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Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney

Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C. > Wrongful Death Attorneys > Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful Death Lawyers in Augusta, Georgia

Nothing can be more devastating than the sudden death of a loved one. When a family member dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, it is time to consider contacting an Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney at Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C. An attorney can help you seek justice and pursue compensation for the wrongful death. Our attorneys understand that during this difficult time, you shouldn’t have to worry about the legal issues and the costs involved in making a claim. That’s why we offer free consultations and a no win no fee service.

 What is the Legal Definition of Wrongful Death?

In Georgia, wrongful death is defined as death of a person caused by the recklessness, negligence, intentional or criminal acts of another person or entity. In many ways, a wrongful death constitutes a form of a personal injury dispute. The plaintiff must prove that the negligent actions of the accused party led to the wrongful death of their loved one.

While wrongful death claims are common throughout the United States, the State of Georgia has specific rules for filing a wrongful death claim. In this article, our Augusta Wrongful Death Law Firm will explain everything you need to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia.

Who Can Initiate a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Augusta?

In Georgia, the law clearly states who can successfully file a wrongful death case. Of course, since the injured person is no longer available to file the case themselves, they must be represented by a living representative. The law allows the spouse of the deceased to file a case, even on behalf of their minor children. However, the spouse is only entitled to receive no less than one-third of the total compensation, regardless of the number of children.

If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse or children, the case can be filed by the surviving parents of the deceased or personal representatives of the deceased’s estate. If the wrongful death claim is filed by the estate representative, all damages will be held in the estate to be properly distributed to the deceased person’s next-of-kin.

What Can You Receive In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Augusta, Georgia, the family of the deceased has the right to pursue two types of claims against the accused party:

Wrongful Death Actions

A wrongful death action is the most common lawsuit survivors can file.  In Georgia, the law sets damages for wrongful deaths as a full value of life of the deceased. The “Full Value of Life” usually includes economic damages, such as predictable lifetime income, the value of services and other losses of income as well as intangible factors, such as valuation of their experience of living.

A claim of this cause of action can only be filed by a family member who is qualified file the claim under the Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act. The claim for damages only vests with the surviving spouses, children or parents of the deceased. The total amount of compensation is determined by an impartial jury. There is no specific formula for calculating the amount of compensation. This means that wrongful death damages can greatly vary from one case to another.

Survival Actions

The other type of lawsuit survivors can file is a survival action. This claim can be brought on behalf of or by the family or estate of the deceased person. It helps to establish and recover any losses incurred by the estate due to untimely death.

Examples of damages that can be recovered in a survival action include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering endured by the decease before death
  • Burial and funeral expenses

Punitive damages can be sought through a survival action. However, it is important to note that Georgia courts have repeatedly held that punitive damages are not recoverable in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit. This is because the wrongful death action itself is intended to punish the negligent murder. It would be redundant.

However, there is an exception. The plaintiff may be able to include punitive damages in the claim if the conduct of the accused party was intentional, malicious or showed a callous disregard for the deceased’s wellbeing or safety. Damages recovered can be used to compensate for the loss of the decedent or support a family deprived of its breadwinner. In either case, it’s a way to feel that justice has been served.

What Are the Legal Grounds for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Augusta, Georgia?

A civil claim for wrongful death can potentially arise whenever some culpable actions by the opposite party result in the unnatural or accidental death of the decedent. A wrongful death case can be based upon the following:

  • Car Accidents and Motor Vehicle Collisions

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 35,000 people lose their lives in highway accidents in the United States every year. These accidents can include car, truck and motorcycle fatalities, boating accidents, pedestrian fatalities, bicycle fatalities and drunk driving accidents.

  • Medical Malpractice

Mistakes made in the medical field account for an estimated 210,000 to 440, 000 premature deaths each year, according to the Journal of Patient Safety. These include diagnosis errors, anesthesia errors, nursing home abuse, surgical errors, bedsore fatalities, birth injuries and emergency room errors. In Georgia, the law allows the family of a person who was killed due to medical negligence to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual physician or hospital where the treatment occurred.

  • Medications

The most common causes of medication deaths occur due to wrong medications, dosage errors and medication interactions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 48% of Americans have taken a form of prescription medication within the past 30 days.  A majority of these medications are antihyperlipidemic agents, antidiabetic agents and analgesics that can all be dangerous at the wrong dosage.

  • Workplace Accidents

Despite ongoing legislation to improve workplace safety, going to work remains dangerous for a large percentage of workers in the United States. Common causes of workplace accidents include exposure to harmful substances, accidents involving heavy equipment, falls from elevated heights, fires, explosions and much more.

