If you have lost a loved one in Marietta, and you believe that a negligent company, organization, or individual is responsible, you’ve come to the right place.

We understand that there’s nothing anyone can say or do to repair the damage left by an untimely death, but we aim to provide you with information that you may find helpful in planning your next steps.

Below, we’ll go into more detail on likely causes of wrongful death in Marietta, and how a civil lawsuit can help with a family’s recovery. If you would prefer to speak directly with a Marietta wrongful death lawyer about the details of your situation, please feel free to reach out by phone or chat at any time.

Marietta Hotels Could Likely Do More to Stop Violence on Their Premises

Any type of property can experience problems with violence, but hotels are particularly susceptible. While they’re a lifeline for travelers and people in unstable or transitional housing situations, the short-term privacy that hotels provide also makes them an appealing locale for many types of crime, including human trafficking, drug trafficking, and illegal weapons trafficking.

Often, the way a hotel’s management responds to crime is a deciding factor, determining which hotels become violence hotspots, and which remain relatively safe refuges. Hotel companies that enable or ignore crime, or simply don’t bother to invest in security that’s clearly necessary, are responsible for the resulting violence on their premises.

Marietta hotels haven’t had the cleanest record lately. In August of 2021, there was a shooting at the Motel 6 on Delk Road, which left one man dead. A woman was later arrested and charged with his murder.

Just two months later, a woman was found dead in a room at the InTown Suites on Barrett Creek Parkway. She had apparently been killed with a bladed weapon. The suspect who was later arrested was also a former resident of the hotel, and investigators believe the murder was a domestic incident.

It’s possible these hotels had no way of predicting these murders in time to prevent them. However, if the staff were privy to warning signs, or if the attackers gained access through obvious security flaws, like missing locks, the hotels could share responsibility for these deaths. In either case, these hotels and others near them should now be aware of the danger, and must prepare to protect patrons better in the future.

Violence on Other Types of Properties Can Also Be a Management Issue

The responsibility to protect against violence isn’t unique to the hospitality industry. Other landlords must also take appropriate steps against violence, based on local crime patterns and likely threats.

Aside from the hotel murders, much of the recent violence in Marietta has taken place in private residences. There was, of course, the house party shooting in 2020, which allegedly started with an argument over a game of Uno, and ended with one man being shot in the arm.

In January of 2022, there was also a shooter who reportedly fired into the same Marietta townhouse on three consecutive days, in spite of having no known connection with anyone inside it. The suspect charged with the shooting had previously been convicted of another shooting at the Ridgeview Institute, after his family had brought him there for mental health evaluation.

So far, the response to these incidents has been limited to criminal proceedings, rather than civil action. Initially, the survivor of the party shooting intended to take no action at all, not wanting to “get anyone in trouble.” It was only after undergoing multiple surgeries for his injuries that he chose to report the perpetrator, ultimately leading to a conviction.

Unfortunately, that conviction will not provide any practical assistance with the survivor’s recovery. Nor will the arrest of the suspected townhouse shooter help the residents patch their walls or pay for professional help with their trauma. If anyone had been killed, a ruling in criminal court would not provide for their families or compensate their grief. Only civil law has processes for that.

If the homes in these incidents were owned by landlords, the victims might be able to cover their losses by suing for inadequate security, especially in the case where the shooter was able to come back twice more after proving himself a threat.

Choosing to pursue a wrongful death suit against a landlord after a violent incident does not interfere in any way with the criminal prosecution of the perpetrator.

Wrongful Deaths Also Include Deaths by Preventable Accidents, Such as Fires

Marietta has suffered multiple serious residential fires over the course of the last few years. While the focus immediately after a fire tends to be on mourning losses and celebrating any survival stories, it’s important not to ignore the question of exactly what happened and how.

Modern fire safety procedures are extremely effective at preventing out-of-control blazes, or, failing that, at least protecting the lives of the people inside a structure. Of course, these procedures only work if they’re implemented correctly, and many aspects of that process fall to private, for-profit companies that aren’t always motivated to protect lives.

In 2019, an elderly woman died of smoke inhalation when her house on Warren Street caught fire. A fire inspector found that the blaze had started from multiple sides of the house at once. He also discovered a malfunctioning surge suppresser, pointing to a likely electrical cause. A set of powerlines had been knocked over near the woman’s house at the time of the fire, and they were not repaired for at least four hours, which may have led to the ignition.

