Accident and Injuries
Under the North Carolina Wrongful Death Statute, damages that may be recovered for death by wrongful act include expenses for care, treatment and hospitalization incident to the injury resulting in the death, pain and suffering, reasonable funeral expense and the present monetary value of the deceased to the next-of-kin.
Georgia’s wrongful death statute provides for two categories of wrongful death damages. The claim brought by the surviving family members is for the “full value of the life of the deceased.” Unlike the North Carolina statute, Georgia’s wrongful death statute views the full value of the decedent’s life from the perspective of the decedent. That is, the value of the life is essentially what the decedent lost as a result of the premature death. This includes such particular items as lost wages and benefits together with the loss of companionship and other intangible benefits.
The second type of wrongful death damages in Georgia is the claim brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This claim includes funeral and burial expenses, any pain and suffering consciously suffered by the decedent prior to death and medical expenses related to the decedent’s last illness or injury.
There is no rule or precise formula for measuring the value of a wrongful death claim. The law governing the types of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death case and the evidence used to prove those damages is complicated. Settling a wrongful death before our Accident and Injury Attorneys have an opportunity to carefully determine what damages may be available to you and prepare the most convincing evidence of those damages is not recommended.
The Accident and Injury Lawyers at Cannon Law, P.C. will give you the option of choosing an hourly fee arrangement, a flat fee for services or a contingency fee. With an hourly fee you pay a set amount for the time spent working on your case by our lawyer and staff. A flat fee is a onetime charge for handling your case and may be appropriate in cases that are not complicated. A contingency fee may be appropriate when you cannot afford to pay an hourly fee or flat fee.
When you agree to a contingency fee, you are agreeing to pay us a portion of whatever amount of money the lawyer recovers on your behalf. All contingency fee agreements must be in writing, signed by the client and state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage that will be paid to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal. In addition, all contingency fee agreements will include an explanation of how court costs and other expenses will be deducted from any recovery. If any money is recovered, you will receive a written accounting at the conclusion of the case stating the outcome of the case and showing the amount you receive along with an explanation for all other expenses and fees deducted from your recovery.
It is impossible to predict a precise time line for cases. However, most cases in North Carolina and Georgia trial courts generally appear for the first time on a jury calendar eight to twelve months after the answer is filed by the defendant. If the court where your case is filed is very busy, it may take longer for your case to appear on the calendar.
Once the case appears on the calendar it can be several terms of court before your case advances to the top of the calendar so that it can be reached for trial. However, you will need to clear your calendar and be available for any week that your case is on the trial calendar.Trial scheduling is largely controlled by the Court and can depend upon a number of factors out of your lawyer’s control.Some factors that may influence how quickly your case gets to trial are the amount of depositions and difficulty in scheduling depositions, new information that arises during discovery, and conflicts with cases scheduled for trial in other courts. Our firm will do our best to let you know as early as possible when anticipated schedules may be changed.
Costs in many cases may include, the court filing fee, court reporter fees for depositions and trial transcripts, expert witness fees, trial exhibit preparation, mediation fees, postage, telephone and medical record copying costs. If your deposition is taken your lawyer will typically order a copy of the deposition to have a record of what you said under oath. In addition, your lawyer may take the deposition of the other party, along with witnesses and the doctors that treated you for your injury. In some cases, expert witnesses are needed to project future medical costs, perform engineering calculations related to how your injury occurred or prepare precise drawings related to your case that can be used in depositions and trials. Our firm will not hire experts nor take depositions until we have explained to you why we think these are needed and obtain your approval.
Damages are money compensation awarded to a person who has any past, present or future injury caused by another person. These damages typically can include medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, scars or disfigurement, loss of use of a part of the body and permanent injury. In some situations punitive damages and damages for loss of consortium may also be awarded.
No personal injury case is like another and the amount of the types of damages that may be available and the amount of damages that may be awarded are heavily dependent upon the facts of your particular case and applicable law. In addition, it is not uncommon for a jury to reach a compromise verdict on damages when there is a dispute over the cause of your injury.
Laws governing the types of damages that may be awarded in a personal injury case and the rules of evidence used to prove those damages are complex. Settling a personal injury claim before an attorney has an opportunity to carefully determine what damages may be available is not recommended.
When the death of a person is caused by another person under circumstances that would have allowed an action for personal injury, North Carolina and Georgia permit a claim for wrongful death. In North Carolina, an action for wrongful death must be brought by the Executor, Administrator or Collector of the deceased person’s estate. However, even though the claim must be brought by the Personal Representative or Collector, the persons that will actually receive the damages are those persons who would inherit from the deceased person in the absence of a will.
In Georgia, a claim for wrongful death must be brought by the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, by a child over the age of 18. When there is no spouse or surviving child entitled to bring an action for wrongful death, the Administrator or Executor of the decedent’s estate may bring an action for and may recover and hold the amount recovered for the benefit of the next of kin. If the decedent is a child and leaves no spouse or children entitled to bring a wrongful death action, the parent or parents of the deceased child may bring the suit.