Suwanee Wrongful Death Lawyers
When someone dies, it leaves a hole in the hearts of their loved ones. You are unsure where to turn, and the incident becomes grueling because the death was due to a negligent party. Sometimes the death was the cause of an intentional or criminal act. If so, the descendant’s family can take legal action against the other person or entity that caused the accident. You should discuss your options with a wrongful death attorney from Spaulding Injury Law.
Helping The Victims and Their Loved Ones Protect Their Rights
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How Can An Experienced Attorney Help?
- Legal Expertise: Our wrongful death attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding these cases. They understand the legal processes involved and can guide the victim’s family through the complexities of the legal system.
- Investigation: One of the key roles of a wrongful death attorney is to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. We’ll gather evidence, interview witnesses, review medical records, and consult with experts to establish liability and build a strong case.
- Establishing Liability: Establishing liability is crucial for seeking compensation. We will work diligently to determine who is at fault for the death, evaluating all potential parties, such as individuals, corporations, or institutions, and identify the negligent actions or omissions that led to the death.
- Compensation and Damages: Our wrongful death attorneys will fight for the victim’s family to receive compensation and damages. We’ll assess the financial and emotional losses suffered by the family, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering, to ensure the family receives fair compensation.
- Negotiation and Settlement: In many cases, wrongful death claims are resolved through negotiation and settlement outside of court. One of our skilled attorneys will represent the victim’s family in negotiations with the responsible party or their insurance company. We will strive to secure a favorable settlement that adequately compensates the family for their losses.
- Trial Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our wrongful death attorneys will be prepared to take the case to trial. We will represent the victim’s family in court, presenting a compelling argument, cross-examining witnesses, and advocating for justice.
Why Choose Us?
- Our award-winning personal injury lawyers used to work for insurance companies and use this experience to help clients win.
- Theodore Spaulding has received a perfect 10/10 score on Avvo, an attorney rating website.
- Our top law firm is driven by results, which we achieve by providing honest and aggressive representation to each client.
- We are proud to be recognized as one of the best law firms in Lawrenceville and vow to fight for the rights of your family.
- If you want to learn more about working with a lawyer from Spaulding Injury Law, read the reviews right here on our website.
Common scenarios causing wrongful death
Death can happen from an intentional act or careless mistake. Regardless of the cause, you must hold negligent parties responsible. The most common reasons death occurs include:
- Truck accidents
- Car Accident
- Medical malpractice: surgical errors, hospital malpractice, failure to diagnose, etc
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip and fall
- Motorcycle accidents
- Negligent security
- Workplace accidents: slip and falls, construction accidents, toxic exposure, etc
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective products: food poisoning, manufacturing error, faulty equipment, etc
- Nursing home: abuse, neglect, or malpractice
Each of these instances has unique challenges, and you should discuss your options with a Johns Creek wrongful death lawyer to determine who you can take legal action against. It is grueling for families to hear their loved one has died but even more so when they hear it was an intentional act. Families deserve justice, and that means seeking compensation from reckless parties.
Losing a loved one is one of life’s most difficult hurdles, but losing your loved one due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act can be even more challenging.
While a wrongful death claim can never return a lost relative, it can provide your grieving family with the compensation necessary to successfully journey forward. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers at Spaulding Injury Law have the compassion and legal insight to help families like yours in Suwanee who are in this position.
Filing the Wrongful Death Claim
If you are the surviving spouse of the person whose life was lost (the decedent), you are the first in line to file a wrongful death claim. If, however, the decedent has no surviving spouse, the surviving children may file, and if they have no surviving children, their parents are next in line.
When someone leaves a spouse and children behind, the spouse files on behalf of themself and as a representative of the children. Regardless of how many surviving children the decedent has, however, the spouse is entitled to no less than one-third of the overall settlement.
When only children survive the decedent, the settlement is divided evenly between each of them. If one or more of the decedent’s children has already passed, their children – who are the decedent’s grandchildren – are entitled to their parent’s share of the settlement.
When the decedent leaves no spouse, no children, and no parents behind, a representative of their estate can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s next of kin. Next of kin is determined in accordance with Georgia’s laws of inheritance – called laws of intestate succession.
Our attorneys can determine whether you are eligible to file a claim in your given circumstances.
The Filing Time Frame
Losing a loved one creates havoc in your life, and facing the logistics of a wrongful death claim in the middle of your sadness and grief can be overwhelming. The fact is, however, that in Georgia, you only have two years from the date of your loved one’s death – rather than from the date of the accident that ultimately proved fatal, if different – to file a wrongful death claim.
In the face of the emotional turmoil wrought by a wrongful death, this time limitation, called the statute of limitations, can be exceptionally brief. Reaching out to a practiced wrongful death lawyer in Suwanee early in the process is the best policy.
Basic elements of wrongful death claims
Some wrongful death claims are specific to a person, place, or action. Death can happen anywhere, but it is essential to understand the basic elements of wrongful death. The elements are there is someone responsible for the person’s safety, they did not fulfill their responsibility, and a person died from their failure. Responsibility is contentious and casts a wide net. People are generally responsible for avoiding reckless actions that cause harm.
Not every death is wrongful, and you will need evidence of the other party’s negligent actions. They must play a pivotal role in causing the death or do so knowingly. They have breached their duty to keep others reasonably safe. Sometimes the person responsible is a third party, like a property owner with insufficient security.
