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Losing a loved one can be an extremely painful experience. If someone else’s wrongful actions are responsible for your loved one’s passing, your grief can feel compounded. In these situations, you and your family deserve justice.
The Athens wrongful death lawyers at Dan Chapman & Associates can help. Our attorneys can help you and your family file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party and hold him or her accountable for the loss of your loved one. We will fight diligently for your right to justice.
Why You Need Dan Chapman & Associates, LLC as Your Athens Wrongful Death Attorneys
- Our attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience. We will leverage the full extent of our knowledge, experience, and resources to advocate for your best interests.
- We understand how difficult it can be to grieve the loss of a loved one. Our firm will provide you with the support you need during the litigation process and will guide you through each stage of your case.
- We operate on a contingency fee basis for maximum affordability. If our attorneys do not secure a settlement in your wrongful death lawsuit, we will not charge you any legal fees.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Under Georgia law, a wrongful death occurs a person dies due to a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from the property that has been defectively manufactured. If the deceased person could have pursued an Athens personal injury lawsuit or another type of legal action had he or she survived the incident, the case likely qualifies as wrongful death.
If you lost a loved one due to any of the following, your family may be eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Negligence-based incidents, such as car accidents
- Malpractice at the hands of a healthcare provider
- An intentional act or crime
- A defective or dangerous product
Types of Wrongful Death Claims We Handle
At Dan Chapman & Associates, our lawyers have helped families of wrongful death victims seek justice for over 20 years. Our firm represents Athens residents in a wide range of wrongful death claims, such as the following:
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Boating accidents
- Motorcycle injuries
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective products
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Athens?
In a wrongful death case, the victim is not able to represent himself or herself. As such, someone else must initiate the legal action on his or her behalf. Like most states, Georgia has specific rules regarding who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit.
According to Georgia law, certain family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim in the following order.
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- The deceased’s surviving children
- The deceased’s parents
- The administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate
The deceased’s spouse is the first person who can file a lawsuit. However, if the spouse is also deceased or the deceased was not married, his or her children will pursue litigation. If there are no children, the responsibility will transfer to the parents, and so on. Other family members, such as siblings and grandparents, are not permitted to file a lawsuit.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims
In a wrongful death lawsuit, family members of the deceased have the right to recover compensation in the form of damages. This compensation is paid to the deceased person’s surviving family or his or her estate.
The purpose of a wrongful death settlement is the compensate family for the full value of the life of the deceased person, as well as the financial losses related to his or her death. Below are a few examples of damages that Athens families could claim.
- Medical expenses related to the final injury or illness
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages, benefits, and services due to the death, including those the deceased could have reasonably earned
- Lost care, companionship, advice, and counsel that the deceased would have provided to his or her family
- Any other expenses related to the wrongful death
Your attorney from Dan Chapman & Associates can help calculate the full value of your family’s damages and advocate for the highest possible settlement.
Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages in Georgia
There are two categories of damages in wrongful death lawsuits: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the tangible, financial losses that your family and the deceased’s estate experienced due to the wrongful death. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral costs.
On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering that resulted due to the wrongful death. In Georgia, these damages usually involve the emotional impact of the death on the surviving family members.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
To secure compensation in a wrongful death claim, you will need to gather sufficient evidence proving the negligence of the liable party. Usually, you and your attorney will need to prove the following four facts.
- The at-fault party owed the deceased person a duty of care.
- The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
- The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused the wrongful death.
- The deceased’s estate and family suffered damages that they can claim in the lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations in an Athens Wrongful Death Claim
If you believe that you qualify for an Athens wrongful death claim, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. There is a deadline known as the statute of limitations that could impact your right to file a lawsuit.
Under Georgia law, if you do not file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of your loved one’s death, the court will dismiss your case. There are certain exceptions to this rule, but they are not always applicable. To protect your right to recovery, speak to an Athens wrongful death attorney as soon as you can.
Contact an Athens Wrongful Death Lawyer
Have you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions? In these situations, you could hold the at fault party accountable. The lawyers that Dan Chapman & Associates can represent your wrongful death claim and secure the settlement that your family deserves.
Contact us today to discuss your legal options with an Athens wrongful death attorney.