An unexpected death is always a difficult time for a family in Peachtree Corners. Not only can such an event have an immense emotional impact, the economic pains that follow a death can set a family back for years to come. Surviving family members could have to pay for any outstanding medical and funeral costs and may need to find new sources of income following their loss.
A personal injury attorney could help to provide stability and peace of mind after a death. If another party’s actions, whether accidental or criminal, caused the death of your loved one, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. A Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer could work to determine if your situation warrants a lawsuit and, if so, pursue that lawsuit on your behalf.
Every death is a tragedy, but just because a death is unexpected does not mean that it is legally wrongful. A plaintiff in a wrongful death case must be able to trace the death in question to the actions of another party, which includes incidents that would give rise to a personal injury case had the victim not died.
In terms of proving fault for the incident, the extent of a victim’s injuries is irrelevant. For example, a defendant driver who causes a car crash is just as responsible for the outcome in an accident if they cause a minor bruise as if they cause a death.
A plaintiff in Peachtree Corners can also pursue a wrongful death case following a homicide. Defendants who cause the death of another party after a criminal act may certainly face criminal prosecution, but to collect compensation, any surviving family members must file related but separate civil lawsuits. A Gwinnett County wrongful death attorney could help family members decide if a wrongful death case has a chance to succeed and whether the lawsuit will allege liability through negligence or intentional harm.
According to Official Code of Georgia §51-4-2, only certain people can serve as a plaintiff in wrongful death cases. If the decedent has a surviving spouse, that spouse must serve as the plaintiff in any ensuing civil case. If no surviving spouse is available, any child of the decedent may bring the case.
In special cases, such as if the surviving child is a minor, the court may appoint a representative to serve as plaintiff. A Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer could help family members to identify the correct plaintiff.
The laws also state that a wrongful death case is, in actuality, two lawsuits. The first aims to bring money to compensate the family for any damages endured by the decedent. This can include payments for pain suffered by the victim.
The second case, meanwhile, aims to provide financial recompense to the surviving family members. This can include payments for outstanding bills as well as payments intended to compensate for any loss of income because of their loved one’s death.
The days, weeks, and months following an unexpected death can force you to learn quickly how to mentally cope with the loss and how your life will look going forward. Part of these considerations should be your legal rights to hold responsible parties accountable.
A Gwinnett County wrongful death lawyer could stand by your side as you pursue a claim for wrongful death following an accident or file a companion case in civil court to accompany criminal charges. These cases tend to be very complex and may need months if not years to resolve, so starting sooner rather than later may give your family the best chance at a positive outcome. Call when you are able, to ensure that valuable evidence is preserved.