What Should You Do If You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you’ve found this page after the wrongful death of a loved one, the first thing we’d like to do is offer our deepest condolences for your loss. Losing someone to another person’s reckless or negligent behavior is devastating. While we can’t do anything to undo their actions, we can help you in other ways.
That starts by holding individuals accountable for the actions that led to your loved one’s untimely death. An experienced attorney can help by advocating for your loved one while you focus on piecing life back together in other ways. Our team will guide you through legal proceedings and eliminate as many additional headaches and heartaches as possible.
We realize that legal action won’t undo the wrongdoing you’ve faced, but it can provide a sense of comfort knowing that justice has been served.
If you believe your family is entitled to compensation, a wrongful death lawyer might be able to help you. Call us at 706-995-5122 to a free consultation as soon as possible.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. It seeks compensation from the party who negligently caused the death of your loved one. It’s important to note that this is not a criminal proceeding. It will not result in prison time or fines with a conviction.
Instead, wrongful death lawsuits seek financial compensation from the at-fault party. Some of the most common examples of wrongful death claims arise from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, or medical malpractice.
These lawsuits have two main components: personal injury damages and future impact claims. The first portion of the lawsuit is akin to a regular personal injury claim that would have been filed by the injured party. As the surviving loved one, you can file the claim on their behalf.
The second claim type involves the loss of companionship and financial support that you would have expected, had the life of your loved one not been cut short.
These are complex claims which come at one of the most challenging times in your life. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Contact Massey Law Group to discuss your case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The right to file a wrongful death claim varies across state lines. Alabama and Georgia provide dramatically different guidance on who can file these claims, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process.
Under Georgia law, the following individuals have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
1. Spouses: The decedent’s spouse, if married, typically has the first right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Both Alabama and Georgia allow spouses to file these claims.
2. Children: Oftentimes, the child of a deceased person can also file a claim. However, Georgia only allows children to bring a claim if there is no surviving spouse who can do so.
3. Parents: If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse or children, then his or her parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit under Georgia law.
a. If the parents are separated or divorced, the division of any money recovered through the wrongful death lawsuit is within the court’s discretion.
b. Also, if one of the parents abandoned or failed to provide for the deceased child, the law may prohibit that person from filing a claim altogether.
4. Estate Representative: A designated legal representative of the deceased’s estate may also file a wrongful death lawsuit. Any recovery from the claim would then be sent to the estate account and paid out to beneficiaries per the guidelines of the estate. Probate courts often oversee this process.
Alabama law has much stricter requirements. Only the estate’s personal representative, or executor, can file a wrongful death claim. When no executor has been identified in a will, an Alabama probate court will appoint someone to serve in this role.
What Are the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The statue of limitations for any personal injury case is important. For wrongful death claims, you generally have two years from the date of death to file your claim. This is true in both Alabama and Georgia.
There are, however, several exceptions to this rule. For example, if the wrongful death occurred as a result of a government entity, there is a one-year statute of limitations. In Alabama, there are certain factors which can limit the statue of limitation time to six months.
While you may not want to think about lawsuits soon after the death of a loved one, these limitations – particularly the clauses which shorten the time to file claim – make it essential to reach out to an experienced attorney if you think you have grounds for a wrongful death claim. The team at Massey Law Group can help you through this process. Contact us today at 706-995-5122.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
There is no pain like that of losing a loved one. The impact can be both emotionally and financially devastating to families, and that pain can be worsened with the knowledge that an accident was avoidable. While we cannot undo the injustice that caused your loss, we can help hold reckless and negligent individuals accountable for their actions.
Our goal is to bring you comfort during a difficult time and to ease the financial burden of your loss so that you can focus on healing and recovery.