Some of the most difficult cases Georgia injury attorneys deal with are wrongful death cases. People who have lost a loved one want time to grieve rather than talking to a lawyer. However, death can be very costly. The parties who can sue are set out under Georgia’s wrongful death statute.
Wrongful death is defined in Georgia as when a person causes the death of another through a “negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal,” act.
However, wrongful death actions can be brought in the absence of a criminal action. Wrongful death actions have been brought against manufacturers of cars, tires or drugs by parties who claim these products led to a death, as well as hospitals.
Wrongful death claims are more likely to be brought after fatal car accidents.
In these cases, negligence is typically defined as a failure to use reasonable care when a party had a duty to do so, resulting in harm to another.
The wrongful death standard of negligence is the same as that in a personal injury claim.
However, in a wrongful death claim, the person who was hurt is longer available to bring his or her own case against the culpable party.
The case must be brought by the family members of the deceased, or by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. This is the situation when the deceased has no living family members.
Georgia’s Wrongful Death Statute – Who Can Sue?
Georgia law outlines who has standing to bring a wrongful death claim to court. Parties who can bring an action are.
- The Spouse of the Deceased – The spouse has an obvious interest in the death. He or she will typically face loss from wages and benefits and care and companionship as well as funeral costs.
- The Children of the Deceased – If the deceased person has minor children, the surviving spouse must represent their interests. The spouse cannot receive less than a third of the total recovery. Adult children can bring a wrongful death action.
- If no children or spouse is alive, the following parties can bring an action under Georgia’s wrongful death statute.
- The surviving parents or parent of the deceased.
- A personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
The aftermath of a death is a very difficult time for family members. An experienced Georgia wrongful death lawyer can remove the burdens of making death claims from relatives and give them time and space to grieve. Please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.