Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Truck Accidents: 9 Things Every Family Should Know To Seek Justice
Losing a loved one in a fatal accident involving a truck is a devastating experience that no one should ever have to go through. The grief and pain that families face during such difficult times are immeasurable, and they often require a lot of support and guidance to help them deal with the aftermath of such a tragedy. This is where the expertise of a wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer can help families understand their legal rights and fight for justice on behalf of their cherished family member.
Truck accidents are among the most catastrophic incidents on our roads, and they often result in severe injuries or fatalities due to the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles. If a loved one dies in a truck accident, the family may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income. However, pursuing a wrongful death claim can be a complicated process, especially for families who are still grieving.
What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that can be taken by the survivors of a deceased person whose death was caused by another party's negligence, carelessness, or intentional harm. It's important to have the assistance of a qualified accident lawyer who specializes in wrongful death lawsuits in order to help prove your case and seek economic damages.
Truck and car accident cases are one example where this may be relevant. Depending on the circumstances, compensation could be available for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and other financial losses. For a successful wrongful death claim, there must be evidence that the defendant breached their duty of care to the deceased victim which resulted in their death. With an experienced big truck accident lawyer at your side throughout the process, you have a better chance of receiving justice and restitution for your losses.
1. Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In Georgia?
Each state has its own laws which establish who can bring a wrongful death case. Georgia Code § 51-4-2 specifically addresses “Persons Entitled to Bring Action for Wrongful Death of Spouse or Parent.” Basically, if someone dies and is survived by a husband or wife, the surviving spouse has the right to pursue a claim. If there is no surviving spouse, a surviving child may bring a claim. If there is no spouse or child, the surviving parents or guardians may bring a claim. It is always advisable to speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer about eligibility for filing a lawsuit as soon as possible.
2. The Importance of Proving Negligence
Negligence is an essential element of any wrongful death action. In any case where a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly passes, determining whether negligence played a role is critical.
Whether the accident was a trucking accident, motorcycle accident, car accident, or fatal slip and fall accident, if negligence played a role, surviving family members may choose to pursue a wrongful death case. In some cases, negligence is obvious, in other cases, negligence is only discovered after a careful investigation.
3. The Role of Expert Witnesses
An expert witness is someone with expert knowledge or extensive experience, usually in a specific area. During a civil claim, an expert witness may aid with establishing any element of a claim, including liability, causation, and damages. Wrongful death attorneys and truck accident lawyers understand the value of experts in uncovering and explaining important evidence, which can greatly increase the outcome.
4. Dealing with Insurance Companies
Navigating the aftermath of a wrongful death and trying to understand wrongful death law can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with insurance companies. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are not on your side. They are trained to minimize payouts and protect their company's bottom line. This means they may ask you questions designed to weaken your wrongful death case and limit their liability.
It can be challenging to recover fair compensation without the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney who understands the tactics insurance companies use. Don't risk your legal rights and the financial future of your family. Hire a trusted Georgia truck accident attorney who can advocate for you and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
5. Types Of Damages You Can Claim In Wrongful Death Personal Injury Lawsuits
Generally, surviving family members can bring two types of claims to the court. The distinction is important because the damages are not the same.
The first type of claim, the “wrongful death” claim, is available by statute. The claim will compensate surviving family members for the “full value of the life of the decedent.” Of course, placing a value on someone's life is difficult to do. The “Intangible” value of a claim includes the priceless time of everyday activities, as well as important milestones and precious memories. The “tangible” value includes the value of things the decedent did, not just salary (if they worked) but important contributions like cleaning the family home, taking care of children and pets, and maintaining the yard.
The second type of claim, the “estate claim”, allows surviving family members to recover final medical bills, the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to their death, funeral, and burial expenses, as well as punitive damages. If the decedent died with a will, the administrator of the will is required to bring the estate claim. In cases where the decedent died without a will, Georgia’s laws of inheritance will establish who must bring the claim.
6. Truck Accident Statute of Limitations In Georgia
Every state has a court-mandated window of time in which a surviving spouse, child, or family member can bring a claim. Typically, this is two years. If the defendant is a government entity such as a city or county government, the deadline may be as little as six months following an accident. There can be some extensions or “tolling” of statutes - for example, when the victim of a trucking accident is a minor, the two-year statute does not officially start until the child is a legal adult on their 18th birthday. Of course, it is always advisable to speak with a lawyer that specializes in truck accidents and wrongful death lawsuits as soon as possible, while evidence can be preserved and witness recollections are fresh.
7. The Potential Outcome of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death claims can provide necessary money to surviving family members to cover expenses, pay bills, and relieve the financial burden of a loss. Of course, in many ways lawsuits and claims are inadequate because there is only so much they can do. However, lawsuits can hold negligent parties accountable, facilitate justice, and allow surviving spouses, children, and loved ones to move forward. Every case is different, and there is not really a set amount that families can expect. A wrongful death attorney can review a potential case and advise of factors impacting the potential value of a claim.
8. How To Find The Best Lawyers For Truck Accidents
Not all attorneys can get the same results. If you are looking for an attorney for your wrongful death lawsuit after a commercial or 18-wheeler truck accident, look for a lawyer with a proven history of successful case results. Find a personal injury trial lawyer near you with experience, knowledge, and courtroom skills. At The Graham Firm, we are not afraid to take on complex big truck accident injury cases and work with the best expert witnesses and investigators to help you and your family get the compensation that you deserve.
9. What Steps Should I Take After Losing A Loved One In A Fatal Truck Crash?
After losing a loved one in a fatal truck crash, it is essential to take steps to protect your rights and seek the compensation you are due in a wrongful death case. Consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in such cases is the first step, as they can assess your claim and guide you through the legal process. Designating a personal representative for your late loved one's estate will be important when managing any legal matters related to their death.
Additionally, document all medical costs, funeral expenses, and non economic damages such as loss of companionship and emotional suffering to ensure that you receive what is owed. Finally, try to preserve any relevant evidence such as photographs or witness statements to assist with proving the liability of the truck driver or trucking company in causing your loved one's death. These steps may not ease the pain of your loss but they can help ensure justice is served and provide much-needed financial aid at this difficult time.
In conclusion, wrongful death lawsuits arising from truck accidents can be complex and emotionally challenging. However, families can seek justice for their loved ones death and hold negligent parties accountable by working with a trusted truck accident lawyer. By understanding their legal rights and the key factors that determine liability in these cases, families can pursue fair compensation for their losses.
If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, do not hesitate to reach out to our top-rated local truck accident lawyer at The Graham Firm for a free case review at 404-526-9955. With our expertise and commitment to serving our client's best interests, we can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the justice your family deserves.