If a loved one passed away due to the negligent, reckless, or deliberately harmful act of another person, you should consider talking to an Augusta wrongful death lawyer. The harm may be accidental when someone causes injuries through their negligence, but that does not mean they should not be held responsible.
The compensation received through a wrongful death claim can provide critical help for meeting your family’s future needs. A personal injury attorney experienced with litigating wrongful death cases could provide answers and help your family find some measure of closure following your loss.
A death is generally considered wrongful if it would not have happened but for the reckless, negligent, or deliberate actions of another person. The law deems a person negligent if they owe a duty of care to another, they fail to fulfill that duty, and the failure causes others to suffer as a result.
Doctors, for instance, owe a duty to provide reasonable care to their patients. If a doctor provides care that is below the reasonable standard in similar circumstances, then that physician should be held accountable for harm suffered by patients.
A wrongful death claim is similar to a claim a living person might bring against another person for harm caused by negligent, deliberate, or reckless conduct. Since the deceased person cannot file a claim on their own behalf, though, an Augusta wrongful death attorney could help a family member or personal representative take action instead.
If the deceased person is survived by a spouse, that partner has the first right to file a claim. In situations where there is no surviving spouse, any surviving children have the right to bring a wrongful death action according to the Official Code of Georgia §51-4-2, including those born “out of wedlock.”
Amounts received are to be divided equally among the surviving spouse and children, although the spouse’s share must be equal to at least one-third of the amount recovered. Accordingly, if there are many children, they may receive less than the surviving husband or wife.
If the deceased person had neither a surviving spouse nor any surviving children, a wrongful death lawyer in Augusta could help the decedent’s parents bring an action for wrongful death. Finally, if there is no family member entitled to file a claim, then the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may seek recovery for the next of kin. The personal representative may also claim amounts to cover the medical, funeral, and other expenses resulting from the injury or death, as per O.C.G.A. §51-4-5.
Except where a personal representative claims expenses such as medical costs and funeral bills, those filing a wrongful death claim may usually seek “the full value of the life of the decedent.” This can include both economic and non-economic losses.
For instance, family members may be able to recover amounts to make up for lost financial support from wages and benefits earned by the deceased. They may also receive amounts for the loss of companionship and care provided by the deceased.
The loss of a family member is always traumatic, and it may seem inappropriate to think about seeking compensation during a time of mourning. However, it is important to ensure that your future financial needs are provided for, as well as those of your family.
An Augusta wrongful death lawyer could help investigate a situation to determine why someone’s death occurred and whether anything could have been done to prevent it, and if applicable, seek appropriate compensation for the negligence of another party or entity. To learn more about how a wrongful death attorney could help in your situation, call today to schedule a consultation.