No payment can fully compensate a grieving family, but wrongful death claims can help hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. You can pursue legal action when your loved one dies from another party’s negligent or intentional acts. Families are apprehensive about taking legal action because they have many decisions regarding burial, home life, etc. Some families are unsure if they qualify for legal action. You should discuss your options with a Roswell wrongful death attorney from Spaulding Injury Law.
Understanding the law and liability
Wrongful death happens when a person dies by the legal fault of another person. Some cases are specific, but others fall under general negligence. Medical malpractice deaths are specific to medical procedures and care. Product defects involve deaths from the use of a hazardous product. Intentional acts like assault or drunk driving are conscious actions that individuals take that harm others.
When your loved one’s death does not fall into a specific category, your next move is to prove negligence. That involves establishing a person took reckless actions to breach their duty of care, resulting in injury and financial losses. Negligence is involved in all personal injury cases and is vital to proving your wrongful death case. A wrongful death lawyer in Roswell will review the details of the death and who is liable.
Who can file wrongful death claims?
There is a hierarchy of beneficiaries when filing wrongful death actions. The deceased person is not here to recover payment for their losses. Family members, dependents, or the estate can recover losses on behalf of the lost loved one. It is also essential to understand that insurance companies have limits, and death can exceed them. You might have to look for other routes of compensation.
The beneficiaries who can take legal action and seek compensation include spouses, children, parents, and estate representatives. Spouses and children take priority. The surviving spouse can take legal action for themselves and their children and distribute the funds evenly. Without a surviving spouse, the children can seek compensation. When the deceased is unmarried and childless, it leaves the parents, siblings, and estate representatives. Discuss your relation to the deceased and your options with a wrongful death attorney in Roswell.
A deceased’s estate can make a legal claim called a survival action. These legal claims are similar to wrongful death claims and are often known as estate claims. They can also provide options for survivors when the death was not due to negligence. There are a few instances when these cases apply, and you should ask a Roswell personal injury attorney about your eligibility and options.
Criminal charges and your wrongful death claim
Criminal charges are separate from civil actions but can help your recovery efforts. Survivors can take civil actions regardless of the criminality of the liable parties’ actions. Criminal actions have a higher burden of proof, but you can discuss how the criminal case impacts your civil case with a Roswell personal injury lawyer. You can sometimes use evidence and the result of the criminal conviction to your benefit during a civil lawsuit. However, using the evidence and outcome is tricky, and you need legal representation to determine if this will benefit your wrongful death claim.
Determining potential damages
Georgia addresses wrongful death loss from the viewpoint of what the deceased lost and not solely on what the surviving family lost. The deceased work-life earnings and intangible losses are significant aspects of determining compensation. Your loved one’s death is unlike any other, and you should have an individual approach to seeking compensation. The most common potential damages you can seek for wrongful death are:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pre-death pain and suffering
- Lost income and benefits
What survivors and estate representatives are eligible to seek will depend on the facts of the death. You need a legal viewpoint to determine and fight for these damages.
Challenges of punitive damages
One other potential compensation survivors can seek are punitive damages. These are challenging to seek and obtain because they are not based on your losses but on how the defendant’s actions are viewed. The court can award these damages when the person who caused the accident was egregious. These damages are not eligible for wrongful death claims but can be brought during an estate claim.
Punitive damages have unique challenges and a high standard of proof. The biggest challenge is showing the defendant’s conduct is within the standard of culpability. You will often see these damages in cases involving intoxication, like drunk driving. They also have caps and can sometimes go to another entity, not the surviving family.
There are no caps on wrongful death claims. Punitive damages, when awarded, do have caps. While there are no caps, your wrongful death claim can have limits on recoverable damages. One common challenge is the other party not having enough to pay for the losses they caused. The insurance policy is usually the primary and only source of compensation, and an insufficient policy limit can leave you with lower payments.
Tips to help your wrongful death claim
Families have enough on their plates to add more, but there are some things you should consider after a loved one’s death. You must keep everything related to your loved one’s death, like hospital bills, photographic evidence, and insurance documents. If you are asked about an autopsy, you should agree. Autopsies can answer essential questions about the cause of death and more. Most importantly, you should take time to grieve and allow your Roswell wrongful death lawyer to protect your rights and best interests.
Speak to a Roswell wrongful death attorney
Speaking to a Roswell wrongful death lawyer is the best tip to help with your wrongful death claim. Spaulding Injury Law works diligently to gather evidence and prove fault. While uncomfortable, we will also assess the life value of your loved one and hire experts when necessary. We want to take on the legal burden so families can find peace. Schedule a consultation with our Roswell wrongful death attorney immediately.
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