Wrongful Death

Atlanta wrongful death attorney Thomas Nagel is dedicated to helping bereaved family members find justice. We have successfully represented numerous surviving family members who lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence. Our firm provides compassionate, high quality legal representation to families suffering such loss.

In Fulton County, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, Cherokee County, Douglas County, Forsyth County, DeKalb County and other Georgia counties, innocent people become permanently injured or die as a result of somebody else’s negligence on a daily basis. In situations involving death, because the deceased is not capable of bringing a cause of action, the right to bring a legal claim for negligence vests in surviving family members. Any person, party, or entity is capable of causing a wrongful death. When the victim’s death is caused, in whole or part, by the defendant’s negligent conduct, the victim’s immediate family members may be entitled to monetary damages. Wrongful death can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Car and trucking accidents
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Death during a supervised activity
  • Explosions or fire
  • Work-related injuries
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Prescription medication
  • Defective or Dangerous Drugs or Medication

The person or entity being sued for wrongful death does not have to intend for the wrongful death to happen. While homicide and other intentional acts are obvious causes of wrongful death, acts of negligence and omission can also be the basis of a wrongful death claim. Intoxicated drivers, for example, might not set out with the intention of hurting someone in an accident, but when their impairment causes an accident resulting in someone’s death, surviving family members may sue the driver for damages. In this case, the action for wrongful death is a civil remedy separate from the criminal case for DUI or vehicular homicide, for example.

Every state has its own statutes governing the definition of wrongful death and the eligibility of surviving family members to bring a claim. Georgia’s wrongful death statutes are codified in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Section 51-4-1 defines “homicide” as all cases in which the death results from crime, negligence, or a defectively manufactured product. The law enumerates eligible family members who can sue the liable parties for causing the untimely death. According to Section 51-4-2, eligible claimants include the surviving spouse and children, who shall “equally divide” any amount recovered in the action. If there are no eligible family members, the action may be filed by the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate.

Under Georgia law, these claimants are entitled to the “full value” of the decedent’s life. The death of a loved one often results in a total loss of financial and emotional support. The objective of awarding family members monetary damages is to compensate them for this loss. These damages may include medical costs, funeral expenses, and other compensation reasonably related to the death. Surviving family members are also entitled to the decedent’s lost income over a period of time. Finally, the family may recover damages associated with the loss of relationship with the deceased. Although difficult to value, the lost guidance, companionship, and support resulting from the death are often the most meaningful and priceless aspects of the family’s relationship. These are all damages the negligent parties must pay.

If you lost a loved one due to an act of negligence, contact the experienced Atlanta wrongful death lawyer Thomas Nagel immediately. Under Georgia law, wrongful death actions in most cases must be filed within two years from the date of death. Any delay could result in the loss of important evidence or may even bar your right to relief. Our firm is devoted to helping you obtain the justice you deserve. I understand the devastating nature of your loss and will help you pursue your claim with dignity and respect. Call (404) 255-1600 for a confidential consultation or contact us online.