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Wrongful Death

At The Finley Firm, our Alabama wrongful death lawyers and Georgia wrongful death attorneys understand the tremendous impact of the loss of a family member.

What does wrongful death mean?


Under the law, a wrongful death is one which is caused or is the result of the wrongful act or omissions of another. Wrongful deaths can be the result of negligence (like a car wreck or truck wreck), a defective product, an unsafe condition, or an intentional act. It is considered a wrongful death because but for that conduct, the death would not have occurred. Not all deaths are wrongful. The law establishes guidelines and rules for when and how someone can be held responsible (and financially accountable) for the death of another. The experienced wrongful death attorneys at The Finley Firm can help determine whether a death would be considered wrongful under applicable law.




Is wrongful death a personal injury?


A wrongful death claim and a personal injury claim are not the same. They are treated as two separate types of claim under the law. Sometimes, the conduct which causes personal injury ultimately leads to a death. Depending on when the death occurs, the law may allow recovery for the personal injury and for the death. In other cases, just the wrongful death is actionable. The wrongful death attorneys at The Finley Firm can ensure that any and all claims are made and that all available damages are pursued.




Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?


Generally, a family member, personal representative, or estate administrator must bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The law sets forth specific requirements which must be met in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important that the person bringing the wrongful death lawsuit have legal standing to do so. The wrongful death lawyers at The Finley Firm not only handle wrongful death claims but can ensure that the proper party obtains the necessary approval and authority to bring it, and can handle any matters which must be addressed in probate court to do so.




What are wrongful death damages?


The damages for a wrongful death vary depending on the jurisdiction where the death occurred.

In Alabama, wrongful death damages are punitive in nature. The damages are based upon the wrongfulness of the conduct which caused the death. The more egregious the conduct, the greater the damages. The jury is allowed to consider a variety of things in determining those damages but there are limits to what a court will allow to be considered in making such an award. The Alabama wrongful death attorneys at The Finley Firm can give you an idea of what a judge and jury can consider given the facts of your case, and an estimate of the case’s value both at settlement and at trial.

In Georgia, wrongful death damages are those which compensate the surviving family for the full life of the person who died, which may include lost wages, benefits, and other services or income that the person might reasonably have earned of the extent of their expected life. They also include intangibles such as lost care, companionship, and support. Georgia wrongful death damages also include the cost incurred as a result of the death, such as funeral expenses, medical expenses incurred prior to the death, and the like. The Georgia wrongful death lawyers at The Finley Firm can help evaluate those damages which might be recoverable for a wrongful death occurring in Georgia.




How are wrongful death settlements paid out?


Wrongful death settlements can be paid out in a number of ways and how they are paid out is often determined by who brings them and where the lawsuit is or would be filed. They can generally be paid in a lump sum or however the recipients agree.

In Alabama, the wrongful death settlements are not part of the deceased person’s estate but must be paid out in accordance with Alabama statutory law.

In Georgia, the wrongful death settlements are paid to the person who properly brings the action or could bring the action and if that person is the administrator of the decedent’s estate, the money is paid into the estate.

The Alabama wrongful death lawyers and Georgia wrongful death attorneys at The Finley Firm can explain how a wrongful death settlement might be paid out given the facts of your specific case.




How long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?


The amount of time that it takes to settle a wrongful death claim depends on two factors: how quickly the claim can be prepared and how willing the defendant is to settle it.

At The Finley Firm, our wrongful death lawyers are thorough but efficient. We know what a devastating impact a wrongful death has on those left behind. We work diligently to gather all of the necessary facts relating to the wrongful death and, if time allows and if strategically prudent, prepare a detailed settlement package to send to the defendant. This allows the defendant to fully and fairly evaluate the case and offer a reasonable settlement. However, not all defendants are reasonable. For those who are not, we quickly move to file a lawsuit. We are continuously exploring settlement opportunities on behalf of our clients but will be ready to try the lawsuit at the earliest opportunity. The overwhelming majority of the wrongful death claims that we pursue on behalf of our clients are settled without the need for a trial.





Alabama Wrongful Death Lawyers & Georgia Wrongful Death Attorneys

Wrongful deaths can be the result of many different events, such as:

  • Car wrecks

  • Truck accidents

  • Industrial accidents

  • Construction accidents

  • Negligent security

  • On-the-job injuries

  • Chemical exposures

  • Fires

  • Falls

  • Slip and falls

  • Electrocutions

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit is not necessarily as easy to file as most. It may require that certain steps are taken before the lawsuit is filed in order to establish who has the ability to bring such an action. It may also require a more extensive investigation into the causes which contributed to the death and the parties responsible. 

 

Given the seriousness of such claims, and the high stakes involved, a complete and thorough assessment of the claims, potential defendants, and procedural requirements must be undertaken by experienced wrongful death attorneys.

When to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit, like all others, is governed by a statute of limitations which means that there is a deadline by which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. 

 

In most cases, in Georgia, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two (2) years of the date of death.  However, there are certain times when that deadline is tolled or stopped in Georgia, such as when the death was the result of a criminal act or when a deceased person’s estate has not been probated. 

 

In Alabama, the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is also two (2) years from the date of death. 

 

The wrongful death attorneys at The Finley Firm can help you calculate the deadline. 

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