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Thomasville Wrongful Death Attorney
Matt Wetherington with Wetherington Law Firm,P.C. is the hardest working attorney I have ever worked with. He went above and beyond our expectations. Calls and emails are returned promptly and by Mr. Wetherington himself.
5 Stars is nowhere near enough to rate how awesome Matt and his colleagues were. They took my case even when I didn’t think there was anything we could do. I was in a bad situation at the time and Matt, Robert, and Sarah were there for me every step of the way.
I’m so grateful to Ben Levy and everything he did for me. He was truly dedicated to helping my case. Throughout the process, Ben was very thoughtful, responsive, organized, and made sure I was fully informed along the way.
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When a life is lost because someone else wasn’t careful or made a big mistake, it’s called wrongful death. This can happen in many ways, like car accidents, medical mistakes, or even from using a product that’s not safe. It’s a terrible time for the family who has to say goodbye to someone they love. The hurt isn’t just emotional; families can struggle with money too, especially if the person who passed away was the one bringing in the paycheck.
Georgia law gets this and says families can ask for help through legal claims. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 51-4-2, the family, like a partner, kids, or parents, can file a claim for money to cover what they’ve lost. This isn’t just about the cash. It’s also for the love, the time together, and the stuff that person would have brought to their lives.
Now, at Wetherington Law Firm, we’re here with a kind heart and tough legal chops to help Thomasville families during these rough patches. We stand shoulder to shoulder with you, fighting to make sure the law does what it’s meant to—like getting the money that helps ease the burdens. We know the rules inside out, we talk the talk with insurance companies, and we never give up. So, if your family is going through this kind of tough time, let’s talk. We’re here to help you find some peace and fairness, the Wetherington way.
Understanding Wrongful Death Cases in Thomasville
In Thomasville, when someone dies because another person was not careful or made a bad choice, it’s called a wrongful death. It’s a serious matter, and the law says the family of the person who died has a right to ask for help. These cases are about things like car crashes, or when a doctor does something wrong, and they can also be about using something that was made poorly and isn’t safe.
Georgia’s laws tell us that the family can to court to get money for their loss. This includes the money the loved one would have made if they were still alive, the medical costs before they passed away, the cost of the funeral, and for the sadness and lost time together. These wrongful death laws are written in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), and they say that a husband or wife, kids, or parents can ask for this money.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Incidents
Wrongful death incidents can happen for lots of different reasons, but here are some common ones that we see a lot:
- Car Accidents: When cars crash because someone wasn’t following the rules of the road or paying attention, and it causes someone to pass away.
- Medical Mistakes: If a doctor or nurse doesn’t take care of a patient the right way, and the patient dies because of it.
- Work Accidents: Sometimes jobs can be dangerous, like at construction sites, and if someone gets hurt at work and dies, it might be a wrongful death.
- Products That Aren’t Safe: If a company makes something that’s dangerous and doesn’t tell people, using it could hurt someone so badly that they die.
- Falling Down: If someone slips and falls because a place wasn’t keeping things safe and dies from the fall, that can be wrongful death.
- Violence: Sadly, if someone is hurt on purpose by another person and dies because of those injuries, that’s another case of wrongful death.
Navigating Georgia Wrongful Death Law
Georgia wrongful death law can seem like a maze, but here’s a simple way to look at it:
According to O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1, a wrongful death is when someone dies because of another person’s “negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal” actions. This means it can happen if someone isn’t being careful, like when texting and driving, or if they do something on purpose to hurt another person.
The same section of Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2, says that the person who has passed away’s spouse or kids can ask the court for money because of the death. If there isn’t a spouse or kid, the person who died’s parents can do it. And if no family can do it, the person who takes care of the dead person’s stuff (called an ‘estate’) can ask for help.
O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5 explains that this money can include what the person who died could have earned if they were still alive, like paychecks, as well as the value of the life they had, which includes the care, advice, and fun times they would have had.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Thomasville?
In Thomasville, just like in the rest of Georgia, specific family members are allowed to file a wrongful death claim when they lose a loved one because someone else was careless or did something wrong. Here’s who the law says can file:
- The Spouse: The wife or husband of the person who died can file the claim. If there are kids involved, the spouse represents them too, and any money won is shared with the children, with the spouse getting at least one-third no matter how many kids there are.
