Frequently Asked Questions
If the death of a loved one was caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal acts of another person or business, then you may have a viable wrongful death lawsuit. However, you will have to prove that the defendant’s negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care, led to the death of your loved one. Attorneys on both sides may agree upon a fair settlement, resolving your case before it even goes to trial.
In Georgia, there is a strict statutory order with regards to who can bring forward a wrongful death claim. If the deceased had a spouse, then the surviving spouse has first priority and retains sole control over the claim. However, s/he must share any damages award with the children of the deceased (though the surviving spouse is entitled to no less than one-third of the recovery). If the deceased had children but was divorced at the time of death, then the surviving children hold the claim jointly. If there is no surviving spouse or child, then the right passes down to surviving parents, then finally down to the executor of the deceased’s estate.
The first wrongful death claim primarily concerns the damages suffered by the surviving loved one(s). These damages include economic losses incurred in the death of the decedent, such as loss of future earning capacity, as well as intangible losses, like loss of companionship.
The second claim is brought forward by the executor of the decedent’s Estate. It includes damages, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering incurred prior to death, and funeral costs.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death of the deceased. There are certain "tolling" provisions, however, that delay the statute of limitations from taking effect until certain conditions are met. In fatal motor vehicle accident cases, for example, the statute of limitations does not become active until any criminal case arising out of the accident is resolved. Claims brought by non-probated estates may be given a five year tolling provision.
You should consult with a Georgia personal injury attorney immediately to get help filing a claim before the statute of limitations expires. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that evidence tends to degrade at a very rapid rate. An attorney should get started on investigating your case right away so s/he can gather the evidence needed to prove liability on the part of the wrongdoer. There are other invaluable ways in which an attorney can help you throughout your claim case.
At The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., we understand how difficult it can be to take care of your legal and financial issues while mourning the death of your loved one. That is why we will handle all aspects of your claim so you can focus on moving on. For a free, comprehensive case review, call our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers today at (866) 249-5513 or (404) 995-3955.