Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through. When that loss is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can also be infuriating. How can you cope with the grief and anger, while also seeking justice for your loved one? How can you ensure that the person or entity that caused the death pays for their actions?

One way to do that is by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. What are the specific damages that you can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia? How are they calculated and distributed? In this article, our wrongful death lawyers will answer these questions and more.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

A wrongful death claim is a legal action against the party responsible for a death, seeking compensation for the death of that person. The fault can be due to negligence, recklessness, intention, or crime. For example, a wrongful death claim can arise from a deadly car crash caused by a drunk driver or a patient’s death due to medical errors.

Types of Wrongful Death Damages

Now, let’s discuss the different types of wrongful death damages. These are broadly categorized into two groups. Let’s break down what each of these means:

Economic Damages

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

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 “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

What Is a Survival Action in Georgia?

In Georgia, survival actions are claims made by surviving family members for losses suffered by the deceased from the time of injury until the time of death. They include things like medical bills, funeral costs, and pain and suffering.

Distribution Among Family Members

Georgia law decides how the money from a wrongful death lawsuit is divided among the surviving family members. Usually, the spouse gets the money. If there are children, they share it with the spouse, who gets at least one-third of the total. If there is no spouse or children, other relatives or the estate can get the money.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Georgia law also decides who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Usually, the spouse has the first right to file the lawsuit. If there is no spouse, the children can file it. If there is no spouse or children, other relatives or the estate can file the lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Georgia

This is the time limit you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. Generally, you have two years from the date of death to file the lawsuit, but sometimes this period can be longer or shorter depending on the circumstances.

Contact a Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney

Getting compensation for your loved one’s death is not easy. 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.

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