Was negligence a factor in a loved one's death?

The death of a spouse, child or other family member is often a difficult reality with which to cope. In cases where a loved one's death occurred under questionable circumstances or resulted due to another individual's actions; surviving family members may decide to take legal action.

A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in cases where a family member believes that negligence caused or contributed to the death of a loved one. For example, a parent may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a drunk driver who was behind the wheel of the vehicle that crashed into and killed a child. Wrongful death claims may also be filed in cases involving alleged criminal behavior, medical malpractice and workplace accidents.

When seeking compensation after a loved one's death; factors related to financial loss, pain and suffering of a loved one and punitive damages may be awarded. The process through which these factors are assessed and determined can be extremely complex and are influenced by factors including a decedent's age, occupation, number of surviving dependents and manner of death.

Wrongful death cases are highly complex and emotional. It's important, therefore, to consult with an attorney who can provide advice and who will represent the best interests of surviving family members. Laws related to wrongful death claims, statute of limitations and survival actions vary from state to state. Atlanta area residents who believe that negligence played a role in causing or contributing to a loved one's death, may choose to consult with an attorney who can help determine if legal action is warranted.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," June 12, 2015

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