In the state of Georgia, a “wrongful death” is the death of someone caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal of another party. A number of different types of damages may be claimed in a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit.
The liable party may not be an individual but can be a business such as a bus company or a shopping mall. Negligence is defined as a failure to take reasonable care when there is a duty to do so leading to harm to another.
The loss of a life is the worst thing a victim can suffer. However, in many ways, a wrongful death case mirrors a standard personal injury claim.
In a wrongful death claim, the injured party is no longer available to bring his or her own case to court. Instead, the lawsuit must be brought by the family members of the deceased, or by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate if no living family members are around to bring the claim.
In our blog, we consider who can bring a wrongful death action.
In terms of damages, Georgia recognizes two distinct and separate types of wrongful death claims. The first is intended to compensate family members for the “full value of the life of the deceased.”
Claims of this nature are brought on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased person. They include monetary damages related to the financial and intangible value of the deceased person’s life. These damages include:
- Any lost wages and benefits, including what the person who lost their life might reasonably have earned if he or she lived, and
- The loss companionship, care, and other intangible benefits the deceased gave to loved ones.
A second type of wrongful death claim is intended to remedy the financial losses linked to the deceased person’s death. A claim is brought by or on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. It seeks to establish and recover any losses the estate was hit by due to the sudden death. Damages that may be recovered in this claim include:
- Doctors’ bills and other medical expenses related to the deceased person’s illness or injury;
- The cost of the funeral or burial;
- Any conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased shortly before his or her death.
It’s worth noting that under Georgia’s Statute of Limitations, dependents or other parties have two years to bring a claim.
The loss of a loved one is always tragic. Often family members are too traumatized to deal with lawsuits. An experienced Georgia wrongful death attorney can remove the burden from your hands and take on the difficult legal matters. Call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.