While many deaths occur later once a person is older after they’ve lived a long, fulfilling life, there are some instances in which individuals die unexpectedly at the prime of their lives, despite being relatively young and in optimal health.
The sudden passing of a person can leave a void in the lives of those who love them, causing them significant emotional despair and to have to contend with unanticipated financial hardships. While there’s little anyone can do to diminish the mental anguish or sense of loss that is a natural part of the grieving process, a Macon wrongful death lawyer at Bey & Associates can help better navigate any financial crisis you’re facing by advising you of your right to take legal action.
How Is Wrongful Death Defined?
Wrongful death refers to a preventable loss of life. More specifically, this phenomenon has to do with someone’s life being taken prematurely by another party’s negligence (wrongful conduct).
The negligence the responsible party engaged in can be intentional violence, a failure to warn of potential dangers associated with products or premises, and not exercising a duty of care, as examples. Read on for additional examples.
Situations That Can Result in a Person’s Wrongful Death
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), various incidents, including the following, can result in a person prematurely losing their life. Some of the most common ways individuals suffer an accidental death due to someone else’s negligence in Macon, GA include:
Premises Liability Incidents
Also known as dangerous property situations, fatalities may stem from scenarios such as a slip and fall or a negligent security situation that results in physically violent acts toward the victim.
A death that occurs on the job may stem from a worker’s use of dangerous machinery or scaffolding failing, causing an employee to fall to their death. Additionally, a worker may experience a health decline, ultimately claiming their life after being subjected to toxic substances or carcinogens on the job, such as asbestos.
This may involve a doctor misdiagnosing a patient or providing them with a delayed diagnosis, a surgeon leaving a foreign object in a patient or not operating on the right body part as a surgical error, or fatal birth injuries stemming from poor patient monitoring, as examples.
Dangerous or Defective Products
Regular everyday consumer products, kids’ toys included, can malfunction due to design, manufacturing, or advertising errors, injuring or killing those who use them. The same can happen if a person uses a prescription or over-the-counter drug with unadvertised adverse side effects or if the medication was formulated in a contaminated facility.
The legal industry refers to cases like these as product liability ones; however, when someone dies from using a product, it may warrant the filing of a wrongful death claim.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
These may include truck accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, and pedestrian accidents. These incidents may occur while a distracted, fatigued, intoxicated, or otherwise reckless motorist is behind the wheel of a vehicle, causing the death of one or more vehicle occupants if a crash occurs.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Understaffing, improperly training personnel, physical abuse, or failing to screen visitors are four examples of situations that may leave nursing home residents vulnerable to suffering irreversible harm, resulting in a resident’s premature death in an assisted living facility.
There are various other situations aside from the ones above that may involve the element of another party’s negligence that may result in a person unexpectedly losing their life before their time.
Some of these incidents result in the immediate death of a victim. In other personal injury cases, the victim initially survives a dangerous or traumatic situation but loses their life from complications associated with the initial injury incident days, months, or even years later.
Wrongful Death Damages Surviving Family Members Can Recover
If you could reverse fate, you would understandably take having your deceased loved one return to playing an active role in your family once again over any amount of a settlement any insurance company representing a negligent party could ever imagine offering. You would also say that the ability to recover money, such as life insurance benefits, isn’t important to you either.
Unfortunately, turning back the hands of time and bringing your loved one back isn’t possible, though.
There are some instances in which a wrongful death occurs where prosecutors charge a negligent party, the suspect, with criminal acts, thus opening up a criminal case against them and taking their case to trial in hopes that a judge or jury will impose incarceration or fines. Whether or not this happens, sometimes family members want to further hold negligent parties liable.
Economic and Noneconomic Damages
The way our legal system works in Georgia is that it allows a close family member of a person who died due to someone’s negligence to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A Macon wrongful death claim like this can allow plaintiffs, such as a deceased’s estate, to recover compensation for:
- Any final medical expenses your loved one may have received medical bills for, such as medical costs associated with life-saving triage care or surgery to address injuries sustained before your loved one’s life was taken
- Lost wages your relative incurred between the time of their injury incident and your loved one’s death
- Funeral expenses or burial expenses
- Any mental anguish, conscious pain and suffering, and similar noneconomic losses the deceased may have suffered prior to their demise
- Future income (lost earnings) the decedent was set to earn across the remainder of their life, including retirement benefits
- Losses, such as of companionship or consortium, surviving family members sustained as a result of the victim’s passing—especially when you relied on them for their emotional support
Calculating losses where there are physical account statements or receipts, as in the case of medical bills or funeral expenses, is not challenging. However, determining how long an individual might have remained alive had their life not been cut short and how much they would have earned during that time frame can be more difficult.
