A serious accident, whether it be a motor vehicle accident or slip-and-fall, can result in severe injuries and even the loss of life. Family members of the person who passed away may be left wondering if their loved one’s death was preventable. In many cases, they will discover that their loved one would still be alive today had not been for the negligence of another party.
By filing a wrongful death claim against all negligent parties involved in the death of your loved one, you and other family members can recover damages to ease some of your financial burden during this difficult time.
Filing a wrongful death suit in Georgia
In Georgia, family members will typically file a wrongful death claim as well as a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Wrongful death claim
Generally, the decedent’s surviving spouse is the first in line to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia, but if the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, the surviving children can file the claim. If both the spouse and children are surviving, the spouse can bring the claim and must then share any awarded compensation with the children. In cases where the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or children, the decedent’s parents may file the claim. Family members will have up to two years after the decedent’s death to file suit.
A wrongful death claim, under O.C.G.A. Sec. 51-4-2(a), covers the ‘full value of the life of the decedent.’ This includes the intangible value of life (anything related to the decedent’s enjoyment of life), as well as the tangible value of life (economic value of the decedent’s household services and other activities).
An estate claim, under O.C.G.A. Sec. 53-2-1, allows the family to recover damages to cover the decedent’s medical expenses, funeral/burial expenses, and the decedent’s pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages. An estate claim is filed by the Administrator of the Estate.
Losing a family member can be a painful and overwhelming experience. As you are grieving, the last thing you should be worried about is your finances. An attorney specializing in personal injury and wrongful death can handle your claim and get you the compensation you need to support your family financially after the death of your loved one.