Fatal Car Accidents
Athens Car Accident Lawyers Fighting for Families
Although traffic accidents are a leading cause of death nationwide, they are never an easy experience for families whose lives have been forever altered. Those experiences can become even more challenging and emotionally turbulent when fatal wrecks create tragic and devastating outcomes for families, when they could and should have been prevented.
Because our civil justice system understands the profound losses families suffer following fatal car accidents, they provide families with legal rights – including the right to pursue legal action via wrongful death lawsuits against the at-fault party. Ensuring the rights of families are protected at every step of the wrongful death process is critical to not only furthering their sense of justice in holding negligent defendants civilly accountable, but also to securing the compensation they need and deserve.
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., our Athens personal injury lawyers have extensive experience protecting the rights of families after the unforeseen death of their loved ones, including deaths resulting from all types of motor vehicle accidents. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal wreck anywhere in Athens or the state of Georgia, you can feel confident placing your trust in a proven law firm comprised of caring and compassionate lawyers who can help you navigate the legal journey ahead.
Discuss your rights and potential case during a FREE consultation. Call (706) 354-4000 today to speak with a member of our team.
Car Accidents & Wrongful Death Claims
In Georgia, families have the right to pursue wrongful death lawsuits following the preventable death of their loved one. This includes deaths resulting from negligent or wrongful acts in all types of fatal motor vehicle collisions, such as:
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving / texting while driving crashes
- Fatal commercial vehicle or truck accidents
- Crashes involving defective products (i.e. faulty airbags, brakes, seat belts, etc.)
- Fatal bicycle or pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Accidents involving buses and public transportation
Wrongful death lawsuits stemming from fatal wrecks are handled in civil court, meaning they are separate from any criminal proceedings involving an at-fault party, such as a drunk driver who caused a fatal DUI accident. Whether a driver or another party has been charged with a crime in connection to the fatal wreck or not, or were even acquitted in criminal court, families still have the right to hold them civilly accountable. That’s because civil wrongful death lawsuits focus on proving not that a defendant is guilty of a crime, but instead that they are civilly liable and financially responsible for causing death as a result of their negligent, careless, or wrongful acts, and because they use a different burden of proof.
Under Georgia’s wrongful death statute, surviving spouses have the right to bring wrongful death lawsuits, and to act as representatives of any surviving children of the decedent. Although other surviving relatives, such as surviving parents or siblings, cannot formally bring a wrongful death suit in Georgia courts, those claims can be brought by an administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate to recover damages on behalf of the next of kin.
In addition to wrongful death lawsuits filed against at-fault parties, estate claims can also arise from a fatal accident. These claims enable families to recover damages incurred before death, as well as funeral expenses, and they may be brought by an administrator of the decedent’s will, or by parties determined through Georgia’s law of intestacy.
Damages & Statute of Limitations
Wrongful death lawsuits and estate claims are important legal actions that can provide a sense of justice to families by holding defendants accountable for their negligence or wrongful conduct. They may also help raise awareness about the tragic consequences of negligence behind the wheel, including drunk driving, distracted driving, and even safety violations made by commercial vehicle operators. However, these civil actions are immensely important for helping families recover damages created by the loss of their loved one, including:
- Lost financial support a decedent would have provided
- A decedent’s pain and suffering prior to death
- Medical expenses incurred before death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- A family’s grief and mental anguish
- Loss of companionship, consortium, and emotional support
- Punitive damages (awarded only in cases of egregious negligence or intentional malice to further punish wrongdoers)
Economic and non-economic damages that accompany an untimely death are nothing, if not profound, which is why it is so crucial that families assert their rights and work with experienced attorneys who can help them fight for a recovery that includes the full scope of their financial and emotional losses. It is also critical to understand there are time limitations in place for filing these lawsuits, which are known as the statute of limitations. In Georgia, families typically have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death suit, but that statute of limitations may be “tolled” (delayed) if there is a pending criminal case involving a motor vehicle accident.
Let a Proven Georgia Law Firm Fight for Your Family
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. is passionate about protecting the rights and futures of families who have suffered the most tragic consequences, and holding negligent defendants accountable for causing fatal car accidents. If you wish to discuss a potential case with a member of our team, we are readily available to personally review your situation, explain your rights and whether you may have a valid claim, and discuss how we can help you through these difficult times.
Call (706) 354-4000 for a free and confidential consultation.