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Your Legal Options When a Drunk Driver Causes a Fatal Accident

Your Legal Options When a Drunk Driver Causes a Fatal AccidentDrunk driving puts every person on the road at risk. Unfortunately, some people suffer fatalities from a drunk driving accident. If your family member died because of a collision caused by a drunk driver, we encourage you to immediately seek out legal support and guidance from our experienced team.

At Harris Lowry Manton, we have stood at the side of many victims and families when the mistakes of drunk drivers leave them struggling and devastated. If this has happened to you, allow us to fight for you to hold those responsible accountable.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia?

When your family member has died because of the actions of a drunk driver, you have every right to be angry and devastated. You may have the right to pursue compensation for those losses as well.

The surviving family members may be able to seek out compensation from the at-fault driver. According to Georgia law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by:

  • The surviving spouse;
  • The children; or
  • Parents.

This right does not follow former spouses. If there is no spouse, then the children of the deceased have the right to file a claim against the party responsible. Children cannot file a claim if there is a surviving spouse who does not take action. If there is no spouse and there are no children, then the parents of the deceased can take this action.

Also, note that the estate representative for the deceased person may also file a claim. In situations where there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, then a person who is representing the estate as a whole is able to take this action. In this situation, any recovery of damages is then paid to the next-of-kin, as determined by the court itself.

Seeking damages from drunk drivers in wrongful death claims

Wrongful death damages are determined by the type of claim that’s filed.

  • An estate claim. Estate claims involve the types of damages typically associated with personal injury claims: medical bills, lost wages, and funeral and burial costs. Some non-economic damages may also be awarded. In some cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages.
  • “Full value of life” claim. Defined under GA Code § 51-4-1 as “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived,” these claims can be filed by a spouse or the children, depending on the circumstances. Damages generally include:
    • Loss of future financial support
    • Loss of consortium
    • Loss of the relationship with a parent
    • Mental and emotional anguish

Our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys will work closely with you to ensure that you understand how your case will progress, and what damages you may be entitled to seek and receive. We have a history of securing substantial awards on behalf of the wrongful death clients we represent, including:

  • $35 million against the City of Milton for its role in the death of a young driver
  • $16.5 million in a case against Michelin for a defective tire which led to the death of our client’s husband
  • $11.2 million against CSX for the death of our client’s daughter

 Know the risks of drunk driving in the U.S.

Drunk driving is a common problem. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that in 2020, 38,824 people died in the United States in car crashes, and 11,654 of those deaths were the result of impaired drivers. That same year, 1,664 people died in Georgia traffic crashes, and 402 people died due to a drunk driver. In other words, hundreds of Georgia families have suffered serious losses due to the negligence of other people.

These statistics do not account for the thousands of other people who suffered serious injuries. Many of those victims suffer long-term complications, including pain and suffering, emotional trauma and a loss of quality of life.

At Harris Lowry Manton, our wrongful death attorneys in Atlanta and Savannah are ready to help you. Let our compassionate professionals offer guidance and support. Call our office or submit our contact form for a free consultation. Proudly serving families throughout Georgia.

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