Wrongful Death/Catastrophic Injury
In Georgia, the measure of damages in a wrongful death case is “the full value of the life” of the decedent. This is unique compared with many states and every state has a different law in this regard. In Georgia a wrongful death recovery involves both the tangible/economic elements of damages as well as intangible/human items of damages as viewed from the perspective of the decedent. It is essential to evaluate economic losses using a well-credentialed economist/actuary. Catastrophic injuries such as brain damage or paralysis, involve issues of guardianship, life-care plans, Special Needs Trusts and Medicare/Medicaid subrogation. Consideration of the annuity mortality table is also important in assessing these types of cases.
Our law firm has recovered six, seven and eight figure verdicts and settlements in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases, (many of which involve confidentiality provisions), including the following:
- Wrongful death of father and four year old son who were killed when their disabled vehicle was struck in the rear on multi-lane highway in broad daylight.
- Minor who suffered catastrophic burns as a result of being shocked by a negligently maintained electrical line.
- Young man who suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of an equipment supplier negligently maintaining brakes on a boom truck, causing loss of control and ejection of the driver.
- Wrongful death of a little girl resulting from an amusement park ride which settled for a record amount in the State of Georgia. The case led directly to enactment of the “Carnival Ride Safety Act” by the Georgia Legislature (O.C.G.A. § 34-13-1).
- Amtrak conductor killed when a barge collided with a railroad bridge causing the train to plunge into a bayou in Alabama.
- Represented the Estates of Rodney Culver, running back for the San Diego Chargers and his wife, who were killed in the ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades. The Eight-figure settlement was the highest for all passengers.
- Seven figure recovery against a bank and repossession company for individual who was killed in an altercation during the repossession of his vehicle.
- Wrongful death in the Swiss Air commercial air disaster resulting from defective insulation in the flight control wiring system.
- Wrongful death of a highly paid executive with two young children, who collided with a disabled armored car on the interstate as a result of poor maintenance/mechanical defect.
- Represented the family of a retired husband and wife who were blown off of a highway bridge in Alabama by a speeding 18-wheeler while they were pulling an RV, causing them to plunge hundreds of feet into the creek bed below, resulted in two seven figure verdicts.
- Numerous road maintenance/road run-off cases against state and local government agencies involving issues of sovereign immunity and highway maintenance policies/regulations.
- High seven figure settlement in a case where a tractor-trailer ran a stop sign, causing a serious collision and rendering a teenaged boy paraplegic.
- Tragic case involving an un-gated railroad crossing and the failure of the adjacent landowner to comply with specific zoning regulations about the crossing, resulting in the death of two children and catastrophic injuries to their sister.
- Several private plane crashes, including a case in which the gas was contaminated with water, and a Federal Tort Claim arising from failure of air traffic controllers to divert a plane away from a severe thunderstorm, resulting in the deaths of the pilot and passenger in Alabama.