Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
Valdosta, GA 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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Wrongful Death Attorney, Valdosta, Georgia
Wrongful death happens when someone dies because another person or company was careless or did something wrong. This can happen in car accidents, when using something that’s made poorly, or if a doctor doesn’t take good care of their patient.
These deaths bring a lot of pain and change to families. They not only lose someone they love but they might also lose the money that person used to bring home. Families have to deal with a lot, like funeral costs and the sadness of losing someone important.
Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1) says that when a wrongful death happens, the family of the person who died can ask for money to make up for their loss. This money is supposed to cover things like the money the person would have earned, medical bills, and funeral costs. It’s also for the pain of losing someone close to you. The law tries to make sure families are taken care of when they lose someone because of another person’s mistake.
At Wetherington Law Firm, we understand how hard it is to lose someone you love because someone else was careless. We’re here to help families in Valdosta get the support and money the law says they deserve. We know how to talk to insurance companies and fight in court to make sure your family is taken care of.
Let us help you during this tough time. We promise to work hard for you and your family, just like we would for our own. Contact Wetherington Law Firm today, and let’s talk about how we can help you.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Valdosta, Georgia
In Valdosta, Georgia, understanding wrongful death claims means knowing the specific laws that define what wrongful death is and how the claims process works. Under Georgia law, specifically O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal acts of another person or entity. This law sets the foundation for families to seek compensation when their loved one’s death is caused by someone else’s wrongdoing.
The law allows certain family members, such as the deceased person’s spouse, children, or, if neither is available, the parents, or the representative of the estate, to file a wrongful death claim. The purpose of this claim is to seek compensation for the full value of the life of the deceased, which includes both tangible and intangible elements like lost wages and benefits, as well as the loss of care, companionship, and other elements that made up the essence of the deceased’s life to the family.
Furthermore, O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2 and § 51-4-5 detail who can bring the claim and the types of damages that can be recovered. These laws ensure that the financial and emotional impacts on the deceased’s family are acknowledged and compensated to the extent possible under the law.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death can happen for many reasons, often because someone was careless or did something wrong. Here are some common causes:
- Car Accidents: When drivers don’t follow the rules, like speeding or driving drunk, they can cause accidents that might lead to someone’s death.
- Medical Mistakes: Sometimes doctors or nurses make big mistakes, like giving the wrong medicine or not noticing a serious health problem.
- Workplace Accidents: Some jobs are really dangerous, like working on tall buildings or with heavy machines. If the place isn’t kept safe, people can get hurt badly.
- Product Problems: Things we use every day, like cars or toys, need to be safe. If they’re made wrong and cause harm, it can lead to a wrongful death.
- Slip and Falls Accidents: Especially for older people, slipping and falling can be deadly if places aren’t kept safe, like wet floors without warning signs.
- Violence: Sadly, acts of violence, including crimes like assault, can also cause wrongful death.
Georgia’s Wrongful Death Law Explained
Georgia’s wrongful death law is designed to help families when they lose a loved one because of someone else’s actions or mistakes. This law says that if a person dies because someone else was careless, did something wrong, or didn’t do something they should have, the family of the person who died can ask for money to make up for their loss. Here’s a simple explanation of how it works:
- Who Can File a Claim: The law allows certain people to file a wrongful death claim. First, the spouse of the person who died can file. If there’s no spouse, the children can file. If there are no children or spouse, the parents or the representative of the person’s estate can file the claim.
- What the Claim Covers: The claim can ask for money for the “full value of the life” of the person who died. This includes the money they would have earned if they had lived and the less easy-to-measure things like the care, love, and fun times the family will miss.
- Time Limit to File: In Georgia, there’s a time limit, called a statute of limitations, for filing a wrongful death claim. Usually, the family has up to two years from the date of the person’s death to file the claim.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases: What Families Can Recover
In wrongful death cases in Georgia, families can recover several types of compensation to help them with the financial and emotional impacts of losing a loved one. This compensation aims to cover both the economic and non-economic losses related to the death. Here’s a breakdown of what families can typically recover:
- Lost Wages and Benefits: This includes the money the deceased would have earned if they had lived. It takes into account their salary, as well as benefits like health insurance and retirement savings, from the time of death until what would have been their retirement age.
- Medical and Funeral Expenses: Families can also recover costs for any medical care the deceased received because of their injury before they died, as well as reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of Companionship and Care: This covers the emotional and relational losses the family suffers. It includes the loss of love, companionship, comfort, and guidance the deceased would have provided to their family members.
- Pain and Suffering of the Deceased: If the deceased survived for a period between the injury and death, the estate might also claim compensation for their pain and suffering during that time.
The Role of an Attorney in a Wrongful Death Claim
Having an attorney for a wrongful death claim is crucial because they play a key role in guiding and supporting families during a difficult time. Here’s how an attorney can help:
- Expertise in the Law: Attorneys understand the complex laws and regulations surrounding wrongful death claims in Georgia. They can explain how these laws apply to your case, ensuring you understand your rights and options.
- Investigation: Attorneys can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the death. This includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with experts to build a strong case.
- Handling Paperwork: There’s a lot of paperwork involved in filing a wrongful death claim. An attorney can handle this paperwork and ensure that all filings meet the legal deadlines and requirements.
- Valuing the Claim: Determining the value of a wrongful death claim can be complex. Attorneys can accurately calculate both economic losses (like lost wages and medical expenses) and non-economic losses (like loss of companionship) to ensure the family receives fair compensation.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often try to minimize what they pay out. An attorney can negotiate effectively with these companies to ensure the family receives a fair settlement.
- Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, an attorney can take the case to trial. They will represent the family in court, presenting the case to a judge or jury to secure the compensation the family deserves.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, the general rule is that you have two years from the date of the deceased person’s death to file a wrongful death claim. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. It’s very important because if you try to file a claim after this period has passed, you might not be allowed to pursue compensation for your loss.
However, there are some exceptions that can affect this deadline. For example, if there’s a criminal case related to the death, the time to file a wrongful death claim might be extended until the criminal case is resolved. It’s also different if the claim is against a city, county, or state government entity, which might have shorter notice requirements.
Contact Our Valdosta Wrongful Death Attorney
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing in Valdosta, Georgia, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone. The Wetherington Law Firm is here to guide you through every step of the wrongful death claim process, offering compassionate support and expert legal representation to ensure you receive the compensation and justice your family deserves.
Don’t let the complexity of the law or the tactics of insurance companies stand in your way. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you honor the memory of your loved one by fighting for the rights and future of your family.