If you are filing a wrongful death insurance claim, complications may arise. What makes these types of cases particularly challenging is when the insurance company is trying to diminish or deny the claim and the victim is not around to defend him or herself.
With so much at stake, seek legal counsel from an injury law firm in Peachtree City. An attorney can evaluate the details and point out any weaknesses there might be in your case. Then steps can be taken to deal with those such as collection of evidence necessary to prove your case.
Determining What Caused the Accident
One of the things the insurance company will be looking for is information on how an accident happened. It will be important to establish who was negligent, whether it was the driver of another vehicle or your loved one.
For instance, if a loved one was riding a motorcycle and was killed in an accident, establishing whether your loved one or the other driver was at fault for the accident will be key when pursuing a claim. If it is discovered the motorcycle was in the left lane, for example, and quickly cut in front of the car in the right lane to make a right turn, this could indicate your loved one was at fault.
On the other hand, if there is evidence that shows the driver of the car was intoxicated or lost control of the vehicle, hitting the motorcycle, this can help explain what happened and establish fault with the other driver. By hiring a Georgia wrongful death attorney, you can leave the responsibility for determining fault with a professional.
Georgia’s Negligence Laws
Another type of complication with a wrongful death claim is establishing negligence. Generally, uncovering what happened to cause the accident can help establish fault. But keep in mind that Georgia negligence laws are based on modified comparative fault with the 50 percent rule.
If it is found that your loved one was 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, damages cannot be recovered. Even if his or her percentage of fault is less than half, compensation may be reduced. This is why it may be in your best interest to consult with an injury law firm in Peachtree City. An attorney will look at all of the evidence available to determine if you have a viable wrongful death claim.
Damages That May Be Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
A variety of damages may be recoverable through a wrongful death claim. One such type are economic damages. These apply to the costs that have been incurred, such as medical expenses and reasonable funeral expenses. It could also include lost earnings and other expenses or losses.
Noneconomic damages that can be recovered through a Peachtree City wrongful death claim are:
- pain and suffering;
- mental anguish;
- loss of companionship; and
- loss of parental guidance.
These do not have a clear cost and may be more difficult to estimate. They may be influenced by the circumstances of the accident.
Punitive damages may be available, but these are typically reserved for cases of gross negligence or intentional harm. Driving while under the influence may warrant punitive damages, for example. They are intended to punish the defendant, although the plaintiff may still receive a portion of these damages.
Consulting with an Injury Law Firm in Peachtree City
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), in 2011 there were a total of 1,228 fatalities. Talk to an attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith to learn about your legal rights if your loved one was killed as a result of another’s negligence. We can review your case to help determine if you are eligible to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim whether you live in Fulton County or unincorporated Fulton.