Wrongful death claims are the most painful area of personal injury law because they signal the loss of a life which is always precious. Such a loss is permanent, and no amount of compensation can bring your family member home to you. Obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled, however, can better enable you and your family to make the difficult journey toward healing. If someone else’s negligence causes you to lose a loved one, it’s time to consult with a dedicated Georgia wrongful death attorney.
Wrongful Death in Georgia
In the State of Georgia, wrongful death is defined as a death that’s caused by someone else’s negligence or by an act that is criminal, reckless, or intentional. The at-fault party can be another person or an entity, such as a business. Negligence in this context refers to a failure to employ reasonable care when there is a duty to do so. For example, motorists owe everyone else on the road a duty of care that includes following the rules of the road, and property owners owe their guests a duty of care that includes maintaining reasonably safe premises. Wrongful death claims are very similar to personal injury claims, except they are brought by family members on behalf of the injured party who was killed in the accident in question.
Who Brings the Wrongful Death Claim?
Georgia’s laws related to who is permitted to file a wrongful death claim are quite specific and are as follows:
- If the deceased has a surviving spouse, he or she takes precedence in filing a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s spouse will also represent the interests of any minor children the couple shares. The spouse is always entitled to at least a third of the settlement – regardless of how many children are involved in the claim.
- If the deceased had no spouse, his or her children may file the wrongful death claim.
- Barring these survivors doing so, an executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate or the personal representative of the deceased may file the wrongful death claim. In this situation, the damages recovered will be used to cover the deceased’s outstanding expenses, and the rest will be held by the estate for the benefit of the deceased’s next of kin.
The damages sought in a wrongful death claim can include all of the following:
- The full value of the life of the deceased
- The deceased’s medical bills incurred before death, the cost of the funeral and burial, and compensation for the pain and suffering the deceased endured before succumbing to his or her injuries.
- The survivors’ loss of the deceased’s wages and benefits (extending to the amount the loved one would have earned over the course of his or her life expectancy)
- The survivors’ loss of care, companionship, and other intangible benefits associated with having had the loved one in their lives
You Need an Experienced Forsyth County Wrongful Death Attorney on Your Side
Wrongful death cases are complicated, but the Cumming wrongful death attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland have an impressive track record of successfully guiding cases like yours toward favorable resolutions. Your claim matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 for more information today.