wrongful death

Losing a loved one is always a painful experience. However, it can be even more distressing when the death could have been prevented. Unfortunately, families may have to face the consequences of wrongful death cases, and while no amount of money can truly make up for such a loss, in Georgia, the law provides ways to seek justice through wrongful death claims.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

In Georgia, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the legal fault of another entity or person. This can be because of the following:

  • Medical malpractice
  • A negligence-based accident such as a motor vehicle crash
  • An intentional action
  • Defective product

Bringing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia

In Georgia, only certain individuals can bring a wrongful death lawsuit:

The Decedent Is Married at the Time of Death

If the decedent was married at the time of their death, their spouse can bring a legal claim. However, if the victim was not married, then any of their surviving children can pursue legal action. Yet, if the spouse is not willing to or cannot bring a claim, or if the spouse caused the decedent’s death, then the decedent’s children are authorized to bring a wrongful death claim. 

The Decedent Was Not Married and Had No Children

If the decedent passed away without a spouse or children, the decedent’s parents have the authority to pursue a wrongful death claim. If the parents are married and living together, they can file the claim jointly. However, if separated or unmarried, either parent can file the claim if the other parent refuses. 

Additionally, if one parent has passed away, the surviving parent can file the claim. Yet, it is important to note that both parents have the right to bring a case, and unless there are exceptional circumstances, they must share the recovery equally.

The Decedent Was Not Married, Had No Children, and No Parents

If the decedent passes away without any surviving spouse, children, or parents, Georgia’s laws indicate that the victim’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The claim is initiated by the administrator of the victim’s estate. As per the regulations, other family members, such as grandparents or siblings, are not allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Only the individuals mentioned above, i.e., surviving spouse, children, or parents, have the right to file a claim.

What Financial Damages Can You Pursue in a Wrongful Death Claim

In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the court generally orders the defendant to pay “damages” to the deceased’s survivors or estate. In Georgia, two types of losses can be claimed in a wrongful death suit. 

The first type of loss aims to compensate the surviving family for the “full value of the decedent’s life,” which can include both economic and intangible factors, including lost wages, services, and benefits, such as what the decedent may have reasonably earned had they lived, and lost companionship, care, advice, and counsel. 

The second type of damages is intended to compensate the decedent’s estate for financial losses related to the decedent’s death. This claim is usually brought by the decedent’s executor and can include compensation for:

  • Medical costs related to the decedent’s last injury or illness
  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Other expenses that resulted from the decedent’s injury, illness, and death

Contact Richard D. Hobbs & Associates Today To Discuss Your Legal Options

If you lost a loved one because of another person’s wrongful actions, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. Contact Richard D. Hobbs & Associates today and learn how our experienced legal team can help you pursue the financial damages and justice your family deserves.