Whether caused by a fatal motor vehicle accident, trucking accident or some other catastrophic accident, the loss of a loved one is a tragic, heartbreaking event. No amount of money can ever replace a parent, spouse, or child lost in a fatal accident. However, when someone dies due to the fault of another, the surviving family members have the right to be compensated for the full value of the loved one’s life. Additionally, if your loved one suffered before passing away, her estate has a right to recover for her pain and suffering and medical expenses experienced prior to death. This is called a survivor action. Damages available in a wrongful death and survival lawsuits include:
- The full value of the life of the deceased, without deduction for necessary or other personal expenses of the deceased, had he lived.
- When calculating such damages, a jury will consider the total earnings that the deceased would have earned to the end of his working life
- A jury is also instructed that the full value of the life of the deceased is not limited to just the amount of money that he would earned but also includes the full value to the deceased of everything else in his life.
- When trying wrongful death cases, it is important to deeply appreciate what the most valuable things were to a person who is killed. After speaking with family and friends, the things most valuable to all of us have nothing to do with how much money we earned. It is the loss of our loving relationships that we cherish the most. The value to the mother of her relationship with her young child, the value of her relationship to her own parents, to her spouse, her brother or sister - -all far outweigh what this mother was earning.
Because the deceased family member is not available to bring a case against the person responsible for the loss, their estate and family is authorized by wrongful death statutes to do so on his or her behalf. An executor or administrator, who may be a spouse, child, parent, or other relative, represents the estate.Wrongful Death — An Overview
A “wrongful death” occurs when a death is caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person, company or entity. Every state has wrongful death statutes that set forth the procedures for bringing a wrongful death action. An action for wrongful death belongs to certain persons identified by statute. In Georgia, such persons will include the decedent’s immediate family members, such as surviving spouses and or children, parents or siblings. An attorney experienced in wrongful death law, can explain all of the intricacies of these lawsuits and help achieve the best possible outcome for survivors.Wrongful Deaths Involving Children and the Elderly
Setting a price on human life is not an easy task, but it is one that juries are required to do in wrongful death actions. Because the primary measure of damages in a wrongful death action is financial loss, the death of a child calls into question difficulties in calculating an adequate damage award for the death of a child. When an adult dies, the financial loss to the family is easily calculated. For example, when a parent dies, a child may seek damages for loss of the parent’s care, income, nurturing, and guidance. When a child dies, the parents’ recovery is limited by the lack of earnings of the child.Statutes of Limitations
All wrongful death actions have time limits within which these cases must be filed. These time limits are knows as limitations periods that are found in a state’s statutes of limitations statutes. In general, if you do not file your action before the expiration of the limitations period you are forever barred or prevented from bringing a suit to recover damages for a loss in a wrongful death or any other civil case. The death of a child raises different considerations in evaluating how much time a family has to file a lawsuit against a wrongdoer. It is very important to speak to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to determine how much time might be left before a claim is forever barred.
If you have lost a loved one due to others’ negligence, you have the right to seek compensation, and the time to act is NOW.
The attorneys at McAleer Law Firm are experienced in handling wrongful death cases, and are ready to help. Call an attorney now at 404.MCALEER.