When an individual dies as a result of an accident caused by another party’s negligence, his or her loved ones may be entitled to recover compensation for their damages through a wrongful death claim. The damages that accompany a victim’s death can be quite significant, such as the loss of his or her income, his or her non-monetary contributions to the household like daily chores, the loss of the opportunity to inherit assets from the victim, and the emotional toll of losing a loved one in an accident.
An individual can die as a result of any type of accident. Car accidents, bicycle and motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, slips and falls, and animal attacks can all have fatal consequences if the victim suffers severe enough injuries. A victim can also die as a result of medical malpractice, which includes any act of negligence by a doctor or other healthcare provider that results in the victim’s worsened condition. If you have lost a loved one in any type of accident that he or she did not cause, you can potentially recover compensation for your damages with help from an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The party closest to the victim has the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. If the victim was married, this right belongs to his or her spouse. If the victim also had children, his or her spouse may be required to share the compensation received through the claim with them. If the victim was not married, his or her children may receive compensation for their damages suffered through a wrongful death claim.
If the victim was not married and did not have children, the victim’s parent may file a wrongful death claim. If he or she does not have a surviving parent, an estate representative may be appointed to recover compensation for the damages suffered by his or her “next of kin.”
No matter who files the wrongful death claim, he or she must do so within two years of the victim’s death. Once two years pass, the claimant is no longer entitled to recover compensation for the damages caused by the death due to Georgia’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims.
What Can a Wrongful Death Claimant Recover?
There are two elements to a wrongful death claim: the value of the individual’s life and the value of his or her estate. Naturally, determining the monetary value of an individual’s life is much more complicated than determining the net worth of his or her estate.
The factors that need to be determined to find the monetary value of the victim’s life are as follows:
The value of his or her wages and benefits at the time of his or her death and what he or she might reasonably have been expected to earn over the course of the remainder of his or her career; and
The loss of the companionship, guidance, and intangible relationship value that he or she provided to his or her survivors.
The evidence used to make this determination can include documents showing the victim’s current income and assets’ net worth, documentation showing his or her projected asset growth and career trajectory, and testimonies from loved ones discussing the role he or she played in their lives.
Determining the value of the deceased’s estate is much more straightforward. It involves the calculation of the following:
His or her funeral and burial expenses;
His or her medical bills for care received in the time leading up to his or her death; and
The expenses that the victim’s survivors face following the death, such as lost wages from having to take time off to grieve and the cost of psychological counseling to work through their feelings after the death.
Evidence used to determine this amount can include medical bills for both the victim and his or her survivors and funeral home bills.
Work with a Roswell Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your damages through a wrongful death claim. To learn more about this process, work with an experienced wrongful death attorney. Our team of Roswell wrongful death attorneys at Christopher Simon Attorney at Law can answer any questions you have about this process and help you prepare and pursue your wrongful death claim. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.