When a loved one dies before their time, the pain for those left behind is bitter. Visiting the historic buildings and sites around Marietta can be a sober reminder that death can strike at any age. However, the grief is even more painful for the loved ones of those who have been killed due to the negligence of someone else. For more than 40 years the attorneys of Kaufman Law, P.C. have sat with families in their grief to provide compassionate counsel and options for maximum recovery.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
The fourth leading cause of death is accident injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Georgia alone, 3,963 people were killed in accidents in 2014 – the most recent year for which data are available. Yet for family members of someone killed in an accident, no statistic can convey the tragic loss of just one life. For this reason, Georgia law provides for wrongful death claims to be filed against those whose negligence causes another’s death.
A wrongful death claim is much like a personal injury claim, except that the person who was injured is no longer able to file the claim themselves. The law recognizes that the families of those who have been killed are entitled to be compensated for the loss of their loved ones.
Who May Seek a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, the spouse of a deceased person has the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased had children, the surviving spouse must also represent the childrens’ interest in the claim. In cases with no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim or a representative of the deceased person’s estate. Any damages recovered on behalf of an estate’s personal representative must benefit the estate for any next of kin who may inherit.
What Compensation May I Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim?
If a claim is brought on behalf of family members, you may seek compensation for lost wages that the deceased might have expected to earn over the course of their life. This often requires expert vocational testimony to establish what the lifetime wages might have been. The family can also seek damages for the loss of companionship and care that the deceased would have provided for loved ones.
A claim brought by a representative of the estate may seek compensation for medical expenses relating to the injury that caused their death, funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering the deceased endured from the injury prior to death.
Limitations on Wrongful Death Suits
In Georgia there is a strict statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death suit. In most cases, the family members or representatives have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death suit. This may be extended if there is a criminal case in relation to your loved one’s death. In other cases, if the estate is not probated, the time limit may be extended.
While money can never replace the loss you have suffered, seeking compensation can offset expenses from your loved one’s death and help secure your family’s future. The attorneys of Kaufman Law, P.C. are experienced in handling all the details of a case so that you and your family can focus on healing while we pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.