Eligible Parties in Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When someone is killed as a result of another person’s negligent, reckless or careless actions, the victim’s surviving family members may have grounds to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Essentially, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks to hold the responsible party accountable for a preventable loss of life—whether that person’s actions were deliberate or grossly negligent.
Although no amount of money can replace the life that was lost, seeking compensation is one way for surviving family members to regain financial stability after an unexpected loss. Not only can the family seek compensation for immediate financial losses—including compensation for the victim’s medical bills and funeral expenses—but they can also seek damages for projected financial losses.
Damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Pain and suffering for surviving family members
- Compensation for the victim’s suffering
- Loss of future wages / income from the victim
- Loss of future work and retirement benefits
- Loss of relationship compensation for the family
- End-of-life medical bills and funeral expenses
Which Family Members Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
Georgia’s wrongful death laws set up a hierarchy of relatives who have standing to file a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a family member. In most cases, the hierarchy is as follows:
- Surviving Spouse: if the victim was married, their spouse would have the right to file a wrongful death suit. If the victim was survived by both a spouse and children, the spouse must file on behalf of themselves and the children. The award would be split between the parties.
- Surviving Children: if the victim was not married at the time of their death, but did have children, the surviving children would have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If compensation is awarded, the sum would be split evenly amongst the children.
- Surviving Parents: if the victim was not married, nor did they have any children at the time of their death, then any surviving parent would have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If damages are recovered, the award would be split between the plaintiffs evenly.
- Deceased’s Estate: if the victim is not survived by a spouse, children, or parents, the personal representative of their estate would have the right to bring a wrongful death claim. Awarded damages would be held by the estate for the benefit of the victim’s next of kin.
Time Limits for Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia
If you are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you should know that your case is subject to a statute of limitations. This means that you will only have a certain amount of time to file your case. In most cases, a wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of the date of death. If you fail to take action within two years, you may lose the right to seek any level of financial compensation.
Call Schneider Hammers for More Information
Wondering if you have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit? If so, we encourage you to discuss your case with one of our wrongful death lawyers in Atlanta, GA. Backed by 40+ years of experience and millions of dollars in successful verdicts and settlements, the team at Schneider Hammers can be trusted to handle your case with the level of care and attention it deserves. Call our attorneys today to learn more!
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