I Was in a Car Accident That Killed My Friend and Now I’m Being Arrested

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Car accidents that result in fatalities can have serious legal consequences for the driver, particularly if they lead to wrongful death lawsuits. The recent case of Jalen Carter, a former Georgia defensive lineman arrested after an accident that resulted in the death of his teammate, highlights the importance of understanding the legal implications of such tragic events. Understanding the potential damages that family members can seek and the lifelong consequences of being found liable can help individuals make informed decisions in the aftermath of a deadly car accident.

The Damages Sought in Wrongful Death Cases Can Be Extremely High

In Georgia, wrongful death lawsuits can result in substantial damages awarded to the surviving family members of the deceased. This is why it is critical to secure a Georgia car accident lawyer to defend you. The amount of compensation a liable driver is made to pay depends on numerous factors and the costs associated with the victim’s passing. In the case of Jalen Carter’s deadly accident, the family of his deceased teammate is seeking $40 million dollars in damages from the defendants involved, with $10 million specifically being sought from Carter himself.

While most wrongful death cases will not seek damages this high, a driver could still be liable for significant economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the financial assistance, benefits, and services that the deceased would have provided to their family. These damages are calculated based on the earning capacity, age, health, and other relevant factors of the deceased. Additionally, the estate of the deceased may recover reasonable expenses related to their funeral and burial as part of a survival action.

Further, non-economic damages can be sought to cover the emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium experienced by the surviving family members. Non-economic damages are more subjective and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. In cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages can also be awarded to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. For instance, if the driver was intoxicated when they were involved in a deadly car crash, punitive damages will likely be awarded.

Several Family Members Can Seek Compensation

If a driver is responsible for a death in Georgia, certain family members are entitled to seek compensation from them. The surviving spouse holds the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased’s children may file a claim. In the absence of a surviving spouse or children, the deceased’s parents have the right to file a claim. In the event that no surviving family members exist, the estate representative can file a claim on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Thus, a negligent driver will likely be faced with a lawsuit from one party or another.

Potential Criminal Charges for Causing a Deadly Car Accident

Civil liability is not the only worry drivers will have in these situations. Wrongful death can also lead to criminal charges in Georgia. For instance, the driver could be charged with vehicular homicide, which carries penalties ranging from fines and probation to imprisonment, depending on the degree of negligence involved. If the wrongful death was caused by the defendant’s recklessness, they may be charged with involuntary manslaughter, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Lifelong Consequences of Being Found Liable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If a driver is found liable in a wrongful death lawsuit, it can lead to significant long-term consequences outside of the legal matter. The damages awarded in such cases can be substantial, and this can create a significant strain on the finances of the negligent driver for years after the case concludes. As mentioned above, a driver might also face criminal charges, which could jeopardize their freedom.

Of course, wrongful death lawsuits can have severe consequences beyond financial damages. The negative impact on a person’s reputation could have lasting effects on their ability to secure employment or maintain personal relationships. Additionally, the emotional toll of being held responsible for someone’s death can be overwhelming and may result in long-lasting psychological effects.

Advice for Those Facing Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia

If a car accident results in the death of a passenger, an individual can take numerous steps to protect their rights. For starters, it would be wise to consult with a seasoned lawyer. They have the expertise to guide you through the complicated legal process and offer valuable recommendations on the most suitable course of action. This could not only limit your exposure to additional consequences, but they can also investigate your case and determine if any other factors played a role in causing another person’s death.

It is also important to collect and preserve any evidence connected to the accident, including witness accounts, medical documents, photos, and anything else that seems relevant to the case. This evidence will be necessary to properly defend against a wrongful death claim.

Lastly, it is important to be mindful when speaking about the accident, especially with insurance adjusters, as your statements could potentially be used against you in a wrongful death lawsuit. Thus, it is usually best to only speak about the accident with your attorney and those individuals your attorney approves of.

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