Proving Fault And Securing Results After An Injury Or Fatal Accident
Many serious injury claims and wrongful death cases involve complicated issues of causation and damages. The attorneys at Cochran & Edwards have the skills and experience to assess the full scope of injuries or loss involved, the perseverance to identify those at fault and the passion to effectively present the case to a jury.
Immediate Help For Long-Term Injuries
Serious injuries can be permanently life-altering. They can limit your ability to function or manage daily care needs. Common serious injuries include paralysis or a spinal cord injury that does not result in paralysis, an amputation, a catastrophic burn, disfiguring scars and traumatic brain injuries.
The outcome of these cases has an obviously significant effect on one’s life and their caregiver’s lives as well. A fair financial recovery is essential to ensuring you have access to the ongoing care and support you need. The insurance company does not necessarily have your best interest at heart. We can help you obtain the recovery you deserve.
Justice After Tragedy
Wrongful death claims arise from virtually any fatal accident where someone died as a result of the negligence, or even intentional conduct of an individual or business. In Georgia, wrongful death claims are twofold. The first portion is the actual wrongful death claim, which is the value of the life of the deceased. The decedent’s spouse, children, parents and in certain cases the siblings can file the claim.
The other portion is referred to as the estate’s claim for pain and suffering. It is sometimes referred to as the survival action. This is basically the claim the victim would have been able to bring for pain and suffering and mental anguish if he or she had survived. There must be evidence that the deceased lived for a period of time after the incident, even if just for a few seconds. If the death was instantaneous, then there is likely no survival action for pain and suffering.
To assess the value of an injury or loss, lawyers, judges, juries, defendants and insurance companies look at several factors. Those would include the severity of the injury, accident-related medical expenses already incurred, any future medical expenses, lost wages and noneconomic damages. These include compensation for past and future emotional distress, mental anguish, the loss of enjoyment of life, the impairment of bodily health, and actual physical pain and suffering.
When reviewing relevant information, lawyers and insurance companies will look at comparable cases and see how they were resolved, either through settlement or trial. Factors considered include:
- Similar liability such as the impact point in a motor vehicle accident
- The type of injury, including physical harm and/or emotional injury
- The jurisdiction where the claim is brought forth
Typically, Georgia courts have held that punitive damages are not recoverable for wrongful death. To recover punitive damages, not only must there be evidence that the victim survived for at least a few seconds, but also that defendant’s conduct was intentional, malicious or showed a conscious disregard for the consequences. In Alabama where we are also licensed, punitive damages are the only measure of damages available for the wrongful death.
Claim Duration And The Statute Of Limitations
The length of a wrongful death claim or serious injury case varies; and unfortunately, justice is not necessarily swift. Some cases reach a resolution quickly and others take several years. Injury lawsuits that reach a trial setting first must work their way through the legal process and either reach a settlement or go to trial, which can take a year or more. Cases requiring an appeal will take additional time.
Normally, the statute of limitations for an injury is two years. There are exceptions for cities, counties and states. If the victim is a child, then the statute of limitations can be tolled until the child reaches the age of eighteen. However, there might be “statute of repose,” meaning that there might be some outer limit beyond which the case is barred, regardless of when the incident occurred or the age of the victim at the time.
The statute of limitations in a wrongful death claim is generally two years, although there can be exceptions depending upon who is responsible for the death. For example, if any government entity is responsible, then while the statute of limitations is two years, there is a requirement called ante litem notice. This requires a person to give notice to the government within either six months or one year depending upon the entity involved.
Let Us Help
There are any numbers of things to be considered when filing a serious injury or wrongful death claim. While it is possible to represent yourself, it is certainly worthwhile to consult with an attorney before making the decision to move forward with a lawsuit.