If you recently lost a loved one and you have reason to believe the death was caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death is any death that results from criminal or other negligence or from property that was manufactured defectively, even if there was no negligence involved, according to Title 51 Chapter 4 of the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.).
There are a few things you need to know about filing a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
If you lost a loved one due to negligence, contact our Savannah wrongful death attorneys today.
PURPOSE OF A GEORGIA WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
A wrongful death claim is similar to a Georgia personal injury lawsuit, except that the individual who would have been able to file a claim is dead.
These claims can have two purposes:
- To recover compensation to cover the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent if he or she had survived.
- To recover financial losses caused by your loved one’s death.
DEADLINE FOR FILING A LAWSUIT
Georgia’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims creates a deadline for filing a claim. Generally, claims must be filed within two years of the date of death, according to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. If you do not file a claim before the statute runs out, you are prohibited from doing so.
However, there are multiple exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations:
- The two-year clock stops running if there is a criminal case proceeding through court that deals with the same events as your wrongful death claim. The two-year clock starts running again on the date the criminal case ends.
- The clock for the statute of limitations could be tolled for as much as five years if the deceased person’s estate does not go into probate. An heir to the deceased person’s estate can request that the probate process be skipped.
PEOPLE WHO CAN FILE A CLAIM
State law allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving spouse – These individuals must also represent the interests of any minor children of the deceased. If the surviving spouse dies during the legal action, it will be transferred to the child or children of the decedent.
- Surviving children – If the child who files the claim dies, the case will be transferred to one of the other surviving children. Compensation will be divided among the children, but if there is a surviving spouse, this person will receive at least one third of the compensation awarded.
- Surviving parents – This only applies if there is no surviving spouse or children to file a claim.
- Personal representative of the deceased’s estate – This is for cases where there is no one else who is entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the claim is successful, any damages that are recovered will be held by the deceased’s estate and given to the deceased’s next of kin.
TYPES OF WRONGFUL DEATH COMPENSATION
If you filed a claim to recover the full value of the life of your loved one, you may be entitled to the following forms of compensation:
- Lost wages and employment benefits the deceased had a reasonable expectation of earning over the course of his or her life
- Loss of care
- Loss of companionship
- Other intangible benefits
If you filed a claim to recover financial losses caused by your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to:
- Medical bills from your loved one’s last injury
- Funeral bills and other final expenses
- Pain and suffering your loved one endured before dying
Our wrongful death lawyers are prepared to handle every aspect of your claim, from beginning to end. We are committed to recovering all of the compensation you deserve for the tragic loss of your loved one.
We do not charge for your initial consultation and do not collect attorney’s fees unless we recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Nye Law Group today. Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form or call 855-856-4212 to reach our team of personal injury attorneys in Savannah.