Losing a loved one is an emotionally and mentally challenging experience, and it can also be financially burdensome, especially when wrongful death compensation is involved. However, proving a wrongful death claim can be difficult, depending on your case's details. With the guidance of a skilled wrongful death lawyer, you can pursue the justice your loved one deserves. When a person's death occurs due to unintentional or intentional negligence, it is considered wrongful death by legal standards. For instance, if a motorist chooses to drink and drive, causing an accident leading to losing a loved one, it qualifies as wrongful death. It is important to note that wrongful death cases are civil suits, not criminal ones. Therefore, the goal is not to punish the defendant for acts of homicide or violence but rather to provide compensation for the economic and non-economic damages suffered by the family members due to the fatality.
State Law Determines Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit
Specific family members may file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent party. Generally, the deceased's spouse, children, and parents have the right to file a claim. However, the specifics of who can bring a suit differ across states. In some states, any family member who received financial support from the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim. To ascertain who can file a wrongful death claim in your state, seek the assistance of a wrongful death lawyer in your locality.
In Georgia, as with every state, wrongful death cases have a statute of limitations that must be adhered to. It is crucial to be aware of the legal deadlines associated with your case, which usually start from the date of death rather than the date of injury. Failure to take legal action within the required timeline can render you ineligible for compensation. To avoid this, seek the guidance of a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An experienced legal professional will ensure prompt action in filing your claim and pursuing justice from the responsible party.
Reliable Evidence Required to Support a Wrongful Death Claim
Most wrongful death cases require thorough investigation. Even if you believe the case is clear-cut, you still need to collect sound evidence to prove how the at-fault party caused the fatal accident. Examples of reliable evidence in a wrongful death case include:
- Witness statements
- Medical and accident reconstructionist evaluations
- Photos or video footage from the accident scene
- Police reports
- Workplace incident reports
To recover compensation in a wrongful death suit, the decedent’s family or representative must prove that another party’s negligence caused or contributed to their loved one’s passing. Without evidence to support the claim, the at-fault party or insurance provider can deny liability to avoid making a settlement. In a wrongful death case, there are four critical components that you must prove to secure a financial recovery.
Four Elements Required to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
If you can demonstrate these four elements of negligence, you can secure a financial recovery for your loved one’s passing. Negligence is a primary factor in most personal injury cases. It refers to breaches of legal and moral obligations that cause harm or damage to an individual or entity. In this context, there are four key elements that must be established to prove negligence in a personal injury case. Keeping these elements in mind can help build a strong case for proving negligence in personal injury cases.
To successfully prove negligence in a personal injury case, there are four crucial elements to consider:
- Duty: This refers to the legal obligation of an individual or entity to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of others.
- Breach of Duty: This element is established when the responsible party fails to take reasonable care, resulting in a breach of their duty to ensure the safety of others.
- Causation: To establish causation, it must be shown that the breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff's injuries or damages.
- Damages: To prove the final element of negligence, it must be demonstrated that the plaintiff in the case suffered actual losses because of the defendant's breach of their duty. This can include some form of financial compensation or even emotional distress.
Situations Where a Wrongful Death Lawsuit is Justified
Wrongful death suits allow family members to seek justice for a loss of life in the form of financial compensation. Therefore, if you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence and the death caused your family to undergo losses, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional injuries are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.
These accidents form the basis of wrongful death claims. Examples of unintentional accidents include:
- Medical malpractice: A medical professional breaches their duty to provide reasonable patient care.
- Nursing home neglect: Nursing home staff fail to provide adequate care to residents.
- Motor vehicle accidents: Negligent car, truck, bus, or motorcycle drivers cause the death of your loved one.
- Workplace accidents: Employers fail to provide safe workplaces, resulting in fatal accidents.
- Premises liability: Property owners or occupiers do not maintain secure premises, and their negligence causes fatal injuries.
Obtaining a Settlement in a Wrongful Death Case
Receiving a settlement in a wrongful death case can be an unpredictable process. Each case has its own distinct set of circumstances that impacts the timeline. Typically, how soon you act to take legal action, the complexity of your claim, and whether the insurance company responsible agrees to make a settlement can all affect the settlement process. After gathering and evaluating all available evidence of fault and damages, your wrongful death lawyer can estimate a fair recovery, which will be demanded from the at-fault party or parties.
Seek Legal Help for Your Wrongful Death Claim Today
Proving a wrongful death claim can be daunting, especially after losing a loved one. Focusing on legal action during such a difficult time can be emotionally draining. Fortunately, the attorneys at May, Rammell & Wells can assist by collecting the necessary evidence to support your claim while you and your family prioritize healing. Contact our team of knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers today for information about potential claims or lawsuits. We are always ready to assist you. Call (208) 623-8021 now to schedule a consultation.