A wrongful death occurs when the negligence or wrongdoing of one person causes death to another. Some examples of situations that may lead to a wrongful death claim in Georgia include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Intentional wrongdoing (assault, murder, etc.)
In situations like these, the surviving loved ones of the person who died may be able to file a lawsuit against the person(s) responsible for their loved one’s death. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you may be wondering where to start and may have many questions.
We hope that we can help. Put together by a wrongful death lawyer, let’s discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about wrongful death in Georgia.
Q: How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for most wrongful death claims is two years. Depending on the facts of your case, that timeline could be longer or shorter.
Q: How much does a wrongful death claim cost?
Most law firms manage wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis. That means that their payment is contingent on obtaining an award or settlement in your favor. If you don’t recover compensation, then you generally will owe no fees. Discuss fees with any prospective lawyer upfront.
Q: Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In Georgia, the following parties are legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit:
- Parents if there is no spouse or children
- The victim’s estate
Q: What sort of compensation can I get via a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim can pursue compensation for damages including:
- Medical expenses related to the death
- Funeral or burial costs
- Loss of expected earnings
- Loss of medical coverage, pension, or other benefits
- Loss of inheritance
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium
Q: How much is my case worth?
This is a difficult question to answer and depends on the facts of your case. Your wrongful death claim will pursue compensation based on the value of the claim. Georgia law holds that in cases of wrongful death, the person responsible must compensate the deceased’s family for the “full value of the life” lost. While it can seem impossible to put a value on your loved one’s life, Georgia law breaks down the process into two parts:
- Intangible Value: This is the value of the person’s life based on his or her time spent with family, participating in activities, or enjoying hobbies. Intangible value in life comes from forming friendships, falling in love, having children, and enjoying our retirement.
- Full Value: This is the economic value of the person’s life. This includes money that the deceased would have earned, the economic value of services, etc. Would the person regularly contribute to things like mowing the lawn or helping with household chores?
Q: Do I need a lawyer to file a wrongful death claim?
You don’t have to have a lawyer in order to file a lawsuit, but it is a good idea. As you can see from the above discussions, there are many elements to a wrongful death claim. As the plaintiff, it is your burden to prove your claims, which can be challenging. Working with a personal injury lawyer can help ensure that all documents are completed and filed properly, that your case has the best chances of success, and that your rights are protected throughout the process.