Wrongful death is when someone dies due to the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else, which is different from personal injury where you can sue on your own behalf to recover damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering and expenses. In the case of wrongful death suits the victim’s family members or personal representatives are the ones bringing the lawsuit to recover for the losses they have sustained as a result of the loved one’s death.
According to Georgia law the surviving spouse may file the lawsuit and if there is no spouse then the children can file. In the cases where there is no spouse and no children then a representative may file on behalf of the estate.
As to how much may be claimed, Georgia allows recovery for “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived” which includes loss of future earnings, medical bills and funeral expense, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and if the defendant was particularly negligent there can also be punitive damages.
In addition, in Georgia, the claim can also include the personal injury claim the deceased would have filed which is called “survival action”.
In the same way as personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims must be filed within a certain timeframe which in Georgia is within two years from the date of death. Given that much work has to be done before a claim is filed, it is very important to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.