Wrongful Death, Explained
Wrongful death is a legal term that describes a situation in which the negligent or intentional actions of a person or organization lead to another person's death. Wrongful death cases are filed by qualifying individuals as a way of seeking financial compensation and hold responsible parties accountable. In general, these claims seek to compensate victims' families for the financial losses resulting from the victim's death, such as medical bills and lost wages the victim would have earned. Additionally, they may also seek reimbursement for pain and suffering endured by surviving family members due to the victim's passing.
Understanding Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia
In Georgia, only the surviving spouse, parent, or child of the wrongful death victim has the right to bring a lawsuit. Other surviving family members do not typically have the right to sue. However, if there is no surviving spouse, parent, or child, the personal representative (also known as the executor) of the victim’s estate can pursue a wrongful death claim. The victim may have named their preferred personal representative in their will. Otherwise, the court will appoint a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. In these instances, the court will often choose a close family member to take this role.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia
Losing a loved one unexpectedly can bring significant financial consequences on a family, especially if the victim was the primary earner. A wrongful death lawsuit is meant to compensate a family for these present and future practical losses, reducing some of the burdens that a sudden passing can cause. You are also entitled to non-economic damages, which compensate you for the more intangible consequences linked to your loved one’s death.
Our Georgia wrongful death attorneys will fight to get your family fair compensation for all losses, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Final medical bills
- Lost income, including income the victim would have conceivably earned had they lived
- The pain and suffering that the victim experienced prior to their death
- The pain and suffering of the victim’s family
- Punitive damages for especially egregious conduct
Holding Negligent Parties Accountable through Cutting-Edge Technology
Our team at Morrison & Hughes is committed to leveraging emerging technology to optimally position our clients and deliver the results they deserve. We use 3D printing to create dynamic imagery of fatal injuries sustained by the victim and can also simulate accidents that demonstrate how the defendant’s actions led to their otherwise avoidable death. These strategies help establish fault and work to secure the favorable outcomes you and your family deserve.
Can Siblings File Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia?
Unfortunately, no. No matter how close you were with your brother or sister, you cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf should they pass away due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party. The one exception is if you are appointed as their personal representative and if they have no surviving spouse, parent, or children.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?
You will in most instances have two years from the date of the victim’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Note that the deadline is tied to the day your loved one passed away, not the day of the accident that caused fatal injuries. This means that if your loved one got into a serious car accident but only died weeks later, you have two years from the date they passed, not the date of the crash. Your family will be unable to recover any compensation if you do not start the legal process in time, so while taking on the legal process can be daunting after such an overwhelming tragedy, it is in your best interest to explore your options as promptly as possible.