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Gasoline truck collision with a car on a backroad

Truck Accidents and Wrongful Death

the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC Dec. 13, 2023

According to the Georgia Traffic Safety site, in 2021, there were 1,818 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the state. These numbers seem unbearable to think about—losing a loved one in a truck accident is an extremely devastating experience. The grief that follows such a tragedy is often coupled with confusion about what steps to take next. Amid this emotional turmoil, it's important to remember that you have legal rights and options to seek justice for your loved one's untimely death.

At the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, they understand the pain and suffering families face in these situations. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, thefirm is dedicated to serving clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Dunwoody and Alexandria, Georgia. Attorney Walter Gabriel's focus is on providing compassionate and comprehensive legal guidance during this difficult time. 

Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?

While no legal action can bring back your loved one, filing a wrongful death claim can serve several crucial purposes. It holds the responsible party accountable for their actions, ensuring they bear the legal consequences of their negligence or recklessness. This not only brings a sense of justice but also helps prevent similar accidents from happening to other families in the future. 

Moreover, a wrongful death claim can provide much-needed financial relief during this challenging time. It can help offset funeral expenses, burial costs, medical bills, and other financial burdens that may have arisen from the accident. The claim also compensates for the loss of income and support that the deceased provided. 

What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Georgia?

In the state of Georgia, a wrongful death is defined by law as any case where "the death of a human being results from a crime, criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence." (Ga. Code § 51-4-1 (2021)). This broad definition encompasses a variety of circumstances under which a wrongful death can occur. 

A wrongful death can occur due to: 

  • A negligence-based incident such as a truck accident

  • Medical malpractice. 

  • A defective product. 

  • An intentional act such as a crime. 

To be successful in a wrongful death claim, it's crucial to demonstrate that another person or entity's legal fault directly resulted in your loved one's death. This might involve showing negligence on the part of a truck driver, proving that a product was defectively manufactured, establishing that a medical professional acted improperly, or demonstrating that an intentional act led to the death. 

Moreover, it's important to understand that a wrongful death lawsuit is distinct from a "survival action" in Georgia. While a wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the losses resulting from the deceased person's death, a survival action brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person's estate seeks compensation for the pain and other harm experienced by the deceased as a result of the defendant's wrongdoing (Ga. Code § 9-2-41 (2021)). 

Who Can Be Held Liable in Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents can have multiple liable parties. These may include: 

  • The truck driver, if their negligence or recklessness contributed to the accident. 

  • The trucking company, if it failed to properly train, supervise, or maintain its drivers and vehicles. 

  • The truck manufacturer, if a defect in the truck or its parts caused or contributed to the accident. 

  • The person who loaded the cargo, if improper loading or securing of the cargo led to the accident. 

  • Maintenance personnel, if they performed inadequate maintenance or repairs on the truck.

Attorney Walter Gabriel has the experience and resources to meticulously investigate your case, identify responsible parties, and establish their liability. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

In Georgia, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person have the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. If these relatives are not present, the claim can be brought by the deceased's estate administrator. 

However, it's crucial to note that there are time limits for filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia. Generally, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of the person's death. Failing to meet this deadline may result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. 

Possible Damages Available

In a wrongful death claim, various types of damages may be available to compensate for the losses suffered by the surviving family members. These may include funeral, and burial expenses, medical costs related to the final injury, or illness, loss of income, and financial support, pain, and suffering endured by the deceased before their death, and loss of companionship, and emotional support. 

The specific damages awarded will depend on the circumstances and evidence presented. Attorney Walter Gabriel will work diligently to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your loss. 

Get Compassionate Legal Help Today

If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, don't hesitate to seek legal help. Attorney Walter Gabriel and his team are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive legal support during this difficult time. With his knowledge, he can help you navigate the complexities of wrongful death claims and ensure that justice is served. Reach out today for a consultation.