Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Atlanta wrongful death lawsuits can be very difficult, not only emotionally but also procedurally. Often times a family must relive the accident as they seek to prove the elements of negligence (duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages), in addition to dealing with the inherent difficulties of placing a “value” on the loss of their loved one.

It might seem that such a case would be easier when it is against one’s own insurance company in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, but this is not necessarily the case. More often than not, even these types of claims are met with just as much contention as when a case proceeds directly against a negligent motorist.

In most cases, the parties can at least agree on the maximum possible payout of the UM/UIM claim, even if they do not agree on the exact amount due to the claimants. In a recent case, however, a dispute arose as to whether the claimants were entitled to payment under a single policy or under two separate policies. It was an important distinction, since each policy had a limit of $500,000.

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There’s a familiar expression to the effect, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The idea is that something may seem to be coming to a certain conclusion, but it isn’t truly over until a particular event takes place. This concept has application in many walks of life, including the settlement of personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from car accidents caused by a negligent driver.

Recently, a federal court certified a question to the Supreme Court of Georgia inquiring as to whether, under Georgia law, the parties in a car accident case had reached a legally binding settlement even though one party had allegedly failed to perform its part of the agreement – in other words, was the case really over?

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empty hospital bedWhen a medical provider’s treatment of a patient falls below the applicable standard of care, a cause of action for medical negligence or wrongful death may lie. Of course, liability is not automatic – even when a patient dies.

The burden of proof in a negligence case, including a case sounding in medical malpractice, is always on the plaintiff. Unless he or she can convince the jury by a preponderance of the evidence, the case fails.

Many wrongful death cases are decided by a judge before a jury even has an opportunity to hear the evidence. This happens via a summary judgment motion. By granting summary judgment, the trial court is effectively saying that the plaintiff has no chance of success at trial, even if everything he or she is saying is true. Fortunately for the plaintiff in such cases, an appellate court may reverse the lower court’s decision if it finds that the trial court erred.

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