- The Children: If there’s no spouse, the children can file the claim.
- The Parents: If the person who died didn’t have a spouse or children, their mom and dad can file.
- The Estate Representative: If there are no immediate family members, the person who is in charge of the estate (the stuff the person who died owned) can file the claim. Any money from the claim goes into the estate and is shared out according to the will or the state laws if there’s no will.
What kind of damages can be recovered in a wrongful death case?
In a wrongful death case in Thomasville, Georgia, as in other parts of the state, damages refer to the compensation the family of the deceased can receive for their loss. Georgia law typically allows for two main categories of damages in wrongful death cases:
- The Full Value of the Life of the Deceased: This covers both tangible and intangible aspects, such as:
- Economic Damages: The potential lifetime earnings of the deceased, including what they could reasonably be expected to earn if they had lived. It takes into account factors like salary, potential raises, and benefits. Also included might be services the deceased would have provided, such as childcare or home maintenance.
- Non-Economic Damages: The intangible elements, like the companionship, care, or other emotional benefits the deceased would have contributed to their loved ones’ lives.
- Financial Losses Related to the Death: This covers monetary losses that are more immediate and related to the death itself, such as:
- Medical Expenses: Any costs for medical treatment the deceased received because of the injury that led to their death.
- Funeral and Burial Costs: Reasonable expenses related to the funeral and burial or cremation.
- Pain and Suffering: This may include compensation for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced between any injury and death.
The estate of the deceased may also be able to recover:
- Estate Claims: These can include financial losses the estate suffered as a result of the death, like the above medical and funeral costs, but also potentially lost wages between the final injury and death, and sometimes punitive damages if the wrongful act was particularly reckless or egregious.
Is there a time limit to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
Yes, there is a time limit set by law known as the “statute of limitations” which dictates the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated. In the state of Georgia, the statute of limitations for most wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death.
However, there are a few circumstances that can affect this time limit:
- Estate of the deceased not yet probated: If the deceased’s estate has not gone through probate, the statute of limitations may be extended. This is because the claim can be brought on behalf of the estate, and if the estate hasn’t been handled legally yet, it could delay the case.
- Criminal charges: If there are criminal charges related to the death (for example, in the case of a homicide), the statute of limitations for the wrongful death civil case may be paused until the criminal case is resolved.
- Minor children: If the deceased’s children are minors, the statute may be tolled until they reach the age of majority.
Do I need an attorney to file a wrongful death claim?
While it is not legally required for you to have an attorney to file a wrongful death claim, it is strongly recommended. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is incredibly difficult, and navigating the legal complexities of a wrongful death case can be overwhelming for those who are grieving. Here are several reasons why having an attorney can be beneficial:
- Legal Knowledge and Experience: Wrongful death cases can be complex and often depend on thorough knowledge of state laws and legal precedents. An attorney with experience in this area will know how to handle these aspects.
- Investigation and Evidence Gathering: An attorney can assist in the collection of evidence necessary to support your claim, including working with accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and private investigators if necessary.
- Negotiation with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often attempt to minimize the amount they pay out in claims. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to attempt to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
- Valuation of the Claim: Determining the value of a wrongful death claim involves many variables, including projected lifetime earnings, non-economic damages like loss of companionship, and more. Lawyers are experienced in accurately assessing this.
- Litigation: If an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial. An attorney can represent you in court and advocate on your behalf throughout the legal proceedings.
- Handling Paperwork and Deadlines: There’s a lot of paperwork involved in filing a claim, and missing a deadline can jeopardize the entire case. Lawyers are skilled at managing these logistical tasks.
- Offering Peace of Mind: Perhaps most importantly, having an attorney take care of the legal process allows you and your family to focus on grieving and healing. An attorney can manage the stresses of the case so that you don’t have to.
If you’ve suffered the heart-wrenching loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you don’t have to face the legal battle alone. Take the first step towards justice and healing by reaching out to our experienced wrongful death attorneys. We’re here to provide you with compassionate support and dedicated representation, ensuring that your rights are protected and your voice is heard.
Contact us now for a free consultation, and let us help you secure the rightful compensation you deserve. Time is of the essence, so don’t wait until it’s too late to act – your journey towards closure and financial security starts here.