Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, only specific people can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The primary person who is eligible is the deceased person’s spouse, who can either file the wrongful death lawsuit on their own behalf or on behalf of themselves and the children of the deceased who are under 18. Either way, Georgia law entitles the surviving spouse to at least one-third of the authorized compensation.
If the deceased person didn’t have a surviving spouse, then surviving children can file a claim. If the person wasn’t married and had no children, then surviving parents can file a wrongful death claim.
Otherwise, an official representative of the person’s estate can file a wrongful death claim, and any damages recovered will be distributed to surviving next of kin.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
Not every fatality is deemed a wrongful death. The phrase “wrongful death” is a legal term, which means that certain conditions have to be proven for courts to consider this type of lawsuit. Examples of fatalities that might be classified as wrongful deaths include those caused by auto accidents, defective or dangerous products, medical malpractice, and direct and intentional acts like murder.
To prove that a fatality should be considered a wrongful death, you must demonstrate:
- The negligent or wrongful party had a responsibility to the person who died. For example, all drivers have a duty to others on the road.
- That duty was breached, causing the death.
- You suffered specific financial losses due to the death.
Proving liability is complicated in a wrongful death case. Surviving family members should not be forced to argue with insurance companies or the at-fault party during this difficult time. Instead, trust an experienced Georgia wrongful death attorney to handle the details of your wrongful death legal claim.
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer to Help with Your Case
Trying to determine liability and gather evidence on your own for a wrongful death claim can be unbearable, especially when you’re still grieving from your loss. However, you don’t have to face this grueling process alone. Our skilled wrongful death attorneys can help relieve this burden and fight on your behalf.
An experienced wrongful death lawyer from Geiger Legal Group, LLC can help with your case in multiple ways:
- Free consultation: We can meet with you to evaluate your wrongful death case and determine whether you qualify for a wrongful death claim. During this free consultation, we will answer all of your questions and help you understand your legal options.
- In-depth investigation: If you have a valid claim, we will immediately launch a thorough investigation to help prove your wrongful death case. This will involve gathering evidence such as medical records, expert testimony, witness accounts, photographs, videos, corporate reports, and correspondence, or details on related wrongful death cases and verdicts.
- Determining liability: We will use all the evidence we collect to determine each of the parties that might be responsible for your loved one’s death. In some cases, this might involve more than one person or company.
- Assessing damages: Our skilled wrongful death attorneys can also use the evidence we gather and knowledge from previous cases to help determine how much money you are entitled to receive.
- Aggressive advocacy: We will use all the proof we uncover to negotiate with the at-fault party or the insurance company on your behalf. If the other party will not offer a fair settlement, then we will be ready to take your wrongful death case to court.
Throughout the entire process, a compassionate wrongful death attorney from the Geiger Legal Group, LLC will serve as your partner in this fight. Our legal team will make sure you understand what is happening every step of the way and are updated regularly on the progress of your case. We are also here to answer questions anytime.
What Types of Wrongful Death Damages Can You Seek in Georgia?
It’s possible that both civil and criminal cases could be filed after a person dies. However, only a criminal case can result in prison, while a wrongful death claim is a civil suit that is filed to recover monetary damages for losses caused by the person’s death.
These damages encompass the “full value of life of the deceased,” according to Georgia law. This means that compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit can include damages for intangible losses, as well as financial losses. Beyond pursuing compensation in a wrongful death claim, your loved one’s estate might also be able to seek damages through a survival action. This type of claim includes damages that your loved one would have been entitled to, had he/she survived.
While the exact amount that you might be able to recover depends on the details of your case, some types of damages that are common include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Outstanding medical expenses
- Loss of wages and employee benefits
- Loss of future income
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of services performed by the deceased
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia?
Georgia’s statute of limitations sets deadlines for the amount of time that people have to file a claim. In the case of wrongful death, a lawsuit usually must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death. Once this deadline expires, it is typically impossible to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the fatality involved a criminal act or something that violated Georgia law, then the two-year clock for filing a wrongful death suit might be paused until after the criminal trial is completed. There are also exceptions if a government entity was at least partially responsible for the death.
You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn how Georgia’s wrongful death laws apply to your case.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Attorney in Canton, GA
It’s unbearable to lose a loved one under any circumstances, but especially when a reckless or intentional act caused their death. At the Georgia wrongful death law firm of Geiger Legal Group, LLC, we understand your pain and frustration. Our compassionate personal injury attorneys have your best interests at heart and want to do all we can to help you demand justice.
Contact our wrongful death lawyers today to set up a free consultation and learn how we can help your family.