Even harder yet is figuring out the monetary amount to assign to less tangible, emotional losses like the impact losing a parent can have on a child’s future.
By filing a wrongful death claim, you may also be eligible to receive punitive damages. A judge presiding over your wrongful death case may allow you to recover damages such as these if the actions of the person who caused your loved one’s death were grossly negligent.
Judges who hear wrongful death cases often seek to penalize responsible parties by imposing punitive damages. They do so in personal injury cases like these with the expectation it will cause both the defendant and others to rethink their actions if they find themselves in a similar situation.
Why Have an Attorney Handle Your Macon Wrongful Death Claim?
There are many cases we could make for why you should work closely with a Macon wrongful death lawyer when considering taking legal action after a relative’s loss. However, one of the more critical reasons is because of the knowledge an experienced personal injury attorney like one of ours at Bey & Associates brings to the table.
Our Macon wrongful death attorneys have experience building a legal claim like yours. This includes cases in which liability is clear from the start and ones where it’s necessary for our law firm to interview witnesses to gain better insight as to what happened.
The wrongful death lawyers at our Georgia law firm know how to calculate existing expenses and forecast future ones. In terms of the latter, this includes lost revenue generation opportunities that could have been available to your loved one had it not been for that person’s death.
When our Macon wrongful death lawyers agree to take on your case on a contingency fee basis, they do so because they’re confident in their ability to seek justice on your behalf as part of this legal process.
You can rest assured that when a wrongful death lawyer at Bey & Associates says they’ll seek justice for you, that means they will make a demand at recovering maximum compensation, but that also has the best chances of getting an insurance company to settle. We’re committed to advocating for you to ensure you receive as just and fair of a settlement as possible.
What Statute of Limitations Applies to Georgia Wrongful Death Claims?
The statute of limitations, or time limit by which you must file wrongful death claims in Georgia, is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. If you fail to file a wrongful death action within this short window of time, then you’ll likely forever lose your opportunity to do so.
Elements a Macon Wrongful Death Attorneys Must Prove
There are four primary elements a Macon wrongful death attorney must establish to have a successful lawsuit or claim. Those include that:
- The responsible party owed a duty of care to protect the health or safety of the decedent
- The alleged negligent individual breached their duty of care
- The negligent party’s actions caused your loved one to suffer harm (fatal injuries or contract a deadly illness)
- Your deceased loved one (and thus you as well) suffered financial harm and other losses (damages) as a result of your relative’s premature passing
Proving liability in personal injury cases is never easy; however, it can be even more challenging in wrongful death cases when insurance companies have the potential of having to make more significant payouts. Insurers tend to deny liability more often in wrongful death cases like this. This is why you need an injury attorney from Bey & Associates advocating for you and your best interests in wrongful death cases like this.
Relatives That Are Eligible To File a Macon Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OGSA) § 51-4-2(a), which is one of the primary Georgia wrongful death laws, spells out who has the right to submit a wrongful death action in our state. That Georgia law describes how a surviving spouse or the deceased’s minor children are the primary individuals entitled to receive fair compensation after someone’s wrongful death.
A deceased individual’s parent(s) can file a wrongful death action to seek compensation when the decedent didn’t have any of the above-referenced dependents. Another, more distant family member or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file wrongful death lawsuits in instances in which the deceased didn’t have a surviving spouse, surviving children, or surviving parents at the time they lost their life.
Let Bey & Associates Handle Your Wrongful Death Case
If someone else’s negligence has recently taken the life of a loved one, then you’re likely having difficulty envisioning ever moving on past your grief in light of your newfound circumstances. While there’s nothing our wrongful death attorneys can do to bring your loved one back, we seek to financially penalize the responsible party or their insurer.
Any compensation our lawyers recover on your behalf can then be used to reduce the financial burden you’re sure to have because of the unexpected nature of your loss.
Call or email our law firm to schedule a free initial consultation with a Macon wrongful death lawyer today. That’s all it takes to learn more about your rights and how to best exercise them as you seek justice for your family member’s death.