When you lose a loved one, it can be pretty difficult. It’s even worse if the loss is sudden or caused by someone’s act of negligence. After the emotional trauma of losing a family member, most families struggle with financial ruins. They usually have to pay for funeral expenses and medical bills in addition to figuring out how to make ends meet. This is where wrongful death claims in Atlanta come into the picture.
With a wrongful death claim, a family can recover financially after the loss of their loved one. However, select people can file a wrongful death claim in Atlanta. So how do you know if your case is eligible? Our lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will help you understand what wrongful death claims are and how to find out if you’re qualified in this article.
What Is Wrongful Death?
People die all the time; that’s a sad fact. However, there are situations where the deceased’s survivor can file for a wrongful death claim in Atlanta. Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to cases where someone else’s negligence causes a person’s death. The idea behind wrongful death is that without the negligent act, the death wouldn’t have happened. In such cases, the family of the dead party can file a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for the act that led to the wrongful death.
An example is if a pedestrian crosses the street at a designated crosswalk and a driver hits them despite a red light. If the collision causes the pedestrian’s death, then that’s a wrongful death. In such cases, the pedestrian’s family could choose to file a wrongful death claim against the driver. They’re eligible because the driver should have stopped, and the pedestrian was legally allowed to cross because of the red light. However, by not stopping, the driver committed an act of negligence, leading to the pedestrian’s death.
Who Is Eligible for Filing Wrongful Death Claims in Atlanta?
When someone gets injured in an accident that’s not their fault, they can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation. However, if someone loses their life, they cannot file a claim themselves, and their family members can do this for them. Georgia law is quite strict on who can file for wrongful death claims.
The people who are eligible for filing wrongful death claims are:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- The deceased’s parents, if they have no surviving spouses or children
- A representative of the deceased’s estate if they have no surviving parent.
The law allows the compensation that the deceased’s representative received to be used for the next of kin’s benefit. This means that even if you don’t fall within this list, you can still receive compensation if you’re the next of kin. However, you’re not eligible for actually filing the claim, except you are the representative.
Statute of Limitation Laws and Wrongful Death Claims
Like several claims out there, wrongful death claims in Atlanta have a strict statute of limitation. This means that you need to file the claim within a set time, or it will no longer be valid. Under Georgia law, the time limit is two years.
Note that the court can extend the statute of limitation on some rare occasions. For example, sometimes, the statute of limitation is extended if there’s a criminal case pending against the liable party.
In cases of drunk driving where the liable party killed your loved one while driving drunk, they would face criminal charges before you can file a wrongful death claim against them. In such a scenario, the statute of limitation would be put on hold to ensure it doesn’t run out before you have the chance of filing your claims.
Seek Professional Help for Your Wrongful Death Claims
Most times, when you lose a loved one, the last thing people are thinking of is compensation. However, when you’re eligible for wrongful death claims in Atlanta and you file, the settlement can come in handy for medical bills and funeral expenses. In addition, with a two-year statute of limitation, you can mourn your loved one’s loss while also seeking compensation for their wrongful death.
Your best bet to receive compensation in a wrongful death claim is contacting the Calvin Smith Law office. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you navigate your case. With a free consultation, you can find out if you’re eligible for filing wrongful death claims in Atlanta. If you are, our experienced lawyers will discuss your case and the best course of action with you. So contact us today.