Atlanta residents should understand that the loss of a loved one can impose significant financial distress on a victim's surviving family members in addition to their emotional suffering. Although no amount of money can ever replace their loved one, the surviving family members may be able to receive compensation from those liable if their damages are the result of another party's negligence or misconduct.
A fatal accident recently occurred when a man was walking southbound on the Atlanta Highway and was struck by a van traveling in the same direction. The pedestrian was launched nearly 150 feet by the impact and landed on the shoulder of the highway. Authorities arrested the driver at the scene for driving under the influence. Officials are still investigating the accident and may bring additional charges against the driver.
A wrongful death exists when someone is killed as the result of the negligence or intentional misconduct of another person or entity. Everyone operating a motor vehicle owes a duty of reasonable care to others in their operation. The elements required to prove liability in a wrongful death lawsuit are the existence of a duty of care by the defendant to the victim, a breach of that duty and the death of the victim resulting from the breach.
Under Georgia statutory law, drunk driving is considered intentionally willful conduct that is devoid of care because it puts others on the roadway at risk of injury or death. In a potential wrongful death suit, the victim's family will need to prove the defendant's level of intoxication and that the level was too high to safely operate a vehicle. The victim's family may also be entitled to additional compensation above their actual damages if the accident is the result of drunken driving by the defendant. While valuing loss of life may seem like a daunting task, the family members left behind after fatal car accidents should at least be aware of their rights to potential compensation in cases where the defendant is impaired while driving.
Source: Alpharetta-Milton Patch, "Driver Charged in Accident that Killed Alpharetta Man," Bob Pepalis, Nov. 19, 2012