Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyers
Protecting clients in Savannah and across Georgia when the worst comes to pass
Wrongful death cases are among the most complex cases we handle both emotionally and in terms of how the laws function; they are handled differently than other personal injury cases. The claimants are typically the family members or the estate of the deceased. The damages are much more than lost wages, medical bills or funeral bills. Damages are influenced by many other factors, including what the deceased lost by not living out his/her life.
Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers understand how tragic a wrongful death case is. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we care about your family. We have the skills that spouses, children, and parents need to hold responsible parties liable for the loss of a loved one.
Successful wrongful death cases we’ve handled
- We represented a plaintiff whose spouse was killed due to a defective tire manufactured by Michelin. The result of a seven-day jury trial was a wrongful death jury award of $16,520,000 for loss of life, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.
- Harris Lowry Manton LLP secured a $4.36 million verdict for the wrongful death of popular Athens musician and restaurant owner Juan Molina. Mr. Molina died on August 25, 2017 after undergoing a routine, diagnostic cardiac procedure.
How can we help?
- What is a wrongful death claim?
- Why is it Important to Try a Wrongful Death or Catastrophic Injury Case Before a Jury?
- Who can file a Georgia wrongful death case?
- What is the statute of limitations in a wrongful death claim?
- Determining damages in a wrongful death claim
- What types of accidents lead to wrongful death claims?
- Talk to one of our trusted Atlanta wrongful death lawyers now
What is a wrongful death claim?
When a person dies in Georgia, the family of the deceased and the estate are entitled to claim different types of damages. The family of the deceased brings the traditional wrongful death claim for the full value of the life of the deceased, which includes the loss of financial resources as well as lost emotional support from family and friends that the decedent would have enjoyed had he/she lived. The financial loss is typically determined by experts who consider:
- What type of work the decedent did
- How much he/she was making
- Future earning potential and capacity, or how much the deceased would be expected to earn during the rest of their working life
- Lost retirement benefits they had earned, such as pensions or 401k plans
The emotional loss is the loss of enjoyment of life the deceased lost due to the loss of life, including the inability to enjoy the companionship of a spouse, children, and other relatives. Typically, the family members provide the necessary evidence by discussing the various things the deceased liked to do with them. Our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys also present evidence of the decedent’s life expectancy, which helps determine both the economic and non-economic losses.
The second claim for damages is brought by the estate for outstanding medical bills and funeral expenses. The estate can also claim damages for any pain and suffering the deceased endured before death. Many times, death is not instantaneous. The deceased may die hours, days, weeks, or later after the accident. The estate deserves to be compensated for this wrongful pain and suffering.
Why is it Important to Try a Wrongful Death or Catastrophic Injury Case Before a Jury?
Who can file a Georgia wrongful death case?
Georgia law sets forth the hierarchy for who can file a claim. The answer really depends on who the surviving relatives are:
- There is a spouse and no children. The spouse files for herself/himself.
- There is a spouse and children. The spouse has the right to file for both the spouse and the children. Typically, the spouse gets 1/3 of the award and the children split the rest.
- There are children but no spouse. The children file the wrongful death claim and split the damage award equally.
- There is a parent but no spouse and no children. The parent(s) can file on their own behalf.
If there are no parents or children and there is no spouse, then the estate can file both damage claims. An executor or administrator is normally appointed to represent the estate. Any damage award then goes to one or more of the living relatives in accordance with Georgia law.
What is the statute of limitations in a wrongful death claim?
The statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a wrongful death case with the courts. Under Georgia law, any person or estate with a wrongful death claim usually must file the lawsuit within two years of the victim’s death. Under certain circumstances, the time allotted may be shorter or longer. Once the statute of limitations expires, you can no longer pursue compensation in a court of law, potentially leaving your family without any monetary award.
Determining damages in a wrongful death claim
Damages in a wrongful death case are based on a valuation of the decedent’s life, a calculation that is often one of the most contentious aspects of the case. In the Georgia courts, this amount is determined from the perspective of the deceased and not the survivors. Therefore, courts award damage amounts that reflect what the decedent lost, not the pain and injury suffered by the family. It is important to note that these cases can take years to conclude, especially if one or more parties have grounds for an appeal.
What types of accidents lead to wrongful death claims?
Any type of accident where someone dies due to the fault of another creates a claim for wrongful death. Sometimes, as in product liability cases, there is no need to prove fault. Our Georgia wrongful death lawyers bring claims involving fatal:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Burn injuries
- Child injuries
- Mass transit accidents
- Premises liability
- Nursing home abuse
- Film & television production accidents
We also bring wrongful death claims in construction site accidents, drunk driving cases, maritime claims, and for other causes.
Arrange to talk to one of our trusted Atlanta wrongful death lawyers now
At HLM, our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers have the experience and track record of successful verdicts to help you get justice when a family member dies in any kind of accident or through any type of negligence or other wrongful act. We work with probate counsel to set up an estate, investigate why the accident happened, determine who is at fault, and demand compensation from the individuals or business that committed this horrible act. For answers to your questions, please call our Atlanta office at 404-721-0281 or our Savannah office at 912-207-7250. You can also schedule an appointment through our contact form. First consultations are free.
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