The Athens Wrongful Death Attorney
Helping Clients Seek Fair Compensation After Suffering a Loss
The loss of a loved one is a difficult and highly emotional experience, but it is even more trying when the accident was caused by another party’s recklessness or negligence. In addition to the unimaginable emotional toll from losing a loved one, financial difficulties mount and are left upon the surviving family members to overcome. At The Law Office of Joshua W. Branch, LLC, our dedicated Athens wrongful death lawyer has the skill and experience necessary to help you navigate these challenging legal matters.
Call us at (706) 760-9220 to schedule a free initial consultation with an Athens wrongful death attorney. We are committed to helping our clients recover the resources they need to move forward.
Georgia's Wrongful Death Statute Explained
Under O.C.G.A. § 51-4, if a person is killed by the wrongful act of another person or company, then the decedent's surviving family may file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties in pursuit of damages equal to "the full value of the life of the decedent.
Georgia's wrongful death statute specifies the following rules:
- Wrongful death lawsuits must generally be filed within two years of the decedent's death, with certain exceptions.
- Surviving spouses are given priority for wrongful death claims, followed by surviving children. If the decedent had no spouse or children, this right would instead be given to their parents or guardians.
- The "full value of life" includes both tangible losses (such as lost money they would have earned) and intangible losses (such as relationships with family and reasons for living).
- The deceased's family may also bring a claim on behalf of their estate for damages related to pain and suffering, medical bills incurred before death, funeral expenses, and other items.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?
A common question when pursuing a wrongful death claim is "who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit?" The answer to this question is: Surviving family members.
The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia passes according to the following hierarchy:
- Children (if there is no surviving spouse)
- Parents or guardians (if there is no surviving spouse or children)
The surviving spouse is entitled to no less than one-third of the total awarded compensation, with the remaining award being shared among the decedent's children. If the wrongful death claim is filed by representatives of the estate, all awarded damages will be held in the estate and properly distributed.
Common Wrongful Death Accidents
Wrongful death cases can arise from many different incidents; however an alarming number of deaths occur on our highways. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 34,247 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2017, resulting in 37,133 total fatalities. This is equal to 11.4 deaths per 100,000 people, or 1.16 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. 1,440 of these fatal crashes were from Georgia alone, with 56% of drivers killed having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. 67% of fatal crashes in Georgia in 2017 occurred in urban areas, with the remaining 37% occurring in rural areas.
Other common causes of wrongful death in Georgia include:
- Medical malpractice
- Bicycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Intentional harm / murder
Georgia Wrongful Death Damages for Surviving Family Members
Surviving family members of the deceased may be entitled to recover compensation for the following wrongful death damages in Georgia:
- Final medical expenses incurred related to the accident
- Loss of future income
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering of the decedent prior to their passing
- Loss of consortium (companionship)
The exact value of your claim and types of damages available will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. Our firm is intimately familiar with the complexities, demands, and personal pressures of wrongful death litigation in Georgia and can use this knowledge to help your family seek maximum compensation for your loss.
Committed to Your Best Interests
The law of the State of Georgia allows the decedent’s life to be valued through their eyes. It allows juries to see what meant the most to the person who has lost his or her life, helping them see the world through the eyes of the person who has tragically left this earth. Their memory needs to be honored and although it is a difficult task to place a monetary value on the deceased’s life, it is necessary to honor them and mandated by the law. Life is precious and those whose lives have been robbed from them deserve the verdicts and case results to reflect that.
At The Law Office of Joshua W. Branch, LLC, we understand the heartache you are experiencing. Call our wrongful death lawyer in Athens today at (706) 760-9220 to learn more about how we can help you through this process.
Josh came through for me and completed what I was thinking was impossible.- Gwen, Personal Injury Client
Thank you for all you have done for me!- Lizzie, Personal Injury Client
Thanks so much for all your efforts, care, and attention.- C.C., Personal Injury Client
What do I say to the most amazing attorney I’ve ever known. You have been more than an attorney. You have been a friend, and a very good listener.- Veda, Personal Injury Client
If there were more people like you in this world, it would be a better place.- The H. Family
$1,050,000 JB Client vs. Corporation
$700,000 JB Client vs. Trucking Company and Fabricating Company
$650,000 JB Client vs. Negligent Driver
A collision between a negligent driver and our client resulted in serious injuries for our client.
$650,000 JB Client vs. Pizza Delivery Franchisee
A collision between a texting pizza delivery driver which caused the death of our client's spouse.
$605,000 JB Client vs. Home Health Care Company
A horrible and tragic event occurred while the mother of our clients was under the care of her home health care company.
$580,000 Trucking Case: Confidential Parties
Client sustained a fractured acetabulum when he collided into a tractor-trailer that left its trailer in the roadway.
$550,000 JB Client vs. Negligent Individual Driver
The client sustained severe injuries and then had additional complications.
$525,000 JB client vs. Georgia Medical Transportation, Inc.
Client was not properly secured while in transit and was thrown out of his wheelchair and sustained orthopedic fractures.
$375,000 JB Client v. Reckless minor driving an automobile
This case involved a serious motor vehicle collision between two individuals.
$350,000 JB client vs. Shanna M. Jackson; Superior Court of Walton Co.
Automobile collision case wherein the client who had to undergo a cervical fusion procedure.
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