The Georgia wrongful death attorneys at Werner Wetherington frequently handle wrongful death claims arising from trucking wrecks, tire failures, car wrecks, and other reckless and/or negligent acts. A Georgia wrongful death claim is very different from a normal wreck case and it is important to have an attorney who has experience with these types of claims. Unlike a normal road wreck, a wrongful death claim in Georgia implicates probate law, estate law, and many other legal issues. In a wrongful death claim, the Estate is entitled to pursue any claims the deceased would have been entitled to had he or she survived and pursued a claim on his or her own. The surviving family members may also be entitled to bring claims for the wrongful death of the loved one. A Georgia wrongful death attorney will help family members recover economic, non-economic, and, in certain cases, punitive damages for the loss of a loved one.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, only certain individuals are entitled to recover for the loss of a loved one. Generally, when the deceased person is an adult, his or her spouse or children have the right to seek a legal recovery when a loved one has died in a trucking wreck or wreck caused by a tire blowout, motorcycle wreck, or other accident where a corporation or person acts recklessly. In Georgia, the spouse is required to share a portion of the proceeds from any legal action for wrongful death with the children, but is guaranteed a one-third of any recovery for wrongful death. When the death of a minor is involved, the right to recover belongs to the child’s parents. Georgia also has specific statutes that spell out the rules that apply to illegitimate children and common law spouses. In the event a person is not survived by a spouse, child or parent, then the right to pursue a wrongful death action belongs to the deceased person’s estate.
What Compensation is Available for a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, individuals have the right to recover “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.” O.C.G.A. 51-4-1. The “full value” is not limited to those items having proven monetary value, such as lost earnings, but include the loss of intangible items whose value cannot be precisely quantified. In the end, the judge will tell the jury that the amount to be awarded should be determined by their “enlightened conscience.”
In addition to a claim for “wrongful death” for the full value of the person’s life, the estate of the person also has a right to seek recovery for pain and suffering, if appropriate, and for economic losses such as medical and funeral expenses. Depending on the circumstances, a claim for punitive damages may also be brought.
Experienced Georgia Wrongful Death Attorneys
Determining the appropriate value of a claim for “wrongful death” and for the estate’s claim is complicated. It involves evaluating the nature and extent of the injury that led to the person’s death, the economic losses that are recoverable, and the liability issues related to the situation. The location where a trial would take place and the person’s health are issues that are also factored into any evaluation of a wrongful death claim. The wrongful death attorneys at Werner Wetherington have experience in a variety of wrongful death claims and throughout the United States.
Since insurance companies have vast experience in evaluating personal injury claims and will seek to obtain the lowest settlement possible, it is important to have a person with considerable experience dealing with insurance companies on your behalf. Generally, it is best to retain an attorney who regularly handles wrongful death claims and will be prepared to institute litigation on your behalf if the insurance company is unwilling to settle your claim for a fair value.
Talk to an Experienced Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney for Free.
Call the attorneys at Werner Wetherington for a free and 100% confidential consultation. As Georgia wrongful death attorneys, we work with top experts throughout the country who are skilled in accident reconstruction, biomechanics, kinesiology, product engineering, economists, and/or human factors. When you call, we conduct a thorough investigation from every angle. If we accept your case, you will never pay us a dime, unless and until we favorably resolve your case.
In some cases, you may not need an attorney. If that is the case, we will tell you. We will give you honest and direct advice. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity, honesty, professionalism and competence.