When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it’s natural that surviving family members feel overwhelmed. This is especially true if the death is the result of another person’s negligent behavior. While families do their best, they often have little experience with the law. They may be uncertain of their rights and hesitant to act on a legal claim. It’s important to know some of the most common missteps that can hurt a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
Six Wrongful Death Claim Mistakes to Avoid
A wrongful death claim can provide vital compensation for surviving family members. This type of legal claim can offer loved ones the financial security they need to move forward, and it can have a significant impact on a family’s future. Too many times, however, surviving loved ones lose this opportunity due to simple, honest errors, including:
- Waiting too long to file a claim. Georgia law provides just two years from the date of the death to file a legal claim. If this deadline passes, it is extremely difficult to recover any damages.
- Failing to preserve evidence. It can be difficult to know just what information will be important to a case. Families may clean out their loved one’s belongings or simply not retain documents or other evidence provided to them. Even if you aren’t sure of your rights or if you want to pursue a legal claim, keep any information related to your loved one’s health, accident, and death.
- Signing a settlement agreement too quickly. Insurance companies may seem sympathetic and compassionate, but grieving families should make no mistake. These companies are out to protect their own interests, and they will negotiate aggressively. They often try to convince surviving family members to agree to a settlement quickly, knowing the situation can be difficult both financially and emotionally. Often, these fast settlements are much less than the family deserves.
- Negotiating without an attorney. Any settlement will likely involve a fair amount of negotiation. An experienced attorney understands insurance company tactics and will be prepared to respond. With full knowledge of your rights, a lawyer can help your family obtain the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
- Having the wrong person file the claim. Georgia state law dictates who may file a wrongful death claim. Typically, this list only includes a spouse, children, parents (if there is no spouse or surviving children), or a representative of the deceased’s estate. Family relationships can be complicated, and an experienced attorney will help families understand who can file.
- Not having a full understanding of their rights. Every wrongful death situation is unique, and the specifics of your claim will dictate the best way forward. A legal team experienced in wrongful death claims can help loved ones obtain the information they need to make informed, effective decisions.
If someone you love has died because of another person’s negligence, a legal claim may be the last thing on your mind. However, a wrongful death claim can provide families the financial stability to move forward after a painful and difficult time. Even if you aren’t sure of your rights or if you’re eligible to file a claim, reach out to the lawyers at Athens Injury Law Group. Our legal team can answer your questions and provide the information you need today. Call our Athens office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to find out how we may be able to help.