Dedicated Law Firm Litigates Wrongful Death Cases in Marietta, GA
Recovering the “full value of the life” to give families closure
When a beloved family member dies suddenly, the grief is enormous. But when that death was entirely preventable, the situation cries out for justice. The Law Offices of Melvin S. Nash is prepared to pursue justice aggressively for grieving families. Drawing on more than 40 years of legal experience, as a criminal prosecutor and judge, we focus on holding wrongdoers accountable and delivering results. We realize that no amount of money is ever fair compensation for the death of a loved one, but a wrongful death lawsuit enforces the consequences of negligence and eases the financial burden your loved one’s death may have caused.
Who has a right to sue under Georgia’s wrongful death law?
There are two potential actions that arise from a person’s wrongful death:
- Wrongful death claim — This action is to recover the value of the decedent’s life. However, Georgia does not value the life from the point of view of family members who are missing their loved one. The law attempts to estimate the value of the life to the decedent in terms of lost income and lost enjoyment of life over a normal lifespan.
- Estate claim — In other jurisdictions, this is called a survival action, because it is a claim for injury that survives the death of the victim. The law allows the estate to sue for the victim’s personal injury losses, such as medical bills due to the injury event and conscious pain and suffering from the time of the injury to death.
But who is allowed to file? In the estate action, an administrator of the estate may file. In a true wrongful death claim, the answer depends on who survives the deceased:
- Spouse — If there is a surviving spouse but no children, the spouse files the lawsuit.
- Spouse and children — If there is a surviving spouse and children, the spouse files the lawsuit on behalf of all. Parties divide the recovery equally with the caveat that the spouse cannot receive less than one third of the award.
- Children — If there is no surviving spouse, the children file and share the recovery equally.
- Parent — If there is no spouse or children, living parents of the deceased may file and divide the recovery equally.
- Estate — If no spouse, children, or parents survive, the administrator of the estate may file. The recovery goes to the estate and passes to heirs according to the state’s laws of inheritance.
In most cases, the wrongful death and the estate claim must be filed within two years from the date of the event that inflicted the injury, not from the date of death.
Common types of wrongful death claims in Marietta, Georgia
As with a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that someone’s negligent, reckless or deliberate act caused an event that harmed the victim, directly causing the death. Common events that result in wrongful death actions include:
- Auto accidents — According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 1,561 people lost their lives in auto accidents in 2016. Many were killed due to negligent or reckless motorists who were speeding, distracted, too aggressive or driving drunk.
- Assault — Although an assailant who kills a victim is liable for civil damages, few wrongful death cases are prosecuted because most defendants lack the assets to satisfy a judgment. Insurance does not cover deliberate criminal behavior, and many assailants become insolvent paying for their criminal defense.
- Medical malpractice — Researchers estimate that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
- Nursing home neglect and abuse — Nursing facilities are responsible when their employees mistreat residents and that mistreatment causes personal injury and death.
- Work fatality — Although the circumstances of most workplace accidents limit recovery to workers’ compensation benefits, situations arise where a family can sue a third party for negligence and collect wrongful death damages.
Other leading causes of wrongful death include slip and fall accidents, vicious dog attacks, and defective products.
Whatever the cause of your wrongful death claim, you can rely on our aggressive representation. We draw on more than 40 years of experience in civil litigation, criminal prosecution, and criminal defense work to build a compelling case that delivers results.
Trust an accomplished trial attorney in Marietta to prosecute your wrongful death claim
If you’ve suffered a devastating loss, you need an attorney who inspires your confidence. To schedule a free consultation and evaluation of your wrongful death claim, call the Law Offices of Melvin S. Nash at 470.655.2839 or contact our office online. We have six locations throughout metro Atlanta to serve your needs.