How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2020 | personal injury |

Losing a loved one is never easy, but if your loved one’s death was due to an otherwise preventable accident, your grief may be compounded with anger and a sense that the person who caused the accident should be held accountable. One way to do this is by filing a wrongful death claim.

What are the elements of a wrongful death claim?

In Georgia, if a person is killed due to an act of negligence or a criminal act, such as a car crash caused by a drunk driver, a defective product or a preventable medical error, and this act of negligence caused the deceased’s survivors to suffer damages, this could form the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who can pursue a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death claims can be brought by a surviving spouse. If the deceased was not married, their child may pursue a wrongful death claim in such circumstances. If the deceased did not leave behind a spouse or child, then the deceased’s parents can pursue a wrongful death clam.

Do not wait too long to file a wrongful death claim

Keep in mind, though, that you do not have forever to file a wrongful death claim. This is due to a law known as the “statute of limitations.” In Georgia, generally a person has two years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim.

However, this time period could be “tolled” or paused if the victim’s estate has not yet been probated. If this is the case, the statute of limitations will be paused for up to five years. In addition, if the wrongful death action is based on a criminal act, the statute of limitations will not start running until the criminal case is finished, as long as the criminal case is completed within six years.

Where to turn for more information on wrongful death claims

This post does not contain legal advice, as every wrongful death claim is unique. If you believe you have a good reason to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek professional advice. Personal injury attorneys in the Gainesville area may be a useful resource for further information on this topic.