An unexpected death in the family is never an easy thing for surviving family members to handle. When such a death happens due to negligence, they may wonder about their legal options. If the victim dies from his or her injuries, his or her surviving loved ones are entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. At Kaufman Law, P.C., we want residents of Roswell, GA, to understand Georgia’s wrongful death statute.
Wrongful Death in GA
Georgia state law defines a wrongful death as the death of an individual caused by reckless, intentional, or negligent actions. Like a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff in a wrongful death case will need to prove the defendant was negligent and his or her negligence directly caused the death in question. Proving negligence involves four elements:
- The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care at the time of the incident in question.
- Next, the plaintiff will have to show how the defendant breached or violated this duty of care.
- The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty resulted in the victim’s death. This can be difficult in some cases involving victims with pre-existing medical conditions or other adverse health factors at the time of death.
- In any civil action, the plaintiff may only sue if he or she suffered some sort of measurable loss. The death of the victim and the resulting monetary impact fulfill this requirement; it is simply up to the plaintiff’s attorney to prove the extent of the impact the death has had on the plaintiff and other surviving family members.
Georgia places a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, and the two-year limit starts on the date of death. State law also dictates who may file a wrongful death claim. In Georgia, a surviving spouse, child, parent, or representative of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death claim.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
Georgia law recognizes two types of wrongful death claims: claims for the full value of the life of the deceased, in which the plaintiffs seek compensation for the monetary security provided by the decedent and the pain and suffering caused by the premature death, and claims meant to compensate the family’s financial losses after an unexpected death.
In the first type of claim, plaintiffs can secure the decedent’s lost income, benefits, and any other monetary support the decedent provided. They can also claim compensation for their mental anguish and loss of companionship the deceased provided. In the second type of claim, the plaintiffs can secure compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the conscious pain and suffering experienced by the deceased during his or her final illness or injury, and the medical expenses from treating that final illness or injury.
Find the Right Attorney
A wrongful death is never an easy situation to handle, but the right attorney can help make the legal process more bearable. Money cannot replace a lost loved one, but the monetary support plaintiffs can secure through wrongful death claims can help them grieve peacefully by providing financial security.
If you have experienced a wrongful death in your family, reach out to Kaufman Law, P.C. in Roswell, GA. Our attorneys have more than 40 years’ experience handling wrongful death claims and other civil actions for our clients in Georgia, so you can expect professional, compassionate legal representation during this difficult time. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to start the legal process.