The woman’s family is now suing American Electric Power. The service worker who was tending to her neighborhood that day has testified that he was never trained on the company’s own priority call or hazard call procedures.

More recently, in April of 2022, a fire destroyed part of the Park at Windy Hill Apartments. Thankfully, everyone was evacuated safely in that case, but 33 people lost their homes, and the cause is still under investigation. Serious fires at rental properties, especially multi-family structures like the Park at Windy Hill, are often caused by negligent property management.

As with crime, landlords have a responsibility to protect people on their properties from accidents, by taking reasonable steps to address predictable threats. In terms of fire safety, this includes maintaining the wiring, heating systems, and provided appliances.

Even when a fire starts because of a tenant or guest’s negligence — poor handling of candles or cigarettes, for example — the landlord has some responsibility to protect others from the consequences. Fires that spread beyond one unit may indicate poor fireproofing in the building materials, or a lack of handy fire suppression tools.

If your loved one was killed in a fire, or any type of accident on an unsafe rental property, you may have a viable wrongful death case.

From Schools to Hospitals to Prisons, Organizations Are Responsible for Those in Their Care

There are many scenarios in which people must depend on companies, organizations, and other individuals to keep them safe, in ways that go far beyond real estate maintenance.

When someone is not able, or not allowed, to care for themselves independently, whatever entity assumes control of that person’s life becomes responsible for their health and safety. The person’s dependence might be brief (a surgery), long-term (childhood), or permanent (a severe disability), but however long it lasts, that person should be able to trust that their caregivers will meet their needs.

The most obvious examples of entities with caregiver responsibilities are naturally those that market these services, such as daycares and nursing homes. It’s important to recognize, however, that the same principle also applies to entities like police departments and prisons.

A man being held at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center, here in Marietta, died from a stomach ulcer in 2019, allegedly as a result of neglect. He had been arrested for cocaine possession and spent three days in the center’s infirmary for supervised drug detox. According to his family’s ongoing wrongful death suit, he was then removed from the infirmary in spite of ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms. His requests for further medical care were denied, and he was confined to an isolation cell, where he was later found unresponsive. The family is suing several individuals who were present that day, as well as Wellstar Health System, which was providing medical services to the detention center at that time.

If your loved one died due to neglect or abuse by someone who had power over them, there’s a good chance you have a case for wrongful death.

Marietta Residents Are Vulnerable to Larger Scale Causes of Wrongful Death, Too

While the above examples are particularly relevant to the Marietta community at the moment, they don’t represent every possible type of wrongful death. Other common wrongful death scenarios that happen all over the country and beyond include:

  • Traffic accidents — Traffic accidents are one of the most common causes of accidental death, and they almost always involve negligence of some kind. We’ve devoted an entire separate article to car accidents in Marietta.
  • Workplace accidents — Lawsuits for on-the-job fatalities can be especially tricky, because worker’s comp law protects employers from direct litigation. However, it’s often possible to collect compensation by suing a culpable third party. For example, if a worker were to get caught in the machinery at Marietta’s Tip-Top Poultry plant, the company that designed a machine without proper guards might be liable.
  • Defective products — Consumer products come from all over the world, so residents of Marietta share in the global dangers of poor design and manufacture, at home as well as at work.
  • Medical malpractice — We’ve touched on this above while discussing negligent care, but a patient doesn’t need to be unconscious or obviously out of control, even for a moment, in order for malpractice to occur. Any time a medical practitioner falls short of the standards of their profession and a patient suffers harm as a result, that’s malpractice.

If you’re still uncertain whether your loss is cause for a wrongful death suit, it’s always a good idea to check with a lawyer.

The Stoddard Firm Can Help with Your Marietta Wrongful Death Case

People who find themselves in need of a wrongful death lawyer often begin their searches close to home, simply out of convenience. If you live close to where the fatal incident occurred, this already puts you on the right track. If not, you’ll want to make sure that the lawyer you hire is familiar with that area. Ideally, your lawyer will already have a rapport with the local court and emergency services personnel who may play roles in the case.

The Stoddard Firm is well-situated to represent our clients at Cobb Superior Court, and to coordinate with the Marietta Police Department and Wellstar Kennestone to establish the facts of a person’s death. We’ll also work together with local funeral homes, like Hanley-Shelton Funeral Directors or Carmichael Funeral Homes, to make sure all last-minute evidence collection is taken care of in time for the memorial services to run smoothly.

To get started with a free consultation on your case, just give us a call at 678-RESULT, or reach out through our online chat function.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Matt StoddardMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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