Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death in the setting of a civil case involves the death of a person caused by the negligence of another. A wrongful death case is pursued on behalf of the surviving family members for the death of the loved one. In a wrongful death claim, one must prove negligence and damages. Negligence is what caused the death, and damages for wrongful death in Georgia include the full value of the life of the decedent as well as the estate claim. The Estate claim includes the medical bills, funeral expenses and the pain and suffering of the person who died. The full value of the life is defined as the value of the life of the person who died as it applies to the person who died, not the value to the family who survived.

If you are the executor or administrator of the will or estate of someone who has died due to wrongful death, you can file a lawsuit against the person(s) who are legally liable for the death. As the estate’s representative, you can sue for civil damages, including damages for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.

It is important to understand there is a difference in a civil suit case of wrongful death and a criminal case that would be filed in court. Sometimes both can be in process at the same time. A criminal case is brought by the State of GA for a death by the District Attorney of the County where the homicide occurred.

What is required to win a wrongful death claim? There are four key elements that must be proved: Duty of safety owed to another person, breach of that duty, causation and damages. All four elements must be proven in order to make a recovery for a civil wrongful death case. Friedman and Martin has handled many, many wrongful death cases, including those for medical malpractice (an example would be where a radiologist missed a tumor on a mammogram, causing the person to die from cancer); wrongful death cases as result of a motorcycle wreck (an example would be where a person turned left in front of a motorcycle, causing the death of the motorcycle rider); and wrongful death due to a truck or car wreck (an example would be where a person ran a stop sign and killed the other driver). Wrongful death cases that Friedman & Martin handle include nursing home neglect, car wrecks, truck wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, falls, medical malpractice, even deaths due to a dog bite. We have recovered millions of dollars due to the wrongful death of a person on behalf of the family.

If you have lost a loved one due to what you believe to be wrongful death, contact Friedman & Martin at 912-232-8500 or use our form here. We will talk to you for free, at no obligation, and will guide you through what needs to be done to investigate the death. You will talk to an attorney, who will handle the case for you.