Claims for When You Have Lost a Loved One in a Fatal Car Accident
When someone dies in a fatal car accident, it typically gives rise to what is referred to as a “wrongful death” lawsuit. In these cases, you, as the plaintiff, are seeking compensation related to the death of a loved one that was caused by the other driver’s negligence. Wrongful death claims have much in common with personal injury lawsuits but also have some important differences.
In some accidents, the victim dies at the scene, but it is also common for car accident victims to die sometime later after they have succumbed to their injuries. This is an important distinction because Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations that applies as follows:
- You have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit;
- You have two years from the date the victim died to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the victim is expected to die in the following months, waiting to file suit could jeopardize a potential personal injury claim. In either event, we recommend that you pursue a claim as soon as possible. Our Atlanta automobile accident lawyers can help you plan an effective strategy for getting the compensation you deserve.
Our Atlanta Automobile Accident Lawyers Can Determine What A Fatal Car Accident Claim is Worth
In Georgia, surviving family members have two claims that can be filed with the court: a wrongful death claim and an estate claim.
About Wrong Death Claims in Georgia
Under Georgia law, you are entitled to seek compensation “full value” of the victim’s life as part of your wrongful death claim. As a result, you can seek compensation for the following:
- The victim’s total expected income over their lifetime
- Expected income from any investment accounts, retirement accounts, or pensions
- The value of any care and companionship they would have provided to their family
Determining what your loved one would have made over the course of their lifetime, what their investment income would be is a complex economic calculation. In addition, you need to consider the value of their care – for example, what will it cost to get additional child care for your children. Finally, you are entitled to be compensated for your loss of companionship, but it can be difficult to determine what that value should be. Our experienced Atlanta automobile accident lawyers can provide you with an estimate of what your claim may be worth.
If the victim is a child, you may not be able to claim their future income or investment income. However, the loss of companionship for a parent could be significant, and therefore the value of this portion of your claim could be higher than if the victim were an adult loved one.
About Estate Claims in Georgia
In an estate claim, a family is entitled to seek any burial and funeral expenses as part of your claim. If the victim did not die in the car accident immediately, then you can also seek compensation for any medical expenses incurred and the pain and suffering they may have experienced prior to death.