The unfortunate truth is that personal injury caused by another person’s negligence is a common occurrence in the United States, resulting in harm ranging from minor injuries to those that cause permanent disability. Unfortunately, even life-changing injuries don’t represent the most devastating consequences associated with drunk driving accidents, workplace accidents and other accidents in Georgia and across the country. Too often, the negligent acts of another person result in the death of an innocent bystander, driver or worker, leaving that person’s family members to struggle with the unnecessary loss of a loved one. If you have lost a spouse, child or parent in a fatal Georgia accident, contact our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party in order to pursue compensation for your loved one’s death.

Causes of Wrongful Death in Marietta

The most common factor used to prosecute wrongful death cases in Georgia is negligence, or a person’s failure to exercise the care that a reasonable person would have exercised in similar circumstances. Negligence, therefore, involves unintentional harm caused by a person’s carelessness, not intentional harm inflicted on another person. Because negligence is a broad term that spans a variety of circumstances, the possible causes of wrongful death in Georgia are wide-ranging. Some examples of instances in which wrongful death may result include:

Understanding Georgia Wrongful Death Claims

Statutory Wrongful Death Claim

Under Georgia law, there are two types of wrongful death claims that can be brought: a statutory wrongful death claim by the victim’s family members and the claim of the deceased’s estate. In an Atlanta wrongful death claim, the claim falls first to the spouse, if there is one, and then the children. If there is no spouse or child, the statutory claim goes to the parents of the deceased. If there is no spouse, child or parent, a personal representative may then be appointed to file on behalf of “next of kin.” Only under these circumstances would the claim go to the siblings of the deceased based on the degrees of relation to the deceased. The value of the deceased’s life has two components in a wrongful death claim: the economic value of the life and the value of the victim’s life to themselves. In Georgia, the jury is permitted to weigh and consider the true value of a person’s life in a wrongful death claim.

Claim of the Deceased’s Estate

The second component of a wrongful death claim in Georgia is the estate’s claim, which includes any medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. In instances in which the victim survived for a period of time after the injury occurred, this can be a valuable part of the claim, as it seeks compensation for potentially costly medical expenses. This part of the estate claim may also include the knowledge of impending death on the part of the deceased, which comes into play if the victim knew that they were about to die. Under these circumstances, juries take into consideration the suffering associated with knowing that death is approaching when determining the appropriate compensation for the victim’s survivors.

Pursuing Compensation for GA Wrongful Death Claims

In wrongful death cases, similar to personal injury cases, the survivors of the deceased may be entitled to financial compensation for the victim’s injuries and any expenses associated with those injuries, including medical bills, hospital stays, necessary medications and loss of income. Unlike personal injury cases in which the victim survives however, the family members of a wrongful death victim may be entitled to additional damages, including the cost of life support, emotional distress, burial and funeral costs, pain and suffering, loss of a provider, loss of future income, mental anguish and loss of companionship. The expenses associated with the death of an accident victim are typically overwhelming, and this cost is incurred by the deceased’s surviving family members.

An Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

Wrongful death caused by an Atlanta car accident or slip and fall accident is typically sudden and devastating for the friends and family members the deceased leaves behind. Unfortunately, this emotional response to the loss of a loved one is only compounded by the financial burden the death of a family member inflicts on the victim’s survivors, including medical bills, funeral costs and the loss of a primary source of income. If you have lost a loved one in a Georgia accident, contact our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today to speak to a qualified legal representative. As difficult as it may be to pursue reimbursement for the incomprehensible loss of a spouse, parent or child, seeking the help of an experienced Georgia wrongful death lawyer can mean the difference between collecting financial help and being left to shoulder the physical, emotional and financial burdens on your own. With our Marietta wrongful death attorneys on your side, you can concentrate on mourning your loss and and let us help you pursue the reimbursement you deserve.


Jaret A. Spevak
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Atlanta Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Attorney With 20+ Years Experience