The unanticipated death of a loved one can be tragic, devastating, and overwhelming. The fact that their death could have been prevented may compound your grief and increase your desire to hold the negligent party responsible. With the help of a Stone Mountain wrongful death lawyer, you may be able to take legal action against the at-fault party while pursuing compensation for surviving family members. A personal injury attorney can present your legal options and help you determine the best course of action for your family.
Under Official Code of Georgia §51-4-2(a), specific immediate surviving family members of the deceased may have grounds to bring a claim against any parties who are responsible for their loved one’s death. The surviving spouse may be the first person eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent had no surviving spouse, then any of their children may also have the right to recover damages.
In the absence of a surviving spouse or children, the parents of the decedent can file a lawsuit. However, if a decedent has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the administrator of the estate has the authority to pursue a claim on behalf of any heirs or next of kin under O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5. A Stone Mountain wrongful death attorney could advise the proper parties and determine who may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
Under the state wrongful death statute, in the absence of a will, damages from a claim may be equally divided to any surviving spouse and children of the decedent. The surviving spouse is typically entitled to at least one-third of the total damages received from the claim. When the court awards a child of the deceased any funds under $15,000, they entrust a surviving guardian to manage these damages. However, if the award is over $15,000, the court may appoint a legal guardian over the property of this child.
In a case involving an untimely passing, survivors may seek compensation for the “full value of life,” which may include different categories of damages. One category is tangible compensation, which refers to the economic value of the death in terms of loss of income and support to surviving the family members. Damages may also include intangible losses, such as loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and loss of child support.
Other potential recoverable damages may include final medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in the appropriate cases. A Stone Mountain lawyer who is familiar with wrongful death claims can determine the nature and extent of damages that are appropriate in each case and advise surviving family members accordingly.
While legal action is likely not the first thing on your mind after a loved one suddenly dies, it can be a means of getting closure and obtaining financial support. Still, wrongful death claims can be complicated to file without proper legal aid. As a result, it is crucial to contact a compassionate Stone Mountain wrongful death lawyer. If you have been struggling to find an attorney to take your case, our firm could review your claim and take steps to get you the compensation you deserve.