Fatal Car Accident
If a person was killed in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, the victim’s family likely has legal a cause of action. Although a lawsuit is probably not at the forefront of one’s mind after the loss of a loved one, it is one of the only remedies allowed in our legal system. The Atlanta car accident lawyers of The Angell Law Firm can help the family of a deceased car accident victim sort out their legal options.More Than 1,000 Fatal Car Accidents Occur Annually in Georgia
There are about 1,300 fatal passenger vehicle accidents each year in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. About 100 of those occur in Fulton County. The families of people killed in a car accident have a right to seek compensation for their losses and for the injuries sustained by the decedent.The Families of Fatal Accident Victims Can Bring Suit
When a person is killed in a fatal car accident, the family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident, which is often the other driver. Usually, these types of suits allege negligence on the part of the defendant. To prevail in a wrongful death negligence suit, the plaintiff(s) must prove:
- The defendant owed a duty to the decedent;
- The defendant breached that duty; and
- The decedent’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions.
All drivers owe others on the road a duty to drive the same way a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. Driving distracted, drunk, or otherwise unsafely are all ways in which a driver may breach that duty. If the unsafe driver causes an accident that kills another person, the unsafe driver will can be held liable to the decedent’s family, and possibly his estate, for damages.
In addition to the wrongful death lawsuit, which is technically brought by a decedent’s heirs, the decedent’s estate can also likely file a lawsuit for the decedent’s injuries before death. The plaintiff for the second lawsuit, which is called a survival action, is the administrator of the decedent’s estate. The survival action would likely also allege negligence, requiring the plaintiffs to prove the same elements. The law allows these two different lawsuits to coexist if the family and administrator of the estate choose to pursue this approach.The Decedent’s Estate and Family May Be Entitled to Damages
If the plaintiffs of both a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action have prevailed, each is entitled to damages.
Wrongful death plaintiffs are entitled to damages for the full value of the decedent’s life. This includes economic damages, such as projected lifetime income, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of companionship.
The survival action is also a means of collecting economic and noneconomic damages to compensate for things like the decedent’s medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Finally, punitive damages may also be available to the decedent’s estate if appropriate.Trust an Experienced Attorney
Fatal car accidents are traumatic events for everyone involved. The Atlanta car accident attorneys of The Angell Law Firm have experience litigating deadly car crashes throughout Georgia. If you have lost a family member in a fatal collision, call (770) 217-4954 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation.