For many people the phrase “wrongful death” seems mysterious and confusing. What is the difference between wrongful death and murder?
To start, the charge of murder is used in criminal cases brought by the state against the accused. A charge of wrongful death is usually brought by the survivors of the victim in a civil lawsuit. In a wrongful death suit, the person may have died as the result of an accident, neglect or other unintentional but serious action in which the legal liability for the death lies with the wrongdoer.
A person can be sued both by the state in a criminal court for murder as well as in a civil court by the survivors for wrongful death. One famous example of this was when O.J. Simpson was acquitted of criminal murder charges in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, but was subsequently found guilty of wrongful death in a civil suit brought by the Goldman family.
However, not all those found guilty of wrongful death are murderers: for example, an appliance manufacturer who sells a product that has an electrical short that results in the death of a user, or a distracted driver who accidentally killed someone in another vehicle. These deaths are clearly not intentional, but a civil lawsuit may determine that they are the legal fault of the company or the distracted driver.
To request to have your wrongful death case evaluated – at no charge – this is your opportunity. Contact attorney Michael Flinn today: 770-832-0300.
Types of Wrongful Death
There are several different categories of wrongful death cases, and each must be addressed in a specific way, as the law varies on each. Some common examples of wrongful death are:
- Auto accidents
- Premises liability
- Worker’s compensation
- Product liability
- Intentional abuse
According to the most recent report on auto accidents (2005) released by the Centers for Disease Control, there are approximately 30,000 deaths due to auto accidents in the U.S. every year, and over 1,000 of them occur in Georgia. The CDC estimated that work loss costs in Georgia exceeds 1.5 billion dollars a year.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
A wide variety of people can sue, but they must be closely connected to the victim either by blood, marriage, or financial dependence. Typically, people who bring wrongful death suits are:
- Surviving spouses, parents, and children
- More distant family members such as a grandparent who is raising a child
- Financial dependents or people who suffer financially from the death
What Happens If You Win?
Wrongful death suits can result in damages awarded to the plaintiff(s). There are five kinds of damages the judge and/or jury will award you if you win your case. They are:
- Economic damages, i.e., lost wages, medical and funeral expenses, lost inheritance, lost services that would have been provided by the victim
- Non-economic damages; i.e., monetary compensation for non-measurable losses such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of care or nurturing that would have been provided by the victim
- Punitive damages. These are typically awarded if the defendant has exhibited especially egregious behavior such as a nursing home convicted of elder abuse
- Attorney fees and court costs
- Interest on damages from the time they were incurred until the time they are collected
Do You Have a Case?
It’s important to make the right choices. Get a free evaluation of your case from an skilled, knowledgeable lawyer. You can discuss your situation in total confidence. You will learn what action you can take, the best way to protect yourself, and what your next steps should be.
Michael Flinn is a personal injury attorney in Georgia who has extensive experience winning wrongful death cases and will work to make sure your rights are protected at every step. He has been representing clients like you in court for over 27 years, and knows how the system works. He knows how it can work for you.
Call 770-832-0300 and talk to an attorney now for a complimentary, no-obligation case review. We are available to answer your questions. Or contact us online: http://westgapi.com/free-case-evaluation/