wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit in which a private party is seeking monetary
damages for the loss suffered from the death of a loved one. Georgia law
defines wrongful death as death caused by the “negligent, reckless,
intentional, or criminal” acts of another person or entity. In the
state of Georgia, a wrongful death claim is for the value of the life
of the person whose life was cut short. The time limit, or statute of
limitations, to file a wrongful death claim is generally two years after
the death of the loved one. However, there are circumstances where the
time period may be tolled (extended). If you have questions or are uncertain
as to whether you have a claim, please call our Atlanta lawyers for a
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The state of Georgia has developed a hierarchy of relatives that may sue
for damages due to the wrongful death of a family member. At the top of
this hierarchy is the spouse and children of that person. If the person
is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse may file a claim on behalf
of themselves and their children. The spouse may never recover less than
one-third of the total damages, no matter how many children there may
be. If no spouse survived, the children of the deceased person may bring
the claim to court, and the recovery is split evenly among the children.
Next in the hierarchy are the parents of the deceased, if there is no
surviving spouse or children. Any surviving parent would then have the
right to bring a wrongful death claim. Finally, if there are no surviving
spouses, children, or parents, the personal representative of the deceased’s
estate may bring the claim. The recovery would then go to the person designated
as next of kin under Georgia law.
Types of Damages Available Under Georgia Law
Georgia law recognizes damages under two distinct types of claims related
to wrongful death cases. First, there is the wrongful death claim to establish
the “full value of the life of the deceased,” which can be
filed by surviving family members. Damages available under this category
include lost wages and benefits (including future lost wages had the person
survived) and loss of intangible benefits that the deceased provided such
as care and companionship. The second type of claim, a survivor claim,
is generally brought by the deceased person’s estate. Monetary damages
available include medical expenses caused by the injury or incident resulting
in death, funeral costs, and damages to remedy the pain and suffering
sustained by the deceased.
If your family has suffered a loss of a loved one due to the negligence
of another, please contact one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys
as soon as possible. The attorneys at Goldstein and Hayes, P.C. are available
to help you through this difficult time and answer any questions you may have.
Contact us today for a free consultation.