Losing somebody that you love and care about is incredibly difficult. This is particularly true if the life ended too early as a result of the careless or negligent actions of others. Here, we want to look at some of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to wrongful death claims in Georgia. If you have any additional questions or if you think you have a viable wrongful death claim, please speak to a skilled attorney about your case as soon as possible.
1. What constitutes wrongful death in Georgia?
When we turn to the law pertaining to wrongful death in Georgia (Ga. Code § 51-4-1 (2021), we can see that these claims occur anytime “… the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence.”
Wrongful death claims arise in various ways throughout the state of Georgia, including car accidents, medical mistakes, faulty products, premises liability defects, intentional actions such as assault, and more.
2. Who can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
Because the victim in a wrongful death case is not able to file a claim on their behalf, someone else must do so for them. Under Georgia law, the following individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The spouse of the deceased
- The deceased’s children if there is no surviving spouse
- The parents of the deceased if there is no surviving spouse or children
- The administrator or executor of a deceased’s person’s estate if there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents
Contact a wrongful death attorney in Newnan to discuss if you are able to file a wrongful death claim.
3. What types of compensation are available for a Georgia wrongful death claim?
There may be various types of compensation available to family members after they have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of others. The court may order a defendant to pay the following types of damages to the plaintiffs in these cases:
- Lost wages, services, and benefits the deceased would have reasonably earned had they lived
- Lost care, companionship, advice, and counsel the deceased would have provided
Additionally, the defendant may have to provide damages intended to compensate the deceased’s estate for financial losses. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased’s last injury or illness
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Other expenses resulting from the injury or illness and death
4. What is the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
The wrongful death statute of limitations in Georgia is two years from the date of death. If family members or the administrator of the estate failed to file a claim within this two-year timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
This time frame could be paused or “tolled” in various circumstances. This includes if the death was a result of a crime. In these cases, the wrongful death claim could be suspended until the criminal case is completed, up to a maximum of six years after the date of death.
If the deceased’s estate has not been probated, the wrongful death statute of limitations could be paused for up to five years from the date of death.
5. Do you need an attorney to handle a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death claims can become incredibly complex. It is crucial to have a wrongful death attorney by your side who can handle every aspect of these cases. An attorney can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the death, determine liability, and work to hold the alleged negligent party responsible in civil court.