Losing a loved one to an accident or other preventable incident is a heartbreaking loss. At Foster Law LLC, we understand the toll that loss takes on tight-knit families. At this point, you may not know what to do. Call us today – our team of Georgia and Alabama wrongful death lawyers are here to help.
While money cannot fill the void left behind by a beloved family member, it may be able to help take care of your family and bring closure. That’s why our Atlanta and Mobile wrongful death lawyers represent families affected by an unexpected loss. Here is everything you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits and how our Georgia and Alabama wrongful death lawyers may be able to help.
WHAT IS WRONGFUL DEATH?
Wrongful death is when the negligent or intentional actions of another person cause someone’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit may arise from any kind of personal injury case, including but not limited to:
- Auto accidents;
- Trucking accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Slip and falls;
- Medical malpractice;
- Defective medical devices;
- Dangerous drugs; and
- Defective products.
While these aren’t the only situations where wrongful death may apply, they are some of the most common scenarios. Ultimately, if the deceased sustained an injury that they could have made a claim for if they lived, wrongful death suits help the surviving family or personal representative of the deceased pursue that claim in their place.
DAMAGES AVAILABLE IN AN ALABAMA WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
Unlike many other states, Alabama law does not allow close relatives or immediate family members of the deceased person to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Alabama, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is allowed to bring a wrongful death action. If there’s a will, the personal representative will probably be named in the will. If there isn’t a will, however, things may get complicated. Either way, our Atlanta and Mobile wrongful death lawyers are here to help navigate you through the process of figuring out the personal representative and filing suit.
Alabama wrongful death law is also unique in that only punitive damages can be recovered. Virtually all other states allow surviving family members to recover damages for things like lost income, funeral and burial expenses, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. Punitive damages are awarded for the purpose of punishing the defendant(s) and helping deter them and others from similar wrongful conduct going forward. Unlike traditional damages, punitive damages are highly subjective and must be determined on a case-by-case basis. This is one of many reasons why you need an experienced Atlanta or Mobile wrongful death attorney to help navigate you through the process of filing suit and receiving fair compensation for your loss.
DAMAGES AVAILABLE IN A GEORGIA WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
Georgia law allows representatives or immediate family members of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. In most cases, the compensation from a wrongful death settlement goes to the surviving spouse, parents, or children of the deceased. However, if the deceased has an estate, the representative of that estate may seek damages as well.
In Georgia, those bringing a wrongful death claim may pursue “the full value of the life of the decedent.” O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2(a). There are two ways to help calculate the losses owed to the deceased’s family: economic damages and non-economic damages. While no amount of money can replace human life, these two damage types help define the value of a wrongful death claim.
Economic damages are any tangible losses incurred by the deceased or the family. This includes any future income the deceased would have contributed had they lived a full life, funeral expenses, medical bills, etc. It also includes any services the family lost from the deceased. For example, if the deceased cooked or performed home maintenance for their spouse, the spouse could seek the value of those services.
Non-economic damages are much more subjective. This refers to any intangible losses sustained by the deceased person’s family. There is no magic formula to determine economic damages. At Foster Law LLC, we take every aspect of your loved one’s life into account when calculating non-economic losses. Did they have any special hobbies they shared with the family? Did they leave behind children who now won’t benefit from their guidance? Did they take care of an elderly family member or provide emotional comfort? Every person leaves an impact on our lives, and a compassionate Atlanta and Mobile wrongful death lawyer knows the importance of all the little moments.
SPEAK WITH AN ATLANTA AND MOBILE WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER TODAY
Losing a loved one to the negligence of another is devastating for families. However, you don’t have to go through the process alone. At Foster Law LLC, our Atlanta and Mobile wrongful death attorneys dedicate themselves to seeking justice for families who lose their loved ones unexpectedly. Our goal is to provide the closure families need after such a traumatic experience.
To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or give us a call at our office in Atlanta, Georgia and Mobile, Alabama.