Every year, over 300,000 motor vehicle accidents occur in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that these motor vehicle accidents result in 1,500 deaths annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) projects that motor vehicle accident related fatalities will increase by eight percent this year.
A recent study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that motor vehicle accident related fatalities involving teenage drivers are rising at even higher rates. According to the study, the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities involving 16- and 17- year old drivers rose significantly during the first six months of 2012. Nationwide, motor vehicle accident fatalities involving 16- and 17- year old drivers increased by approximately 20 percent, from 202 fatalities in the first six months of 2011 to 240 fatalities in the first six months of 2012.
In the nationwide survey, 25 states indicated that the number of motor vehicle accident related fatalities had increased for this age group. In addition, eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change in the number of motor vehicle accident related fatalities for this age group. The remaining 17 states, which included Georgia, found that the number of motor vehicle accident related fatalities for this age group had decreased. However, the decrease in fatalities in Georgia was marginal, from 6 fatalities in the first six months of 2011 to 5 fatalities in the first six months of 2012.
Georgia Wrongful Death Law & Accountability
As this data indicates, motor vehicle accident related fatalities are on the rise and therefore, an increasing concern for parents and loved ones of teenage drivers. If your child or other loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle accident, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible in order to make sure that your legal rights are protected.
If your child or other loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death action against that individual. A wrongful death action is a legal claim that results when an individual’s willful or negligent acts or omissions result in the taking of a life.
Under Georgia law, in order to win a wrongful death claim, an attorney will have to prove that the death was caused by the defendant’s willful or negligent conduct, that the person filing the lawsuit is a surviving spouse, child or dependent, or their beneficiary, and that monetary damages resulted from the individual’s death.
If you prevail on a wrongful death claim, you will be awarded a monetary sum based on the value of the deceased individual’s life, as determined by the jury. Some states place a limit on the amount of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death action. However, in Georgia, there is no cap on the amount that an individual may receive in a wrongful death lawsuit. The amount will include projected income and other earnings, as well as, the value of the deceased individual’s pleasure of living and the pain and suffering that resulted from the accident.