Covering the Value of the Lost Life
Wrongful death claims in Georgia are designed to compensate you for the full value of your loved one’s life, and the calculation process has two prongs.
The tangible value of the decedent’s life, in legal terms, refers to the amount of income the decedent would have earned over the course of their life had they lived to life expectancy. This includes the value of the jobs they would have continued to perform around the house.
The intangible value of the decedent’s life, in legal terms, refers to the depth of the decedent’s relationships with their loved ones and the interests, passions, and pursuits that guided and gave their life meaning.
In Georgia, damages related to wrongful death are calculated from the perspective of the decedent, which means that the jury must assess the degree to which the decedent valued their own life. This involves enlightening the jury about how rewarding the decedent’s life was, which typically comes down to evaluating indicators like the following:
- Pictures and videos that depict the decedent engaged in life
- Accounts shared by those who knew the decedent best
- Heartfelt stories and anecdotes told by the decedent’s family members and other loved ones
In Georgia, the value of a decedent’s life is calculated according to the jury’s enlightened conscience in relation to this range of indicators. This is a complex legal issue best handled by our skilled legal team.
The Estate Claim
In Georgia, wrongful death claims are distinct from estate claims, which involve a representative of the estate seeking compensation on behalf of the estate for expenses incurred after the incident that ultimately proves fatal but prior to death, including:
- The decedent’s medical costs
- The physical pain and suffering the decedent endured
- The income the decedent lost
- The cost of the decedent’s funeral and burial
Because Georgia separates the estate component from the compensation for the survivors’ losses, a surviving family member files the wrongful death claim, while a representative of the estate files the estate claim.
This said, if you are the surviving family member who files the wrongful death claim in Georgia, you might also be the representative of the estate, and you might serve both roles.
Wrongful Death Claims and Criminal Charges Are Not Mutually Exclusive
Sometimes, the wrongdoing behind a wrongful death claim exceeds negligence or recklessness and constitutes a criminal homicide. The party responsible for the death might face criminal manslaughter or murder charges, for example.
The party deemed to be at fault can face both criminal charges and a wrongful death lawsuit, which is a civil case, and these are separate proceedings – except in the capacity of any specific evidence that is brought forward in either.
If someone is convicted of criminal homicide, we can use this as critical evidence of their liability in your wrongful death case. However, even if a jury in the criminal case found them innocent, they can still be liable for wrongful death because of the much less strict burden of proof imposed in these civil cases.
It is important to note that if the party cited as being at fault in your wrongful death case is also facing criminal charges, it can pause the statute of limitations. If the at-fault party faces – or could face – a criminal charge, even if the charge does not involve criminal intent such as a drunk driving charge, the two-year statute of limitations begins when the charge is finalized or after six years, whichever comes first. However, never assume you have more time; first speak with our legal team and allow us to assess your options.
Determining if Wrongful Death Applies
When someone loses their life as a result of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct – in the absence of legal justification – it is deemed a wrongful death in the eyes of the law. Wrongful death cases can also be the result of criminal acts that may or may not involve criminal intent.
When the incident qualifies as wrongful death, and your family suffers legal damages, proceeding with a wrongful death case is generally advised. And seeking the professional legal counsel of a dedicated Suwanee wrongful death attorney is the best path forward.
Factors to Consider
There are a range of considerations that can affect the trajectory and outcome of a wrongful death case.
Sometimes, family members band together and pursue wrongful death claims as a united front. Other families, however, are more fractured and have opposing views regarding how best to proceed. The stress that goes hand-in-hand with these cases can make the issue that much more challenging. The more distance there is between the positions each family member takes, the more complex the matter is likely to become.
The Survivors’ Objectives
The survivors of a loved one who has lost their life to the negligence of another can have a range of motives for proceeding with a wrongful death claim. Mostly, they are seeking financial support for the future and justice for the untimely loss of their loved one. These cases are often resolved in one of two ways.
An insurance Settlement
The process often begins with an insurance claim, though you should never tackle this process alone. Our attorneys will identify any available insurance coverage and negotiate for the compensation you deserve with the proper companies. This can be a more challenging process than you imagine, as insurers often minimize settlements in these cases.
Like most civil cases, wrongful death claims generally settle out of court. There are times, however, when proceeding to court is in the best interest of the survivors.
A Jury Trial
When the decedent was killed as a result of the at-fault party’s criminal intent or complete lack of concern for the decedent’s life, it can inspire survivors to seek a verdict in court. You might also go to trial if an insurance company refuses to make the settlement offer you deserve.
Seek the Skilled Guidance of an Experienced Suwanee Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
The accomplished wrongful death attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law in Suwanee recognize the emotional component that accompanies these tragic claims and have the compassion and legal skill to help you and your family. Our seasoned legal team is prepared to use the full scope of our impressive experience and insight in pursuit of favorable claim outcomes that allow for your fullest recovery.
For more information about what we can do to help, please do not wait to contact us online or call us today.
Visit Our Wrongful Death Office in Lawrenceville, GA
We help victims inside the Gwinnett County Area and our firm is conveniently located near you. We have an office in Lawrenceville at 223 Scenic Hwy S #202 Lawrenceville, GA