Is Wrongful Death A Personal Injury Case?
In an ideal world, our loved ones would lead long, healthy lives. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 173,040 people died because of accidental or unintentional injuries in 2019. Family members are often left to pick up the pieces, navigating the legal repercussions of a loved one's death while grieving the loss of a life cut short. Many families want to take legal action against potentially liable parties but wonder things like, “Is wrongful death a personal injury case?” Learn how wrongful death and personal injury cases differ, and which might be appropriate for your situation. If a loved one was injured or killed in an accident in Georgia, consider speaking with a compassionate attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm at (706) 940-4030 to learn how we may be able to help you seek fair and just compensation for your losses and suffering.
Wrongful Death vs. Personal Injury
A personal injury claim is a civil suit that is filed in a court of law to seek monetary compensation for victims who suffered an injury, death, or other losses because of someone else's negligence.
Personal injury and wrongful death claims are similar in many ways, but they do have one significant difference.
What Is Wrongful Death A Personal Injury Case?
Loved ones of a deceased victim might wonder, “Is wrongful death a personal injury case?” A wrongful death claim is filed by loved ones on behalf of a deceased person who died as a result of someone else's negligence. It may be helpful to think of a wrongful death claim as a personal injury claim that the deceased person would have filed if they had not died as a result of someone else's negligence. Because the victim is deceased and cannot seek compensation for injuries and losses on their own behalf, loved ones are permitted to do so on behalf of the victim by filing a wrongful death claim.
Although personal injury claims and wrongful death claims are each intended for specific circumstances, they are considered part of civil law, sometimes called tort law. If the negligent party broke any criminal laws during the incident in question, they could also face charges in criminal court. Criminal charges are filed and prosecuted separately from civil suits such as wrongful death claims or personal injury claims.
Types Of Wrongful Death Or Personal Injury Claims
Victims or their loved ones might be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim in a wide variety of situations. While each victim's scenario is unique, personal injury or wrongful death claims might be considered for:
- Car, motorcycle, or trucking accidents
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Construction accidents
- Railroad accidents
- Attacks by animals
- Manufacturing or industrial accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective medical devices or medications
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Premises liability cases, such as slip and fall accidents
- Defective products
In any scenario, filing and arguing a wrongful death case takes extensive legal knowledge and skill. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in Georgia as a result of someone else's negligence, a compassionate attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm may be able to help you with your case, and help you receive justice on behalf of your loved one.
How Are Wrongful Death Claims Decided?
In Georgia, most wrongful death claims are decided by a jury. The burden of proof in wrongful death claims is lower than in criminal cases because wrongful death claims are considered civil cases. Criminal court cases require the prosecution to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Georgia statute only requires that the defendant in a wrongful death civil case is proven to be responsible for the death of the victim based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the evidence has to demonstrate that the defendant's actions were more likely than not to have caused the victim's death.
Types Of Compensation In Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
Compensation in personal injury and wrongful death claims varies on a case-by-case basis. In personal injury claims, the court might award compensation to:
- The victim
- Others who are financially responsible for the victim, such as parents or legal guardians
In wrongful death claims, the court might award compensation to:
- The victim's spouse or children
- The victim's administrator, executor, or personal representative
The amount of compensation awarded and the reasons behind it vary significantly among all personal injury and wrongful death claims. According to Georgia O.C.G.A. section 51-4-2, family members may recover the full value of the life of the deceased victim, as shown by the evidence.
Georgia law also allows for the personal representative of a victim who was killed because of a crime (or negligence, criminal or otherwise) to recover for necessary expenses because of the injury and death of the deceased victim, such as:
Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Other death or injury-related expenses
Time Limits For Filing Wrongful Death Claims
In most cases, the Georgia statute requires victims to file a maximum of two years following the date of the event that caused the victim's death. In some cases, the representative of the deceased victim's estate might be able to file a wrongful death claim in civil court greater than two years, but not more than five years, after the date of the incident which caused the victim's death.
How An Attorney Can Help With A Wrongful Death Case
Grappling with the premature death of a loved one can be emotionally devastating. Family members are often left to deal with insurance companies, medical and funeral bills, and other stressful expenses while grieving the loss of the victim. Families do not have to walk alone in their fight for justice on behalf of a deceased loved one. An attorney may be able to help families build and file a wrongful death claim in civil court to seek compensation for their losses and suffering. If you or a loved one were injured or killed as a result of someone else's negligence, consider speaking with a knowledgeable, compassionate attorney at The Mark Casto Law Firm at (706) 940-4030 to understand how we may be able to help you with your case.