The wrongful death lawsuit process is complicated and confusing to navigate without an experienced attorney. One reason for this is the fact that each state dictates the procedures and who can file a lawsuit. A local attorney will explain the specifics of the process and provide support and guidance to surviving family members during each stage.
What Makes a Death Wrongful?
All accidental deaths are tragic and most leave the family to deal with mental, emotional, and financial hardship. Not all accidental deaths warrant a lawsuit. In order to settle for or be awarded compensation, the death must be due to negligence, intention, defective products, or medical malpractice.
An attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the situation, determine if a third party is responsible for the death, and begin to build a strong case for the defendant. The burden of proof in a wrongful death lawsuit is the same as if the victim has survived with severe or permanent injuries or disabilities. If the intention is identified as the cause of the death, the attorney must prove the accused planned the act, prepared to kill, and succeeded.
It is critical to select an attorney who employs methodology and an approach based on the case going to trial. Many cases are settled and do not get to court, so attorneys tend to prepare for settlement negotiations and must complete extra work should the case be presented at a trial. This practice can lead to gaps in information.
Utilizing a variety of methods that include traditional investigation and advanced technology ensures a case is strong enough to hold up in court. Collecting and organizing evidence, taking eyewitness statements, and tracking police and medical reports are done via traditional footwork. Calculating total financial losses, the cost of recovery from the trauma, and finances for future opportunities of minor children are typically configured using legal software. Those eligible to file a lawsuit in Georgia can visit BraunsLaw.com for info.
Who Can File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?
In general, dependents of the victim are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the purposes of compensation for the loss. There are three groups eligible in Georgia placed in a specific order. The first is a surviving spouse and minor children.
The spouse will receive at least one-third of the death settlement or judgment and must also represent the interests of minor children. The next group in line who can file a lawsuit is the parents of a deceased person who leaves no spouse or dependent children. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a personal representative for the estate of the deceased if no parents, spouse, or children exist.
Most attorneys who handle wrongful death lawsuits operate on a contingency basis. This practice eliminates money as a barrier to pursuing fair and deserved compensation. The person wishing to file the lawsuit does not pay any attorney fees until the case is won. At that point, the attorney typically receives one-third of the total amount collected.
The most significant factor to keep in mind when filing a wrongful death lawsuit is to contact an attorney practicing in the state where the death occurred. This is the only way to be sure all the specific procedures and statutes are followed. Losing out on fair compensation due to a filing error or missing the last date for filing would rival the tragedy of the original loss.