When a loved one dies in a tragic accident, it can shake the foundations of a family, especially if the loss could have been avoided. Holding the responsible parties accountable is essential immediately after a tragedy. With the help of a wrongful death attorney, the surviving family members, or estate, can grieve while the case progresses. This makes it possible for the family to pursue justice and obtain appropriate compensation in the wake of the accident.
Understanding the types of damages that can be recovered is important for those considering wrongful death claims in Georgia.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Georgia
In Georgia, a wrongful death can be defined as a death caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal actions of another individual or entity. This could range from a fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver to medical malpractice resulting in a patient’s death.
Types of Wrongful Death Damages
When it comes to wrongful death damages, the term “damages” refers to the financial compensation you could receive. These damages are generally divided into two categories that are “Economic” and “Non-Economic Damages”. Let’s break down what each of these means:
In simpler words, economic damages are tangible, out-of-pocket costs that can be calculated and proven with bills, receipts, or salary records. They’re the financial losses directly resulting from the death.
- Lost Wages and Benefits: This includes not just salary but also other forms of compensation like bonuses, retirement benefits, health insurance, and future earnings.
- Medical Expenses: Expenses incurred due to the negligence leading to death, such as hospital stays and surgeries, may be recoverable.
- Funeral and Burial Costs: These are generally recoverable as economic damages.
Non-economic damages are intangible, emotional losses that don’t have a specific dollar amount but are nonetheless real and impactful.
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to the emotional and psychological anguish experienced by survivors.
- Loss of Companionship or Consortium: This aims to compensate for the emotional void left by the deceased to their spouse.
- Loss of Care and Guidance: This seeks to compensate for the absence of parental guidance for families with children.
Understanding the concept of ‘Full Value of Life’
Unique to Georgia, this provision allows for the recovery of damages based on the “full value of the life of the decedent.” This includes both economic and non-economic aspects, such as lost future earnings, and intangible elements like enjoyment of life’s experiences.
By understanding these various types of damages, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the complexities of a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. Given the complex nature of calculating these damages, consulting a qualified attorney is highly advisable
In addition to wrongful death claims, Georgia law allows for what are known as “survival actions.” These are claims that the estate can bring for the pain and suffering that the deceased may have experienced from the time of injury until their death. Survival actions can also cover medical expenses and other costs incurred during this period.
Distribution Among Family Members
Georgia law specifies how the damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit are to be distributed among surviving family members. Typically, a surviving spouse receives the damages, but if there are also surviving children, the award is divided among them, with the spouse receiving no less than one-third of the total amount.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia is generally limited to specific individuals. Typically, the surviving spouse has the first right to bring a claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the right passes to the children. In the absence of both, other family members like parents or the executor of the deceased’s estate may file the wrongful death lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations of Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Time is of the essence when considering a wrongful death claim in Georgia. Generally, the statute of limitations requires that the lawsuit be filed within two years from the date of death. However, there are certain circumstances under which this period may be extended.
Consult a Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful death lawsuits in Georgia can be complicated. Knowing what kind of financial compensation you can recover is important, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. You’ll need expert help to guide you through the entire process.
If you have questions or need advice about a potential wrongful death claim, contact Flanagan Law. We specialize in helping families like yours get the justice and financial support they need.