When you learn that your loved one passed away and someone else is responsible, you may be anxious to make them pay. However, before you can get started with your wrongful death lawsuit, you need to make sure you have the authority to file the claim.
There are specific wrongful death laws that can have a significant impact on your ability to pursue your wrongful death claim and the amount and types of compensation you can be awarded as well.
Who Has the Authority to File a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
After your loved one passes away due to someone else’s negligence, moving forward with a wrongful death lawsuit may be one of your best options to hold them accountable. However, before you can do so, it is important to find out whether you are authorized to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Georgia.
In some states, the personal representative of the disease in the state will automatically be responsible for filing the wrongful death claim. However, the laws are slightly different here in Georgia. According to Ga. Code §19-7-1, there are specific parties who have the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their family member.
To start, if the decedent had a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will have the option to file the claim. However, if the decedent did not have a surviving spouse, only their surviving children will be able to file the claim. If the decedent had no surviving spouse or children to pursue the wrongful death action, the decedent’s surviving parents can file the claim.
It is more common than you might think for deceased parties to have no surviving spouse, children, or parents. If this happens, the individual responsible for handling the decedent’s estate, known as their administrator or executor, will have the authority to file the wrongful death action.
What Happens Next in the Wrongful Death Claims Process?
After reaching out to your wrongful death lawyer to find out whether you can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia, your next step will be to hire your attorney. Once you have a wrongful death lawyer working on your case, you can direct your energy and attention to your family and mourning your loss.
Your wrongful death lawyer will be responsible for handling all of the legalities of pursuing your wrongful death claim. These might include:
- Thoroughly investigating the cause of your family member’s death
- Gathering forensic evidence, identifying witnesses, and hiring experts to testify as to how your loved one passed away and who is responsible
- Interviewing your family to determine how your lives and the decedent’s life or affected by their death
- Determining whether you have the authority to file a claim with the insurance company and negotiating with insurance adjusters
- Preparing to pursue your wrongful death action at trial
How Long Do You Have to Take Action on Your Lawsuit?
It is important to move forward with your wrongful death claim as soon as possible after your loved one’s death. Although bringing your case to court may be the last thing on your mind after losing a cherished family member, it is essential to get your wrongful death action filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Georgia law only allows for a maximum of two years to pass before you lose this opportunity. However, in limited circumstances, the statute of limitations could be tolled or temporarily placed on hold. This may be possible if:
- The decedent was the victim of a crime and a criminal case has ensued – Here, the statute of limitations could be told for a maximum of six years
- The decedent’s estate did not go through probate – Here, the statute of limitations could be told for a maximum of five years
Recoverable Damages in Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In Georgia wrongful death lawsuits, there are only certain types of damages you have the right to recover. These damages are meant to compensate the decedent’s estate for certain types of economic losses and the decedent’s surviving family members.
Some of the types of damages that may be recoverable in a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Compensation for the decedent’s burial and funeral costs
- Compensation for the medical bills the decedent incurred prior to their passing
- Restitution for the surviving family member’s loss of the decedent’s love, protection, companionship, support, advice, society, and guidance
- Restitution for the surviving family member’s loss of the decedent’s financial contributions, including 401(k) or retirement savings, potential bonuses and salary increases, vacation pay and bonus pay, and an inheritance
If you are hoping to get a better idea of how much your wrongful death claim is worth, it is important to go over your damages in great detail with your attorney so we can accurately calculate the value of your losses.
How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help You
Wrongful death claims are notoriously complicated in the state of Georgia. Having an experienced wrongful death attorney advocating for your family could make all the difference in your ability to hold the liable party accountable and get justice for your loved one.
You can rely on our team of wrongful death attorneys to determine liability, build a compelling case against the defendant, work with the insurance company to secure a reasonable settlement, and fight for the compensation you are entitled to in a trial. We will work tirelessly to help you and your family get through these difficult times.
Reach Out to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Georgia for Help Today
The wrongful death claims process in Georgia can only begin when the decedent’s surviving spouse, adult children, parents, or other party pursues the claim. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, be sure to contact a reputable Georgia wrongful death lawyer for help.
Fill out our quick contact form or call us to schedule a no-cost, risk-free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Georgia today.