims’ families.
Potential plaintiffs should contact our experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyers for help assessing the validity of their cases.
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Atlanta
Wrongful deaths can come in many forms. The legal strategies that apply to a wrongful death case may depend on the cause of death. The following are common causes of wrongful deaths in Atlanta:
Car accidents are a very common cause of wrongful deaths. Drivers are expected to act responsibly on the road. When drivers do not exercise reasonable care, catastrophic accidents can occur. Accidents on highways and other crashes that occur at high speeds have a high propensity for causing wrongful deaths. Victims’ families can contact our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers for guidance on the road to recovery.
Truck accidents are another common cause of wrongful deaths. When large truck strikes a standard sized vehicle, the driver of the smaller vehicle can incur fatal injuries. The following are types of trucks that may be involved in fatal truck accidents:
- Delivery trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Utility trucks
- Mail trucks
- Semi trucks
- Tanker trucks
Our experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyers can help recover compensation for victims’ loved ones after fatal truck accidents.
Slip and Fall Accidents
When property owners act negligently in the maintenance of their premises, serious slip and fall accidents can occur. Accordingly, a property owner may be held liable for a wrongful death that occurred because of a slip and fall accident on their property. For example, an apartment owner can be held liable for a fatal slip and fall accident that occurred because they failed to fix a handrail on a public staircase. Victims’ families can call our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers for help gathering evidence to support their case.
Furthermore, many wrongful deaths in Atlanta are caused by construction accidents. Construction workers have inherently dangerous jobs. When workers are killed because of a third party’s negligence, their loved ones may be entitled to compensation through wrongful death lawsuits. Workers’ Compensation laws might restrict lawsuits against employers, but these rules typically do not bar lawsuits against third parties or lawsuits by independent contractors.
For instance, some workers are killed because of defective equipment or faulty tools. In such cases, our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers can help victims’ loved ones recover damages from the defective products’ sellers or manufacturers.
Pedestrian accidents are also a common cause of wrongful deaths in Atlanta. When pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles, they often suffer severe serious physical trauma. The following are common locations of pedestrian accidents in Atlanta:
- Parking lots
- Congested urban areas
- Roadsides or shoulders
Families of those killed in pedestrian accidents may be entitled to multiple categories of damages in wrongful death lawsuits.
Lastly, motorcycle accidents regularly cause wrongful deaths in Atlanta. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers’ careless conduct. For example, many riders are killed in crashes caused by drivers who did not pay attention before changing lanes or merging onto highways. After deadly motorcycle accidents, victims’ loved ones can contact our experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyers for help proving that another driver was at fault.
Settling a Wrongful Death Lawsuit vs. Taking a Wrongful Death Lawsuit to Trial in Atlanta
Most plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits will face the difficult choice of either settling their case or going to trial. A settlement agreement is a type of legal contract where a defendant agrees to pay a certain amount of monetary damages to a plaintiff in exchange for their lawsuit being voluntarily dismissed. Plaintiffs who settle early can often get paid quicker. Furthermore, by settling early, parties can save on the many costs associated with going to trial. For example, parties that go to trial may incur additional attorney’s fees, administrative fees, expert witness fees, and miscellaneous expenses such as the cost of travelling to court.
However, settling early is not always the right decision. Insurance companies and their defense attorneys may not make settlement offers that reflect the true value of your case. By going to trial, you have the opportunity to recover additional compensation. The risk being that plaintiffs who are unsuccessful at trial may recover nothing. Plaintiffs can consult with our experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyers for help determining the proper course of action in their case.
If Your Loved One Suffered a Wrongful Death in Atlanta, Our Lawyers Can Help
If your loved one was killed because of another party’s wrongful act, seek assistance from our experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyers by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.