Wrongful death claims prevent parties that responsible for an individual’s
death from avoiding liability.
If your family member has been killed as a result of another party’s
acts or omissions, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death
lawsuit against the liable party. A wrongful death suit is a cause of action that
allows a decedent’s close relatives to bring a civil case against
the party who caused their death. This cause of action was established
in order to prevent a loophole that would result in parties who cause
injuries to be civilly sanctioned, but not those who cause death, merely
because the decedent is not alive to file a claim. In essence, a wrongful
death action allows a decedent’s relatives to stand in their place
and to seek compensation for the wrongful act or omission that caused
Who can file a wrongful death action?
Each state has specific statutes that articulate what parties can file a
wrongful death action on a decedent’s behalf. Under Georgia law, a surviving spouse of
the deceased individual can bring a wrongful death action on their behalf.
If no surviving spouse exists, then the decedent’s surviving children
may file a wrongful death action. In the event that the decedent has neither
a surviving spouse nor surviving children, their surviving parents may
pursue a wrongful death action. If the decedent does not have a surviving
spouse, children, or parents, then the administrator of the decedent’s
estate may file wrongful death action.
When should a wrongful death action be filed?
Like all other civil claims, a statute of limitations applies to wrongful
The statute of limitations is generally two years but can vary from a year
to eight years, depending on the type of personal injury that resulted
in the death. As such, it is important to consult with an attorney as
soon as possible in order to avoid missing the opportunity to file a wrongful
What types of damages may be allocated in a wrongful death action?
Georgia law enumerates the types of damages that a claimant can recover
if they prevail on a wrongful death action. Specifically, the claimant
is entitled to the full value of the decedent’s life. This includes
the decedent’s projected earnings, the value of other services they
would have performed, and intangible factors such as, their quality of
life and pain and suffering before death. This amount is not discounted
to account for taxes or living expenses. In addition, damages may be awarded
to compensate for the decedent’s medical bills and funeral expenses.
In the event that the surviving spouse brings a wrongful death action,
Georgia law requires the surviving spouse to share any damages that are
recovered equally with the decedent’s surviving children.
If your loved one has been killed as a result of another party’s
acts or omissions, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney
can review the circumstances of your case and advise you on your legal rights.