It is never an easy experience to lose someone you are close to because of someone else’s negligence or ill intent. In such a situation, the knowledge that the death did not have to occur can often make it even more difficult for you and your family to move on with your lives afterward.
If you believe someone else directly caused the death of a loved one, you have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against that individual or entity. While these lawsuits cannot bring your loved one back, they may be able to help you and your family pay for expenses such as burial and funeral costs.
These cases can be complicated and Gwinnett County has very specific laws about who can file a lawsuit and what compensation may be provided. Anyone wishing to file a wrongful death lawsuit may benefit from speaking to a skilled personal injury attorney. A Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer could help with these issues and many more.
Wrongful Death Claims Defined
A wrongful death is defined in Gwinnett County as any death resulting from the negligent or reckless actions of another person. Many people do not foresee themselves ever having to file a wrongful death claim, but they are unfortunately much more common than most people think.
Car accidents are the most common cause of wrongful deaths in the United States. Any time there is a serious accident on the road that causes a fatality, there may be grounds for a potential wrongful death claim. Truck accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents could also lead to a wrongful death claim, due to the vulnerability of one of the parties involved in particular.
While these are the most common causes of wrongful death lawsuits, they are not the only ones. Any time a loved one loses a member of their family and they believe someone else was to blame, they may want to speak to a Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer who could advise them if they have a valid claim.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Gwinnett County has certain laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The first eligible family member who can file is the spouse of the deceased. If the spouse is no longer living, the deceased’s children may file a claim if they are not minors. When these two options are not available, the living parents of the deceased may file a lawsuit.
If none of these options are available, the executor of the deceased’s will may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their estate. In the event the deceased did not have a will, the court may appoint an administrator who can file a wrongful death claim.
Components of a Wrongful Death Claim
In any single wrongful death lawsuit, there are two different types of claims that may need to be filed. One of the claims is for the full value of the person’s life, and the other claim (filed on behalf of the estate) is for pain and suffering.
Full Value of Life Claims
The first exists by virtue of Georgia’s wrongful death statutes and it belongs to certain specified family members. This claim is for the full value of the life, including both economic and non-economic elements. The measure of damages for this claim is the value of the life from the deceased’s perspective. This claim may include lost income the deceased provided before their death, as well as intangible elements like the joy the deceased experienced being a father, husband, or pursuing hobbies.
Pain and Suffering Claims
The second claim should be filed by the executor or court-appointed administrator of the deceased’s estate. The estate claim seeks pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before their death, economic costs such as funeral and burial expense, as well as punitive damages if applicable. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party in the case of extremely reckless or criminal behavior that led to someone’s death.
Keeping the aspects of these two claims separate, along with knowing what can be claimed, can be confusing for grieving family members. A Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer could help loved ones make sense of it all and ensure their case is as organized and effective as possible.
Working with a Gwinnett County Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost someone and believe it was due to someone else’s negligence, speak to a Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer today. You may be entitled to compensation, and an attorney could take care of the details of pursuing it while your family works on recovering mentally and emotionally. Call today to set up a consultation and see what options may be available to you.