You are making a great decision to learn more about your wrongful death or survival claim case. Losing a loved one through the fault of another can create an immediate hardship in your life and create too many questions to easily deal with. This resource page will provide you all the information you need to help you navigate a wrongful death case and decide:
If you have any additional questions after reading through this guide, please feel free to ask us. We are ready to provide some additional insight. As a disclaimer, this guide does not constitute specific legal advice and you should seek the personal counsel of an attorney before making any legal decisions. With that being said, we hope this guide will clear up your uncertainty and give you a better understanding of what is ahead of you.
The simplest way to define wrongful death is when a person’s negligence or intentional acts cause the death of another. There are laws in place to provide a civil avenue for those suffering the loss of a loved one in such situations. Every state has different statutes on wrongful death claims, including how long after the death a survivor can file a claim, who can file a claim, and what type of damages can be awarded. The focus of a Wrongful Death claim is to compensate the family for the wrongful death of their loved one.
A Survival Claim is slightly different than a Wrongful Death claim. A survival claim permits a personal injury lawsuit to “survive” the deceased. The goal of a survival claim is to compensate the estate of the deceased for the losses the individual suffered prior to death. As such, a survival action focuses on the suffering of the deceased person instead of the agony and financial losses of the family. For example, if a loved one was involved in a motor vehicle crash, was transported to the hospital then passed away a few days later, a survival claim could be brought by the estate to recover for his or her pain, suffering and mental anguish incurred because of the crash. In general, a survival claim can recover the following:
Most of the time, a survival claim is filed by whomever is the representative of the estate. This is often a close family member. If the deceased person had a will, there is usually a person indicated in that document that would be the representative. If there is not will, the representative would be an heir to the estate, such as a child, parent, or spouse of the deceased person.
If there is no surviving heir, a family member or other person appointed by probate court may bring a survival claim on behalf of the estate.
It is important to understand that it is the estate of the deceased that is filing claim, with someone just acting as a representative. Any recompense awarded for the damages are paid to the estate of the deceased person first, and not directly to any surviving relatives. Debts must be settled before any money is divided among beneficiaries. Those debts include things like hospital bills and credit cards.
A civil claim for wrongful death can potentially arise whenever some culpable actions by an individual, business or public entity directly causes or contributes to the accidental or unnatural death of the decedent. In Georgia, wrongful death cases can be based upon any of the following tortious causes:
A wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued in almost any circumstance where the defendant’s unsafe product or negligent actions led to another person’s death. In Georgia, a wrongful death lawsuit can allege that the defendant acted negligently, or committed malpractice, or manufactured a defective machine, or sold a dangerous drug, and those actions caused the death of your loved one.
Losing someone in an early death because of someone’s actions does not only affect loved ones emotionally, they are greatly affected financially as well. The loss of a family member results in lost income, lost inheritance, household services, and the list goes on. Now that your loved one is not able to provide, you must make up the financial differences somewhere. Compensation is not meant to make anyone filthy rich; it is about replacing the finances that were wrongfully taken.
The financial support your loved one provided is needed. Your household will need that money to pay for groceries, school, the mortgage, and everything else you need to live your life as normal as possible following a tragedy. There is also significant financial loss incurred regarding funeral costs and counseling.