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Recovering in a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia

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The loss of a loved one is devastating and confusing, made even more confusing when the death was caused by negligence of another. In Georgia, you may be able to recover for the wrongful death of a loved one. There are strict requirements regarding the filing of a wrongful death claim.

A Georgia statute creates the possibility of a wrongful death suit. According to the statute, a wrongful death claim can be brought when the death is caused by “the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal actions” of another.  The claim is brought for the “full value of the life of the decedent.”

Who can bring the claim? 

Not everyone is able to bring a wrongful death claim. There are two categories of claims that fall under a wrongful death claim. The first is a “traditional” wrongful death claim, which is explored in more detail below. The second is an estate claim. An estate claim is one that is filed by the estate of the deceased, not to collect on the “value of the life” of the deceased, but to pay expenses that have resulted because of the death.

The wrongful death claim was created to give the “full value of the life of the decedent.” Not everyone is permitted to bring the claim. There are only certain individuals who have the authority to bring a wrongful death claim. If the decedent was married and the spouse is still alive at the time of the decedent’s death, only the surviving spouse has the authority to bring the claim. If there are surviving children, the surviving spouse acts as a representative of the children and must share any award with those children. In the event the decedent and his spouse were divorced, any surviving children can bring the claim.

When must the suit be filed? 

After someone dies, there is a limitation to when a wrongful death claim can be brought. The Georgia Code sets forth the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Generally, a wrongful death claim must be brought against the parties at fault within two years of the death. There are certain circumstances when the time period may be shorter, but in most cases, an individual will have two years to file their claim.

What damages are available?

As stated above, a wrongful death claim is for the “full value of the lie of the decedent.” This is a broad statement, but courts have interpreted what the full value actually means. When determining what the full value of the decedent’s life is, the full value is what the decedent would have had from their own perspective, not the perspective of the individuals bringing the claim. The court will consider a decedent’s income potential and the life expectancy of the decedent.

Contact Our Legal Team Today

If you are considering a wrongful death claim, do not wait to hire an attorney. The experienced wrongful death legal team at Gillette Law in Jacksonville is ready to fight for your rights. Our professionals combine years of experience with the passion to get our clients the best results possible. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Resources:

ga.elaws.us/law/section51-4-1

ga.elaws.us/law/9-3%7C2

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