A loved one’s passing is the most painful thing in life. You might be able to get closure if the responsible party is held accountable for the death of your loved one through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Georgia allows family members to recover financial compensation for expenses like funeral costs, burial expenses, and future lost wages and benefits. A wrongful death plaintiff might also be entitled to compensation for the suffering the deceased experienced prior to their death or the loss of the care and companionship that their loved one would have provided the family had they not died.
Who Can File a Georgia Wrongful Death Suit?
The state of Georgia has very specific laws concerning wrongful death. Only certain people are permitted to file a claim. The following are some of these:
- Surviving spouse. A wrongful death suit can only be filed by the spouse who is still living. The spouse and the surviving children will share any damages. The spouse will not receive less than one-third of the total award.
- Children by the decedent. If the spouse is deceased, the children of the deceased can file a wrongful-death action for their parent.
- Parents who are surviving the death. Parents can bring a wrongful death claim if the deceased leaves no children or spouse.
- Personal representative for the estate. The estate will receive any damages that this party has secured and distribute them to the next of kin.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Two separate legal claims can be made under state law for wrongful deaths. These are:
The estate claim allows for reimbursement of specific expenses that are considered property of the estate and are subject to probate. These expenses may include medical bills and funeral and burial costs. The estate claim also includes the maximum amount of non-economic general damages. In cases of gross negligence, the court can also award punitive damages.
The full life value claim is covered by the court. It can be paid according to a court-ordered payment schedule that each plaintiff has agreed to. The rules for who can file this claim are very specific. If applicable, the current spouse of the deceased is automatically assigned. The court decides how the proceeds are distributed and may hold specific resources until the 18th birthday of any dependents.
These are some possible damages:
- The entire value of the decedent’s life
- Financial support may be lost in the future
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a relationship with a parent
- Anguishment mental and emotional
The court won’t assign punitive damages to the entire value of a life claim. They are usually reserved for estate claims that can be attached by creditors during the probate process.
What Is the Time Limit to File a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death plaintiffs have two years from the date of death to file a claim. In some cases, however, you might be able to file a claim even longer. For example, if your loved one is currently awaiting a criminal case.
An experienced attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to file a claim. Although a wrongful-death claim will not compensate for your loss, it can provide financial relief that allows you and your family the time and space to grieve and continue your lives.
There is so much at stake. You need to choose an attorney that you can trust to help you pursue your wrongful-death claim. Gilbert Sperling is one of the many wrongful death lawyers who work on a contingent fee basis. This means that our firm won’t be paid unless your case wins.
Sperling Law is available to provide competent and compassionate legal assistance in complex wrongful death cases. Call 404-418-7816 in or complete our contact form today for a free initial consultation.