The death of a loved one is an overwhelming event that can cause anxiety and sorrow. When the death was due to wrongful means, the damage can be even worse. Along with emotional and mental anguish, the sudden loss of a family member can also cause significant financial hardships to families due to lost income and support that are no longer available.A compassionate Atlanta wrongful death lawyer can help you during this difficult time by working to provide guidance and support.
In sprawling Atlanta, population growth has resulted in more traffic, pedestrians, and accidents. The latest statistics show a 51% increase in bicycle collisions and 193 fatal occupational injuries in just one year. Atlanta’s high population means that the number of car owners and motor vehicle accidents has increased as well. The rate of violent crime in the Atlanta metro area has been higher than the national average for decades. In just one recent year, over 1,200 violent crimes took place in Atlanta.
Being a Georgia citizen, it’s important to understand the wrongful death laws in the state. Wrongful death refers to an unnatural or premature death resulting from another’s negligence. Relatives can bring wrongs claims using Georgia’s Act of Wrongful Death. A skilled wrongful death lawyer could help determine if any family members may bring claim for the decedent, and under what circumstances.
Under the Georgia Wrongful Death Act, the spouse or child of the decedent has the right to bring a lawsuit. In cases of the wrongful death of a minor, the parents of that child have the right to recover any losses if they are living and there is not a spouse, same-sex partner, or minor child. If there is no next-of-kin left alive to take on this burden, then a personal representative may be assigned by law to recover anything they can after trial.
Criminal Homicide VS Wrongful Death
In wrongful death cases, the defendant’s responsibility is still to pay compensation (or damages) to the deceased’s family in a civil lawsuit. However, this is different than a criminal homicide. In criminal homicide cases, the defendant is liable if they are found guilty of a crime that resulted in death; the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil liability does not require proof of guilt when compensation must be awarded for wrongful death.
To file a wrongful death action in Georgia, you must prove:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
Duty of care:
If a person is under our care and we end up hurting or killing them, we have to pay for it. Usually due diligence is defined as caring for somebody and in some cases actively taking safety precautions. For instance, death during an accident goes hand-in-hand with steering clear of reckless driving. If the defendant had driven safely, the deceased might not have died.
Breach Duty of care:
If you have not proven a defendant had a duty to the victim, you can’t prove they breached that duty. But if evidence shows the defendant was speeding or running a red light, for instance, then the breach is clear.
One would be to prove that the deceased ran a red light or sped, which caused his or her demise. Since every case is different, this is when the plaintiff must find reliable evidence to convince a jury. You must have extremely detailed and accurate evidence for this.
The third step in proving a wrongful death is to prove that the deceased suffered tangible losses. If the victim financially supported the family, you can bring this information to court, which will also consider the value of their life and their pain and suffering. You need to prove that a breach of legal duty caused wrongful death for a jury to see any reason for them to award your family damages. These damages usually involve unpaid medical bills, funeral costs, or other financial losses.