Who has the power to bring a lawsuit on behalf of deceased family member?
When a loved one passes away, they type of lawsuit that may be brought, and the family members that may bring the suit, will depend on the circumstances surrounding the passing.
When a person dies due to reasons other than the injury for which a claim can be made, then the personal injury claim will be brought by the estate of the deceased. If the deceased left a will, then an executor, who is identified in the will, acts on behalf of the estate. If the deceased did not have a will, then the estate will be represented by an administrator generally appointed by the probate court. Either the executor or the administrator will act on behalf of the deceased.
When a person dies due to injuries caused by the negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful conduct of another person, then the personal injury claim becomes a ‘wrongful death’ claim.
Georgia wrongful death claims may be two claims brought by different family members or persons.
First, a specified survivor of the deceased, in an order established by statute, but normally a spouse or a child, make a claim for the full value of the deceased person’s life. Claims for full value include the wages or earnings that the deceased would have made throughout life. Obviously, these amounts can vary greatly depending on the age or profession of the deceased.
Second, the administrator or the executor, acting on behalf of the estate of the deceased, may bring a claim for damages based on any accrued medical bills and funeral expenses. Also, the estate may also make a claim for damages based on any pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death.
There are many factors and items of damages to consider when deciding to file a wrongful death claim. If your loved one has been gravely injured or killed in a car accident, or in a nursing home, and you are wondering what types of claims you may bring against the responsible party, then please do not hesitate, call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today.
What do I do if I was in a car wreck in a parking lot?
Every day there are hundreds of fender benders, sideswipes, and even more grave car wrecks in Georgia parking lots. An impact between two cars in a parking lot is not different than an impact between two cars on the road. We see some of the same injuries in parking lot accidents as we do in others, so don’t think that because you have been struck in the lanes outside of a grocery store or mall that the same rules do not apply.
Your first action after a parking lot wreck will need to seek treatment if you feel pain. As with other accidents, sometimes the adrenaline prevents the symptoms of pain from flaring up. Listen to your body. If you have pain, stiffness, or discomfort, get medical help. Once you do, keep your medical records and bills.
Next, you will need to get as much information as you can about the wreck. Don’t just photograph your own vehicle. Take pictures of both cars. Make sure you get multiple angles and document any damage as thoroughly as possible. Did anyone witness the wreck? Parking lots are generally full of people, so ask around. If someone did see it, take down their name, number, and address. You will need to be able to contact them later.
After that, call the local police department. Most parking lots are considered private property, so may police officers will not issue a standard accident report. However, you can insist that the officer create a “Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Private Property Accident Report.” This report will record all the main information, like the driver names and insurance information. More importantly, it will have a description and diagram of the how the wreck happened. This will be valuable later on.
Finally, it will be important to contact your insurance provider. Most policies include a duty to cooperate, meaning that they must be put on notice if you were injured. Many times, failure to help your insurance company investigate may result in loss of coverage, for example, underinsured motorist coverage.
Quite simply, you have the right to bring a claim against an at-fault driver who has injured you, regardless of location.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a parking lot car accident and you are wondering what to do next, then please do not hesitate, call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.
I was injured by a speeding driver: Can I sue?
If another driver’s excessive speed caused a wreck in which you were injured, then you will have the right to recover for the damage caused.
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that speeding was the cause, or a contributing factor, in more than one third of all traffic fatalities. Under Georgia law, drivers are required to operate their vehicles at a reasonable or suitable speed depending on the situation. In fact, a suitable speed may be less than a posted speed limit. Factors such as weather, traffic, and various road conditions may mean that the governmental speed limit is no longer a safe or suitable speed.
Car wrecks arising from excessive speed come in many forms. Rear end collisions, losing control and entering another lane, or failing to stop in time. When someone exceeds a safe or suitable speed, and as a result, causes a wreck, then they are responsible to those injured in that wreck. That is the basis for many personal injury claims throughout the State of Georgia.
In car wreck cases, an attorney can help you acquire the compensation that is required to be paid by the at-fault driver under the law. For example, compensation for medical bills, prescriptions, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car wreck, and the other person was speeding, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
I was injured by a distracted driver: Can I sue?
If another driver has been distracted, and as a result, caused a car accident in which you were injured, then you will have the right to recover from that driver compensation for the damages.
In a 2009 study by the United States Department of Transportation, 5,474 people were killed and another 448,000 people were injured due to wrecks involving distracted driving. In another study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that nearly 80% of car wrecks were caused by distractions that occurred within three second preceding the accident.
Obviously, driver capabilities are exponentially reduced or hindered while the driver is distracted. Distracted driving keeps the driver’s mind off of what is ahead, and even where the driver is aware of a hazard, distracted driving seriously slows reaction time.
Distracted driving takes many forms, including texting while driving, surfing the internet or viewing emails while driving, headphone usage, eating, applying make-up, drinking, and adjusting console controls like radio stations and volume.
Sadly, in 2008, Georgia had the third-highest rate of any other state for distracted driving. As a consequence, the Georgia Legislature enacted statutes making distracted driving illegal. It is illegal for any driver to text, and for any driver 18 years old or younger to use a cellular device while operating a car on a Georgia roadway.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car wreck, and the other person was a distracted driver, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
I was injured while a passenger in a car. Who can I sue?
Injured passengers are entitled to the exact same legal rights as injured drivers. If the wreck in which you were injured was caused by someone else’s negligence, that is, either the driver of the vehicle in which you are a passenger, or another vehicle, you will have the right to recover from that driver compensation for the damages caused.
Almost always, an injured passenger will have a claim against the driver of the vehicle in which he or she occupies, the driver of another vehicle, or some combination of both. Who will be the recipient of the claim will depend on who was at-fault. Unfortunately, like in many cases, who was liable for the wreck will be a hotly contested issue.
This is why it is important for the injured passenger to place the insurance company of all the drivers involved on notice of a potential claim. Failure to place the companies on notice may have unfortunate consequences for your claim.
Often, the passenger will have a claim against the passenger’s loved one or family member. This can make things particularly awkward. However, it is important to remember that compensation for injuries is not to be taken personally. Almost all drivers pay into liability insurance, and it is there for when we need it, regardless of who caused the wreck.
If you or a loved one have been injured while a passenger in a car wreck, and your not sure who was at fault or what to do next, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
The insurance company wants a medical release. What do I do?
If you have been injured in a car accident, then you will be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Almost always, the insurance company will seek a recorded statement from you on your injuries, how the wreck happened, and other information.
As we’ve discussed in other video blogs, it is almost never a good idea to speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company unless you are represented by an attorney and the attorney is present with you.
Aside from a recorded or written statement, sometimes the insurance company will request that you sign a medical release.
Generally, the law will not allow anyone other than a patient or the patient’s representative to view medical records. This is a very powerful law and there are various repercussions for medical providers that release information in violation of the law.
So, the medical release, signed by you, authorizes the insurance company access to your medical records. Depending on the nature of the release, this will include all of your medical records from all providers, whether related to the wreck or not, and is probably not limited in time.
The purpose of obtaining your medical records is not just to substantiate your claims of injury, but to see whether you have pre-existing injuries. If you injured your neck in the wreck, and your medical records show a similar injury 3 years prior, the insurance company will use this information against you. Often, the insurance company will say that your pain is from the original injury, not the wreck.
It is almost never a good idea to provide the insurance company with a medical release. It will almost always be used against you. You are NOT required to give it to them.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car wreck, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company is requesting that a medical release be signed, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.