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Civil Claims vs. Criminal Charges for a Wrongful Death

When a loved one’s passing is caused by the negligence of another, it’s understandable to feel lost. A wrongful death claim could help you get a sense of direction and justice. Read on to learn about civil claims versus criminal charges for a wrongful death case. 

Civil Claims vs. Criminal Charges: The Basics

By definition, a wrongful death case is a civil lawsuit intended to allow the family or dependents of a deceased individual to recover economic damages from the liable party. These civil suits differ drastically from criminal cases, which are brought by a prosecutor in order to punish a criminally guilty party with a fine, jail or prison time, or other punishments. 

Criminal charges like murder, homicide, or manslaughter do not afford the victim’s family the right to a financial settlement. 

Who Can Receive the Benefits of a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Georgia law, only certain individuals related to the deceased are eligible to file a wrongful death claim after the passing of their loved one. The first person that this right defers to is the spouse of the deceased. In cases where the spouse and the deceased shared custody of minor children, the spouse must be the one to represent the interests of the suit in court. 

On such occasions where there is no surviving spouse or children to bring the case, the parents of the deceased or the estate’s personal representatives may bring the case. 

Wrongful death claims can allow the deceased’s next-of-kin to recover both economic and non-economic damages, including: 

  • Lost income
  • Loss of companionship 
  • Medical or funerary expenses
  • The deceased’s conscious pain and suffering

In cases where a personal representative brings the suit, damages may be held by the deceased’s estate until the time when the next-of-kin is eligible to receive them. 

Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Many people make the understandable mistake of confusing the wrongful death statute of limitations with similar statutes relating to criminal charges, such as homicide or manslaughter. For example, there is no limit to the amount of time that can pass for a murder to be tried in the state of Georgia. Even felonies of lesser magnitude can be tried years after the crime occurred. 

This is not the case for wrongful death claims in civil court. Generally speaking, the deadline to file such a claim is two years from the date of the death of your loved one. 

In some limited cases, this deadline may be extended. If you’re wondering about the implications of the statute of limitations for your loved one’s wrongful death case, an experienced attorney in Savannah can help.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Savannah, Georgia 

No amount of money could ever really make up for the loss of your loved one. At The Nye Law Group, we know how hard it can be to lose a loved one. That’s why we fight for the rights of families when someone else is responsible for their losses. 

Call 912-200-5230 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation with The Nye Law Group. 

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CONVENIENT LOCATIONS Throughout the Southeast

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Charlotte, NC

704-862-4177 get directions

2008 Whitaker Street
Savannah, GA 31401

912-732-0249 get directions

402 West Trade Street,
Suite 112
Charlotte, NC

704-862-4177 get directions

2008 Whitaker Street
Savannah, GA 31401

912-732-0249 get directions
View all locations
CONTACT US

NO PRESSURE. SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY. NO HIDDEN FEES.

* All Fields Required

Or Call 855-856-4212