April 27, 2020
Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia
When a loved one is killed due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act, it’s an understandably difficult time. Losing someone you love is never easy, no matter what the circumstances are. Knowing that their death could’ve been prevented may leave you with feelings of anger on top of your grief. The last thing that’s probably on your mind right now is how to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is why you need to speak with an experienced and compassionate Atlanta wrongful death attorney.
At our firm, we have a well-established wrongful death practice. We have represented families who have lost loved ones, and we have defended companies under tragic circumstances. Our experience can help you resolve your case in the most favorable way possible.
Here, we explain the process of wrongful death claims and how to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
Legally speaking, wrongful death is when someone dies because of another party’s negligent, reckless, careless, or intentional (premeditated) actions. Depending on your relationship with the deceased, you may have a right to pursue a claim for the full value of the victim’s life. When you retain the legal team at Carr & Weatherby, we will help you navigate the legal nuances of a Georgia wrongful death claim.
Determine Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim
The surviving spouse has the first right to bring a lawsuit in Georgia. If there are minor children, the spouse can bring a lawsuit on their own behalf as well as the minor children. When the deceased has no surviving spouse but does have children, the authority then transfers to them.
In the event there is no spouse or surviving children, the deceased’s parents could bring the claim. If there is no spouse, surviving children, or parents, the Administrator of the Estate has the right to bring the claim.
Figuring Out Whether You Have a Wrongful Death Claim
You can pursue a Georgia wrongful death claim only under certain circumstances. Intentional or negligent acts are two common things that can open the door to a wrongful death claim. For example, you may have the right to bring a claim when an immediate family member is killed in a car accident, a home invasion robbery, or due to medical malpractice.
Just because someone died, there may not be a claim. The family member must show that the death was caused by the intentional or negligent acts of the defendant.
Filing the Wrongful Death Claim
The process of filing a wrongful death claim can be complex depending on the circumstances. By retaining a Georgia wrongful death attorney from the start, you can have them file the claim on your behalf. Because wrongful death cases are generally complex, they should almost never be pursued without an attorney.
A wrongful death lawyer will handle the potentially difficult and stressful aspects of a wrongful death claim. This can include conducting an independent investigation, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and negotiating a settlement with the at-fault parties.
The timeline to resolve a wrongful death claim will vary from case to case. Some wrongful death claims may resolve within months, or they could take years. It will depend on the facts surrounding the case, whether liability is disputed, and how long it takes to gather the necessary evidence. There is a deadline to file a wrongful death suit which is called the “statute of limitations.”
In most cases, you have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Some situations can increase or decrease the amount of time to file. Under certain circumstances, actions need to be taken within a matter of months to preserve a wrongful death claim. This is one reason why retaining an attorney is so important. Failure to file within the deadline means you could be barred from any financial compensation.
How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works
A wrongful death claim is in litigation once the initial documents are filed and served, which include a summons and a complaint. The complaint outlines the financial compensation you’re asking for and why the defendants are liable. The summons notifies the defendants that they are being sued. Once these are filed with the court and a case number is assigned, everything is served to the defendants.
The time to resolve your case once it’s in litigation will also vary. It may take years depending on how complex your case is and whether it goes to trial. Once your case reaches litigation, there’s more investigation and document exchanges taking place. There may be court hearings that your attorney attends, some of which you may be required to attend as well.
Why Hire an Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney?
Retaining an experienced attorney can help you maximize your chances for compensation in a Georgia wrongful death claim. When a family member passes away from suspected negligence, an attorney should almost always be consulted.Contact Carr & Weatherbytoday to schedule an initial consultation.
Our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys have years of experience representing clients in wrongful death lawsuits and defending companies under tragic circumstances. We can help you during this devastating time, representing you with compassion, determination, and resolve.