Contact our Savannah wrongful death attorneys today for a free consultation about your case, and learn how we can help. Our lawyers can meet with your family on weekdays, weekends, at night, or early in the morning at our law offices or any other location that is convenient for you. We are here to take as much of the burden off you as possible.
How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work in Georgia?
In Georgia, certain family members may pursue a wrongful death claim after the unjustified death of a loved one. Such claims are meant to protect those who had financial and emotional dependence on the individual whose life was wrongly taken.
A wrongful death claim may be pursued against a party whose negligence or recklessness caused a fatal accident, such as a Savannah car accident or a truck crash, or who commits a crime (i.e., homicide).
In Georgia, a wrongful death case consists of two claims:
Survivors’ Wrongful Death Claim
Eligible surviving family members may seek compensation in a wrongful death claim, such as the deceased’s:
- Children, if there is no surviving spouse
- Parents, if there is no surviving spouse or children
Survivors seek damages to compensate them for “the full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.” This includes restitution for:
- Lost wages and benefits, including what the deceased person would have earned if he or she had lived
- Loss of care, companionship, and other intangible benefits the deceased person provided
In cases in which there are minor-age children, the deceased’s spouse represents the children’s interests. Compensation awarded is to be split evenly among the survivors participating in the claim, but under the law, the spouse is to receive at least one-third of the total awarded.
Money awarded for the underage children is held for them by a parent or appointed guardian until they reach the age of majority (18 years old).
The Estate’s Wrongful Death Claim
In a second claim, the deceased person’s estate seeks compensation to pay outstanding bills related to the accident and death. This includes compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to the illness or injury that caused the person’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Conscious pain and suffering the person endured between the fatal incident and death
In this claim, a survivor such as a spouse, a child, or a parent serves as the personal representative of the deceased person to pursue compensation and settle the estate’s expenses. If there are no eligible survivors, the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate may seek compensation for these losses.
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How Our Attorneys Build a Case for Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
Each of the two allowable claims in a wrongful death case can proceed at the same time with the goal of settling debts and obtaining compensation as quickly as possible. Our Savannah wrongful death attorneys will prepare the claims for you by investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determining who or what entity(s) have responsibility for what happened.
Our team will work quickly to develop a full accounting of the estate’s financial costs and losses, as well as your financial losses due to cessation of future anticipated income.
In addition to accounting for current bills and expenses, we can compile employment records and enlist economic consultants to project the value of future wages, benefits, perks, career advancement, etc., that your family member could have anticipated.
These are known as economic damages.
Both the survivors’ claim and the estate’s claim also allow for non-economic or “pain and suffering” damages.
To develop a picture of the “full value” of your loved one’s life, we will spend time with you and other family members, close friends, colleagues, etc., to learn what made that person special to you. Photos, videos, correspondence, memories, and anecdotes about everyday life and special occasions together will help us complete the story that truly conveys your loss.
We may also seek damages for what went through your loved one’s mind between injury and death. This may depend on the type of accident and injury, length of suffering, and your loved one’s understanding of the seriousness of his or her wounds.
Nothing can change the loss you and your family have suffered and will continue to endure. However, our law firm will dedicate every resource we have to pursuing the compensation necessary to relieve you of financial worries and allow you to grieve in peace.
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Contact Our Savannah Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or criminal behavior, contact the Spiva Law Group to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. We will thoroughly investigate the cause of your family member’s death and work aggressively to demand full compensation from all responsible parties.
Georgia’s statutes of limitations put deadlines of as little as two years on filing wrongful death claims, and accident investigations can be very time consuming. Please schedule a free consultation with our team today to learn what your options are. We can get answers for you, and we will not charge for work on your claim unless we recover money for your family. Contact us now.
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