Anyone who causes the death of another through recklessness, carelessness or negligence should be held accountable. Indeed, the law makes provision for this. However, if you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions, you’ll have to do so within a set time. The timeframe set out under the law is called the statute of limitations and it must be adhered to. If you don’t file your claim in time, the court is likely to dismiss it. It’s important that you contact an Atlanta wrongful death attorney as soon as you can so you can be advised of the deadlines that apply to your case.
The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in Georgia
In Georgia, you typically have two years from the date of the fatal incident to take legal action. However, not every case is straightforward. Sometimes, an incident occurs but the individual doesn’t die until weeks or months later. In such cases, the clock starts on running on the date of death rather than the date of the incident.
Things get a little more complicated if you’re suing a branch of government. You typically have somewhere between six months and a year. It all depends on whether you’re dealing with the federal, state, county or city government. You’ll likely have to advise the entity of your intent to sue before you actually file the lawsuit. Your attorney will let you know exactly what you need to do if you believe the state was responsible for your loved one’s death.
Meanwhile, if the victim was killed because someone broke a state law, you may have more than two years within which to file your case. This applies to both criminal violations and traffic violations. The statute of limitations is typically paused pending the outcome of the criminal case. It doesn’t matter whether the criminal charges stem from deliberate action or something that happened unintentionally. However, it is important to note that the accused person doesn’t need to be found guilty in order for you to file a wrongful death claim. Civil suits brought by individuals are separate from criminal cases brought by the state.
If your loved one died as a result of medical malpractice, the two-year statute of limitations applies. However, if the medical error was not discovered right away, you have two years from the date of discovery to file a claim. That being said, you will never have more than five years from the date of the individual’s death. It’s important to remember that no two cases are exactly alike. Therefore, you need to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta to get expert advice on your situation.
Who Can Claim Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
When someone dies, many people feel the impact. However, in the same way that only certain survivors can file a wrongful death claim, there are laws governing who can receive compensation. The money awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is equally divided among the victim’s spouse and children. In the case of minor children, their guardian will be responsible for their share. Regardless of how many children the victim had, their spouse will never get less than a third of the amount.
There are some exceptions. If the person who died had no spouse or children, their parents typically share the award equally. If the parents are living apart, separated or divorced, the judge can be asked to decide how much each individual will get. However, it’s best if the parents can decide this among themselves instead of fighting it out in court. This reduces the likelihood that the defense will find something to use against them.
Contact Calvin Smith Law Today to Discuss Your Case
You’ll need time to grieve your loved one’s passing and you may not want to talk to a lawyer right away. However, we must stress that the sooner you consult an attorney, the better it will be for you. If you lost your spouse, parent or child because of someone’s negligence, carelessness or intention, you need to do everything you can to get compensation. Your attorney will handle all the paperwork and negotiations while you focus on your family. The Atlanta wrongful death lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will help you to get compensation for funeral and burial expenses, lost income and benefits, loss of consortium, and more. Call us to schedule a free consultation and get our opinion on your case.