Other common causes of wrongful death cases include:

  • Intentional homicide
  • Criminal or unlawful acts
  • Illegal sale or improper service of alcohol
  • Contaminated foods
  • Dangerous medical devices
  • Defective products
  • Nursing home abuse or negligent
  • Engineering malpractice

In Georgia, a wrongful death lawsuit can claim the accused person acted recklessly or served contaminated food, or sold a dangerous drug, or manufactured a defective product, or committed malpractice. A civil claim for wrongful death can also be based upon allegations that the actions of the defendant were unlawful or that they intended to kill or hurt the decedent.

What Are the Time Limits on A Wrongful Death Claim?

Each state sets a time limit, known as a “Statute of Limitation”, for filing a wrongful death claim. A statute of limitation means that the wrongful death claim must be filed within the specified timeframe. If you bring a claim after the time is up, you may not be in a position to pursue compensation at all.

In Georgia, the statute of limitations limits the time for filing wrongful death cases within two years of the date of death. If the claim is not filed within the two-year time limit, the right to bring it is almost always lost. However, if there’s a criminal case in court dealing with the same events as the wrongful death case, the two-year clock “tolls” or stops running until the criminal case is completed. The time limit begins to rung again on the date the criminal case is completed.

In addition, Georgia’s law allows the statute of limitation in a wrongful death to be tolled for up to five years if the deceased person’s estate is not probated. This means it sometimes possible to file a wrongful death claim up to seven years after the date of death. If you have any questions, it is essential to consult an experienced Augusta Wrongful Death Lawyer to know how the statute of limitations may apply in a particular area.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Augusta Wrongful Death Law Firm?

The good news is that at Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C., we don’t charge upfront fees for wrongful death case that we take on. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there no fees for our clients unless we obtain a financial recovery that you approve. The amount of our fee is determined by a number of factors including the final amount of damages recovered as well as the amount of time the lawsuit requires for research, negotiation and court litigation.

In addition, our law firm will usually pay all necessary out-of-pocket expenses subject to the right of reimbursement without interest at the conclusion of the case. Note that in a contingent fee arrangement, we don’t get paid if there is no financial recovery in a lawsuit.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Distribution of wrongful death settlements is tricky because the compensation goes to different parties. In determining how wrongful death settlements are paid out, the court takes into account a number of factors including the relationship between the deceased and the surviving relatives, the legal capacity of the beneficiaries, the age of the beneficiaries as well as whether or not any balances are due against the deceased’s estate.

Why Should You Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Augusta, GA?

Navigating a wrongful death claim by yourself can be a difficult and complex task. Enlisting the services of a proficient Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney can provide you with many benefits. Here are the top reasons why hiring a lawyer to pursue your wrongful death case may make a difference in your case.

An Attorney Understands the Legal Process

Attorneys experienced in wrongful death cases have a detailed knowledge of the legal process involving these types of claims. The lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the Georgia Wrongful Death Act and what elements are required to build a strong case on your behalf.

In a wrongful death case, it is imperative to ensure that all deadlines are met to keep your case active. Failure to follow these deadlines can jeopardize your case greatly.  A wrongful death lawyer at Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C., can ensure that all legal documents are properly completed and correctly filed in order to protect your case.

Access to Resources

An attorney can strengthen your case by making the most of the resource available to them. For example, an Augusta Wrongful Death Lawyer can conduct an Interview and get access to surveillance footage, safety logs or traffic cameras. In addition, a lawyer has access to all relevant statutes and laws that apply to your case.

A Lawyer Can Save You Time and Money

Wrongful death lawsuits can be time-consuming, even more so if you attempt to navigate this process yourself. Since you don’t have the experience and knowledge that a wrongful death lawyer does, it can take you far more time if you attempt to handle the case on your own. The legal process is long and complicated not forgetting that you have to adhere by the strict deadlines. An attorney will handle all these tasks on your behalf, freeing up of your time to spend with your loved ones as you recover from this emotional situation.

An Attorney Can Take Your Case to Trial

Not all wrongful death cases make it to trial, as parties may choose to settle them prior. If your case does go to trial, you want to have a proficient lawyer on your side to obtain maximum compensation.

Speak With an Augusta Wrongful Death Attorney At Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C.

A wrongful death claim in Georgia can be quite complicated and confusing for the loved ones attempting to file a case. An experienced wrongful death attorney makes this difficult process a bit easier for you and your loved one. Our dedicated attorneys will review your claim and help you navigate the legal options that may be available. They will work diligently to ensure you receive the best possible compensation. Request a FREE, no-obligation consultation today.

Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C.
2935 N Ashley St #127, Valdosta, GA 31602
(229) 241-1767

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