According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 126,438 unintentional injury deaths in 2010; this was the fifth highest cause of death in the United States. By comparison, there were 33,783 auto accident deaths.
Georgia wrongful death attorney Shane Smith can help a victim's family receive compensation for their loss.
The burden of proof in a Georgia wrongful death case is on the plaintiff to prove each element of the case by a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means a "greater weight" of evidence must be proven by the plaintiff than that which was proven by the opposing party. In mathematical terms, a preponderance of the evidence is 50 percent plus one.
In a wrongful death case caused by someone's negligent actions, the plaintiff must show that the wrongdoer was negligent (breached a duty of care owed to the deceased) and that this negligence caused the death.
In cases where a criminal conviction has been obtained against a wrongful death defendant, evidence of the criminal conviction may be helpful in proving a wrongful death case. This is because a criminal proceeding has a higher burden of proof ("beyond a reasonable doubt" is the burden of proof in a criminal case).
Evidence must be secured to prove a wrongful death case. Witnesses must be identified and testimony preserved in the form of depositions, photographs need to be taken at the accident scene and perhaps of the decedent's injuries. It is imperative in a Georgia wrongful death case that an experienced attorney be hired promptly to preserve and itemize evidence.
The deceased's family should also preserve personal items that would aid a jury in awarding damages. The jury is statutorily charged to look not only at the deceased's future earnings but also at intangible values determined by the deceased's impact while alive. The intangible value of a person's life is often higher than the earnings calculation. This value can be influenced by videos, photos, letters and stories from the deceased's life. There is no limit on the jury's award.
If a death is caused by the negligence of another then the decedent's family may be entitled to legal relief through a wrongful death lawsuit. You should hire an experienced Clayton County wrongful death attorney if you will file a lawsuit on behalf of a family member who died due to another's negligence. Call the Law Offices of Shane Smith for a free consultation.