Canton Wrongful Death Lawyer
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia
Accidents occur frequently, ranging from minor car collisions to slips, trips, and falls. Unfortunately, some accidents result in the loss of life.
When an accident claims the life of an individual, the surviving loved ones are left grappling with a whirlwind of emotions—shock, grief, anger, and confusion. They may find themselves asking, "How could this have happened?"
While nothing can reverse the tragedy of losing a loved one, pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide some financial solace to those left behind. It can also assist beneficiaries who have suffered economic and non-economic losses due to the untimely demise.
If your loved one has lost their life in an accident caused by someone else's negligence in Canton, GA, our compassionate wrongful death lawyers are here to support you.
Have you experienced a wrongful death situation? Call us at (470) 577-8152 to schedule a free consultation with Pritchard Injury Firm today. We are eager to discuss what we can do to assist you during this challenging time.
Defining Wrongful Death
While all deaths resulting from unexpected accidents are shocking and tragic, not every accident-related death qualifies as a wrongful death claim.
In Georgia, individuals have the right to file a civil action for wrongful death when the loss is caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal acts of another party. According to the Georgia wrongful death statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1, a wrongful death occurs when a death is caused by a crime or negligence (or the failure to exercise ordinary care).
In some instances, individuals may face criminal charges and be held liable for negligence. However, there are cases where criminal consequences may not apply. For example, a person who drives under the influence and runs a stop sign, resulting in the death of a pedestrian, may face criminal charges such as homicide or manslaughter. On the other hand, a sober driver who fails to check their rearview mirror while reversing in a parking lot and causes a pedestrian's death may only face civil liability.
Wrongful Death Claims are Civil Lawsuits
Wrongful death claims can also arise from losses caused by defective property or hazardous premises. Manufacturers and property owners may be subject to civil liability in such lawsuits.
Regardless of the cause, wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits filed in civil court to seek monetary compensation, known as "damages." It is important to note that the state can independently choose to prosecute criminal acts, but criminal trials are distinct from wrongful death claims.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims in Canton, GA
Whenever someone's death is the result of another person's negligent or wrongful actions, pursuing a wrongful death action may be appropriate.
Various types of accidents can give rise to a wrongful death claim. At Prichard Injury Law, our expertise in wrongful death cases covers:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck and commercial vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability claims
- Medical malpractice cases
- Accidents involving defective products
The aforementioned practice areas are only a selection of the cases handled by our Canton wrongful death attorney at Pritchard Injury Firm. If your loved one has lost their life in an accident type not listed above, please contact our Canton wrongful death lawyer directly. We will provide guidance on whether or not you have a viable case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In personal injury cases, the injured victim typically initiates the lawsuit. However, if the victim passes away, other individuals may need to file the claim on their behalf.
Only specific family members or the personal representative of the deceased's estate have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
The surviving spouse of the deceased has the first opportunity to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased had minor children, the surviving spouse must bring the claim on behalf of themselves and the children. Irrespective of the presence of children, the surviving spouse is entitled to a minimum of one-third of the total recoverable amount.
If there is no surviving spouse, the right to file a wrongful death claim extends to any surviving adult children. In the absence of a surviving spouse and adult children, the surviving parent(s) of the deceased may file a claim. Additionally, if there are no surviving spouses or children, the personal representative of the decedent's estate may bring a claim.
How to Proceed with a Wrongful Death Claim
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, it's crucial to take certain steps early on in the process. Here are some actions to consider when pursuing a wrongful death claim:
Organize Legal Matters: Gather the decedent's important legal documents, such as their will, and ensure their affairs are in order. Since the deceased cannot file the claim themselves, the personal representative named in the will (if applicable) will need to initiate the legal action. The personal representative will seek compensation on behalf of the estate and distribute it to the beneficiaries.
Collect Evidence: Start compiling evidence to support your wrongful death claim. This may include medical reports, accident photos, statements from witnesses, and any other relevant information related to the incident. Document any financial losses associated with the death, such as medical expenses incurred before the death, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, and more. Consider obtaining an autopsy, as it can help establish the cause of death and strengthen your claim.
Retain Legal Representation: It is essential to hire a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases. A skilled wrongful death attorney in Canton, GA will provide valuable insights specific to your case and guide you on the necessary actions to enhance your chances of a successful lawsuit. It is advisable to engage an attorney as soon as possible to ensure prompt and efficient handling of the legal process.
These steps represent only a portion of the actions you should take when pursuing a wrongful death claim. Your attorney will provide guidance on additional measures and assist you in building a strong case. Seeking professional legal assistance is crucial to navigating the complexities of a wrongful death claim effectively.
Contact Our Canton Wrongful Death Attorneys Now
If you need information about pursuing a wrongful death claim in Canton, GA, reach out to our dedicated wrongful death attorney at Pritchard Injury Firm without delay.
We understand the profound grief you are experiencing, and our goal is to assist you in obtaining the rightful compensation for you and your family.
Call us today at (470) 577-8152 or send us a message online to schedule a free consultation. Our empathetic Canton wrongful death lawyers are ready to provide the guidance you need.