A doctor about to perform an autopsy to show wrongful death.

If you’ve found yourself in the heartbreaking position of mourning a family member’s untimely death in Athens, Georgia, a complex legal case is most likely the last thing you want to think about right now. But while a wrongful death lawsuit won’t undo your loss, it can help in other ways.

For one, a wrongful death suit can make sure the person responsible for your loved one’s death is held accountable. The compensation from a wrongful death suit may be vital to making sure your family’s future is secure.

Many families actually get a sense of comfort from turning their departed loved one’s case over to a wrongful death attorney who can handle the practical matter of seeking justice for the deceased and fair compensation for those left behind.

If your loved one was the victim of someone else’s negligence, the Athens wrongful death attorneys at Adamson & Cleveland, LLC can help. Our compassionate, knowledgeable team of wrongful death lawyers will be there for you at every step of your case, and we’ll fight to hold the negligent party responsible for their actions.

To speak with our staff, call us today or visit us online for a free consultation.

Is There a Statute of Limitations in Georgia on Wrongful Death Claims?

Typically, the time limit to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia is two years. However, the statute of limitations can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

If an agency of the government is involved, the statute of limitations for notice may be as short as six months. On the other hand, a criminal case related to the civil wrongful death claim can suspend the statute of limitations until the criminal case is resolved, giving you much more time to file.

Your best bet, though, is to speak with an Athens wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss the filing deadline.

Who Can Make A Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

Two women grieving following loss of family member who was killed on the job.A surviving spouse or child is generally the person who would file a wrongful death claim. A surviving spouse who successfully proves a wrongful death claim must share whatever they recover with any surviving minor children of the deceased.

If the deceased is a minor, their parents may bring a wrongful death suit on their child’s behalf. In the event that there’s no surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, the estate may bring a wrongful death claim.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Georgia, a wrongful death is defined as a death resulting from the negligence, recklessness, or criminal actions of another person or entity (for example, a business). It does not matter whether the person or entity acted intentionally or not.

Typically, wrongful death claims involve proving some type of negligence. In legal terms, proving negligence means showing that the other party owed a duty of care to the victim, that they failed in that duty of care, and that their actions led to the victim’s death.

Because the victim in a wrongful death suit cannot speak on their own behalf, proving negligence means relying on other kinds of evidence. This can involve police records, surveillance records, expert testimony, interviewing witnesses, and so on. A skilled wrongful death lawyer will use the investigative resources at their disposal to help document and prove your case.

What Compensation Is Available in Wrongful Death Claims?

There are two different kinds of claims surviving family members can make in the event of a wrongful death. A standard wrongful death claim awards damages for the “full value” of the life of the deceased, which is broken down further into the tangible and intangible value of their life.

The tangible value includes things like lost wages and other damages with a quantifiable monetary value. The intangible value is based on things like lost companionship and support, pain and suffering, etc.

In addition to a wrongful death claim, surviving family members can also file what’s known as an estate claim. An estate claim is meant to help the surviving family make up for some of the financial losses stemming from their family member’s untimely passing. Some of the losses you can recover in an estate claim include medical expenses related to the deceased’s final illness or injury, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering endured by the deceased just prior to their death.

What Are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims?

There are many ways in which someone’s negligence or recklessness can lead to a wrongful death. Here are some of the most common types of wrongful death claims:

  • A doctor's error causes a wrongful death.Medical malpractice – Wrong-site surgeries, prescription errors, poor post-operative care, and other forms of medical malpractice can lead to a wrongful death, though proving the case can be tricky.
  • Car and truck traffic collision – Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, reckless or overly aggressive driving, speeding, and similar factors can all lead to a fatal crash.
  • Premises liability – Dangerous conditions on other people’s properties can have deadly results, such a pool drownings, fatal falls, and violent attacks caused by inadequate security.
  • Defective products – From lead paint on children’s toys to bad prescription drugs, there are innumerable ways that sloppy design, testing, or marketing of a product can endanger those who use it. In some cases, these defects can be fatal.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or products – The go-to example of this kind of wrongful death is mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, but asbestos is not the only toxic chemical that people can be inadvertently exposed to. Toxic chemicals can lead to lengthy, painful illnesses that cause years of agony to victims.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Athens

A wrongful death suit is not a legal battle you want to wade into without help. These cases can be very complex, requiring significant research and expert resources you may not have access to. At Adamson & Cleveland, LLC, we want to give you the best chance possible at succeeding in your wrongful death claim. We have the resources and experience to make it happen.

To find out more, give our Athens office a call today for a free claim review. We look forward to working with you and helping you pursue justice for the family member you’ve lost.