The loss of a loved one is a difficult and confusing event that is compounded when the death was caused by someone’s reckless or careless conduct. Legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind during your time of grieving, but if the death of your loved one occurred because of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the financial and emotional losses you’ve suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we strive to provide clear and accurate information when you’re dealing with these traumatic circumstances. To discuss your case for free with one of our attorneys, please call us today at 706-596-1446. We help families in and around Columbus and Fort Benning, Georgia, as well as Phenix City, Alabama, and other communities.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligence leads to the death of another; the death could have been accidental or intentional, but the responsible party directly caused the other person’s death. Even after a criminal case has been tried, and possibly failed, a wrongful death suit can still be pursued.
Successful wrongful death cases must establish the following criteria:
- The death of an individual (the deceased)
- Someone’s negligence caused the death
- The survival of certain family members who are suffering damages as a result of the death
- The appointment of a personal representative for the deceased’s estate
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, only the following parties can seek compensation for “the full value of the life” of a lost loved one:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving child (if there is no spouse)
- Surviving parents (if there is no spouse or child)
- Administrator of the deceased’s estate (if there is no spouse, child or parent)
Alabama law, on the other hand, doesn’t allow family members of the deceased to file wrongful death claims. Instead, only a personal representative of the deceased's estate may file a claim, and all damages are paid to the estate.
Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
There are two general types of damages in wrongful death claims: monetary and non-monetary. Monetary damages involve actual, quantifiable losses such as funeral expenses, medical costs, lost income and other calculable damages. Non-monetary damages involve pain, suffering and emotional losses. In some cases, punitive damages are levied against the responsible party as punishment for gross negligence.
In Georgia, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, damages could include:
- Related medical expenses prior to death
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of future income
- Loss of future benefits
- Loss of companionship and guidance
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
In Alabama, only punitive damages can be pursued in a wrongful death case. There are no compensatory damages.
Call Now to Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case for Free
In both Georgia and Alabama, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the death. This means that time may already be running out on your case.
To learn more about how our experienced wrongful death attorneys can help you and your family, contact us today on line or at 706-596-1446 to schedule a free initial consultation. We welcome clients from all over Georgia and Alabama, including Columbus and Fort Benning, Georgia, and Phenix City, Alabama.